Radcliffe

Hard to grasp the plot in this confused novel

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi A few years ago, Helen Oyeyemi was hailed as one of the future stars of UK contemporary literature, having written her first novel The Icarus Girl to great acclaim whilst studying for her A-levels. Now she’s in her twenties and this is her third … There’s a lot Read More

Radcliffe

Book Two of the Chaos Walking Trilogy

The Ask & the Answer by Patrick Ness Warning: If you haven’t read the first book in this trilogy The Knife of Never Letting Go, (reviewed here) – don’t read this, rush out and get a copy Book One, then read the second. Book two starts immediately where the first left off; teenagers Todd and Read More

Radcliffe

A novel of archaeology, food, pandemics and ghosts

Cold Earth by Sarah Moss This novel, published by Granta, is lovely to behold. What you can’t see are the beautiful turquoise blue page edges, and the glossy white fibrils of grassy roots insinuating their way through the bones of the skeleton curled up underneath the title. Luckily I enjoyed reading the book as much Read More

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Art for art’s sake?

The Bellini Madonna by Elizabeth Lowry There have been many novels about the search for missing art masterpieces, but few so convoluted as this. It’s written totally in the first person as a confession by Thomas Lynch, a randy old professor of art history who is an expert on the renaissance masters, Bellini in particular. Read More

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In praise of secondhand bookshops

I’ve just come back from a week in Northumbria. It is a lovely county, full of outstanding castles, glorious beaches, fantastic fish, wonderful gardens, pretty villages, rolling hills and beautiful countryside. It wasn’t overcrowded either, and you are within easy driving distance of both Newcastle and Edinburgh for rainy day entertainment. In Northumbria, the town Read More

Radcliffe

We’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather ?…

Turbulence by Giles Foden Do you remember the old poem ? Whether the weather be mild or whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot, We’ll weather the weather whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not. This definitely wasn’t the case in the planning for Read More

Radcliffe

Another brilliant dystopia in this coming of age novel

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness This novel for early teens+ was short-listed for the 2009 Carnegie Medal, and won the vote of the boys shadowing the award at the school where I work. I have to say it was a fantastic read for adults too, being multi-layered and thought-provoking – putting Read More