Shiny Linkiness

Today I’ll highlight my fiction reviews from the latest edition of Shiny…

Bodies of Water by V.H.Lesliebodies-of-water

This novella is all about the power of water, and specifically the river Thames. A dual-timelined story in which Kirsten buys a riverside apartment in a development that had been a Victorian hydrotherapy sanatorium where Evelyn had been sent for a cure. The past resonates spookily in the future and all the while the river flows by… For fans of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill, I very much enjoyed this Gothic tale. (8.5/10)

Read my full review here.

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french-rhapsody-largeFrench Rhapsody by Antoine Laurain

Laurain was my big joyous discovery of the summer (see here for my review of The President’s Hat).

His third novel for me was better yet and combined his trademark Gallic whimsy and comedy with a harder edge. He looks at the State of the Nation in France today through his story of a lost letter and a possible contract which could have changed a young rock-band’s life 33 years ago. Having thrown away their demo tape, Alain sets out to find his erstwhile band-mates and relive the music…

Simply wonderful, again. Loved it (10/10)

Read my full review here.

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The Empathy Problem by Gavin ExtenceEmpathy Problem

In three novels now, Gavin Extence has proven that he can maintain a light-hearted narrative that can ultimately uplift, no matter how bad life gets (see my review of his first The Universe Versus Alex Woods here).

In The Empathy Problem, Extence gives us a very different main character. Gabriel Vaughn is the co-founder of a hedge fund. He is rich – very, very, very rich. He has a multi-million pound flat in Docklands, drives a yellow Ferrari, is chauffeured to work, has great sex with a high class prostitute, and lives for his job, which he’s very good at. He has no friends, no interests, apart from the gym, just the job. He’s everything we should despise, except that once we get to know him, we can’t…  Full of wry humour yet not lacking sensitivity, I enjoyed this a lot. (9/10)

Read my full review here.

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nakano-thrift-shopThe Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami

There are some books you can judge by their covers. Portobello books have triumphed in this respect with the evocative ‘levitation’ portraits photographed by Natsumi Hayashi used on their editions. The levitating girls seem to encapsulate the emotional limbo of the books’ heroines. As if the covers hadn’t already drawn me in, I would have been hooked from the first page of The Nakano Thrift Shop.

If you enjoyed the beguiling novel by Yoko Ogawa, The Housekeeper and the Professor (reviewed on my old blog here), Kawakami’s book will surely charm you too. Both share restraint and gentleness, written in understated prose which is beautifully translated, but the rivers of emotion run deep underneath. However, The Nakano Thrift Shop is also delightfully light-hearted and I loved reading every page of it. (10/10)

Read my full review here.



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