She’s Nailed it!

How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson Allison Pearson’s first novel,  I Don’t Know How She Does It, published in 2002, was an instant bestseller and one of the defining women’s novels of the time about the pressure to have it all.  Her protagonist, Kate Reddy, was a successful fund manager in the City, Read More

Two books about Learning to Drive…

While reading the first of this pair, I was perusing my shelves and found another book that was nominally about starting late in ‘learning to drive’ so the obvious thing was to read both and review them together. These books were especially appropriate to my own situation – I didn’t take my car driving test Read More

A Life in a Day… and Some

Today Will be Different by Maria Semple That’s what Eleanor Flood thinks – and it will be different, just not in the way she planned. This is the premise of Semple’s third novel, the follow-up to the hugely successful Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, which I’ve yet to read, but heard a lot of good things about… Read More

Three shorter reviews

Trading Futures by Jim Powell Matthew Oxenhay is having an existential crisis. He set his hippy ideals behind him long ago, swapping them for a career in the city, wife, kids, nice house in a nice London suburb. Then it was his 60th birthday, and shortly afterwards he lost his job, but his boss let Read More

Not a psychodrama, more of a moral discussion…

Professor Andersen’s Night by Dag Solstad, translated by Agnes Scott Langeland I read this book on Christmas Eve for reasons which will soon become clear. Norwegian author Dag Solstad’s third work to be translated into English is a short novel that can be read in a single sitting. From the blurb on the back cover, you Read More

“I would walk 500 miles” – well 627 actually…

The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce This is a road novel, but with a difference.  Harold Fry used to rep for the brewery, but he’s now retired.  He has nothing to do but get in his wife Maureen’s way.  He’s in a rut, they’re in a rut, basically ever since their son Read More

The life artistic …

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson I do enjoy quirky novels. I also enjoy stories about dysfunctional families. The Family Fang is both, and just let me tell you that despite the title suggesting blood and bites in suburbia, c.f. The Radleys by Matt Haig, there are no Read More

Man, lost, needs space.

Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion? by Johan Harstad, translated by Deborah Dawkin Written in 2005 in Norwegian and newly available in translation, this novel had an irresistible title for me being a bit of fan of all things space related.  However, it’s not really about the Apollo space program, it Read More

A nanny state of affairs …

Everything and Nothing by Araminta Hall I needed a quick read in between two chunky novels, and when this popped through the door the other day it was just the ticket. This debut novel has been picked up by Richard & Judy for their autumn list, and is billed as a Nanny chiller – shades Read More

Class wars in the suburbs – just ‘champion’ …

The Champion by Tim Binding Tim Binding is one of those authors of whom I’ve been aware for a while, and I’ve even got a couple of his books in my TBR piles, but never read any of them.  The publicity blurb for his latest published earlier this year, said ‘The Champion pulsates with black humour Read More

The spirit of Hemingway lives on…

Tomorrow Pamplona by Jan van Mersbergen translated from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson There’s no mistaking it – Tomorrow Pamplona is a very masculine novel. It combines boxing and bull-running with two men on a road-trip; but thankfully, there is much more to it than just those testosterone-fuelled scenarios. With these subjects, you can’t not compare it to Read More

3 reviews from Jan 2011: Hornby, Jensen & Gaiman

Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby I don’t know how he does it, but there’s something about a Nick Hornby book that so hooks me, that I feel part of the story – I can always identify with some of the characters. Juliet Naked is the story of a lost rock star, a completist fan and his Read More

The Grinding Wheels of 21st Century Commerce

Union Atlantic by Adam Haslett. To some, Doug Fanning would seem to have it all, yet he is damaged goods. His traumatic childhood and experiences in the Gulf War have left him emotionally stunted. Post 9/11, he seemingly lives for his job as a high-powered investment banker, caring for nothing and no-one, and he takes risks Read More

You’ll never look at your neighbours in the same way again!

The Radleys by Matt Haig Don’t let the next sentences turn you off this book, for I thought it was brilliantly original and I loved it.  The Radleys is being given the full crossover novel treatment with a young adult edition, however I firmly believe that it is an adult book (pictured) that teens will enjoy rather than Read More

Family in crisis! Will quirkiness pull them through?

The Great Perhaps by Joe Meno My first encounter with US novelist Joe Meno, The Great Perhaps is a tale of a dysfunctional American family. An academic couple and their two daughters, they are four very different characters… Let’s meet the Casper family:  Father – Jonathan, who has epilepsy provoked by seeing clouds, and is searching for Read More

A Disintegrating Life in Letters

The Cry Of The Sloth by Sam Savage Savage, whose delightful and quirky first novel, Firmin: Adventures Of A Metropolitan Lowlife was published at the age of 67, has done it again with The Cry Of The Sloth, upping the quirk quotient considerably in this bizarrely funny, yet sad story. Subtitled, ‘The Mostly Tragic Story of Read More

This great book will mess with your mind!

The Juggler by Sebastian Beaumont Last year one of my favourite new books, and really deserving of five stars, was Sebastian Beaumont’s debut novel, the marvellous Thirteen. Framed around the strange life of a depressed night-cabbie, it was multilayered, darkly surreal and edgy. It played tricks with your mind, (which with hindsight reminds me of Read More