editor's choice



A beautifully nuanced novel, Permission by Saskia Vogel is a sometimes challenging and often lyrical exploration of longing, loneliness and loss.

Following her father’s tragic death, LA actress Echo struggles to deal with her bereavement – ‘the gape of loss’. Cast adrift, she embarks on a series of meaningless encounters with men, before meeting beautiful Orly, a dominatrix who lives with her submissive, 50-something Piggy. When Echo enters into a relationship with them, her world opens up to the new and unexpected. What follows is an honest account of grief, in all its guises, framed by a BDSM world about as far removed from the sensationalism of books like Fifty Shades as one can get, in which we see the meaning and value for the people part of its community.

At its core though, Permission is a study of loss and the things we do to find meaning. It’s also about sexuality and choice. For Echo, the exploration of the former leads to an understanding, a reclamation and an acceptance of her true self, her relationship with Orly and Piggy serving to anchor her, connect her, at a time when she is drowning in grief.

In Permission, Vogel’s language and imagery is at times poetic, her portrayal of sometimes difficult themes tender, honest and unflinching. Highly recommended.



Permission | Saskia Vogel | Dialogue Books | hardback | March 2019 | £14.99 |


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Acknowledgements: Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved.


Also of interest:The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’; ‘The Killer You Know, SR Masters’ friendship noir’; ‘The Way of All Flesh’; ‘Call Me Star Girl’;Falling from the Floating World’; ‘Blood Orange’; Beton Rouge’; ‘Gallowstree Lane‘; The Lost Man‘; ‘Delia Owen’s Where the Crawdad’s Sing’; ‘The Story Keeper, Anna Mazzola’s Gothic novel‘; ‘Midland‘; ‘A Greater God‘; ‘Lisa Ko’s The Leavers, Dialogue’s brilliant debut; ‘We should all be feminists’; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’;RW Kwon’s The Incendiaries’; ‘Beautiful words – The Language of Secrets’; ‘Beauty in translation – Roxanne Bouchard’s French Canadian noir‘; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”’; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

This review is © 2019 by The Literary Shed. All rights reserved. All opinions are our own. We welcome your feedback and comments. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please do contact us to request permission. Thank you so much.



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