Review Catch-up

This most hectic week at School after a long weekend’s relative lethargy in front of the jubilee dampened my reviewing mojo for a bit, so now I need to catch up! I realise I haven’t posted my watchlist either, but will catch up with that at the end of the month. Meanwhile here are notes Read More

Little Drummer by Kjell Ola Dahl – blogtour

Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett My first encounter with Kjell Ola Dahl was last year when I read one of his standalone historical crime novels set in mid-1920s Norway moving up to WWII, and I very much enjoyed The Assistant. Kjell Ola Dahl is one of Norway’s foremost crime writers, especially known for Read More

Heritage by Miguel Bonnefoy – An Epic Novella

Translated by Emily Boyce Originally I planned to review this novella for Shiny, but I was enjoying it so much I neglected to make notes and mark pages to come back to. Then, when I sat down to write the usual longer form review that we aim for at Shiny, I couldn’t manage to write Read More

Review Catch-up: Ginsburg & Alsterdal

I’ve spent so long writing up a review for Shiny with a companion blog piece for this Thursday, I’m getting rather behind on my other reviews, so here’s a twofer of shorter reviews for you today, both from Faber & Faber Books. Unusually in my reading they show serendipity – both feature an older woman Read More

Japanese Literature Challenge 15

Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura Translated by Philip Gabriel I just managed to squeeze in a Japanese read in time to catch the end of this year’s Japanese Literature Challenge 15 hosted by Dolce Belezza Lonely Castle in the Mirror was a prize-winning bestseller in Japan and it’s easy to see why Read More

River Clyde by Simone Buchholz – Blog Tour

Translated by Rachel Ward I first met German state prosectutor Chastity Riley last year when I read the fourth book to be translated in the series by ‘Queen of Krimi’ Simone Buchholz. Hotel Cartagena was very different to what I expected – not a legal crime thriller but rather more like Die Hard in Hamburg, Read More

Red is My Heart by Antoine Laurain & Le Sonneur

The Other Red Notebook? Translated by Jane Aitken I’ve read everything by Laurain that the wonderful Gallic Books has translated. I’m a big fan of his brand of entertaining novels, mostly driven by key objects be it a hat, a notebook, a tape, a portrait, cigarettes, a bottle of wine, or a manuscript – I’ve Read More

#NordicFINDS – It’s a wrap!

Phew! What a great start to the reading year I’ve had. Dedicating one week per Nordic country has been fascinating and I’ve been astounded by the variety of books covered between us – a huge thank you, (but especially to Lizzy and Liz who’ve read loads each). Thank you also to those who visited and Read More

#NordicFINDS – Iceland Week – a final quirky novel

Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir Translated by Brian Fitzgibbon My final read of #NordicFINDS is a quirky novel that slightly took me back to nearly the beginning of my project this year, for Butterflies in November has some similarities in its narrator with Bess in The Murder of Halland, except that this time Read More

#NordicFINDS – Iceland Week – My Gateway Book

Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason Translated by Bernard Scudder Arnaldur Indriðason is one of Iceland’s foremost crime authors, having a background in journalism and freelance writing. His first novel was published in 1997, which features Detective Erlendur, in what is now a long running series. However, his first two Erlendur novels remain untranslated into English. Read More

#NordicFINDS – Finland Week – a quirky mystery

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen Translated by Lola M Rogers I remember when Pushkin Press first published their edition of this novel, it was all over the blogosphere. Although I soon acquired a copy, I didn’t have time to read it then, but have now, and what a treat it was! Read More

#NordicFINDS – Finland Week – a long-time Finnish best-seller

The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna Translated by Herbert Lomas, 1995 Apparently this slim volume first published in 1975 is a cult novel in France and has been translated into many languages including English, twenty years after publication. In Finland, it is much loved, and was Paasilinna’s personal favourite of his 36 novels. Read More

#NordicFINDS – Finland week – a cli-fi, spec fic, dystopian noir crime thriller

The Healer by Antti Tuomainen Translated by Lola Rogers I discovered Tuomainen last year when I read his latest novel The Rabbit Factor, a dark comedy thriller which I loved. I decided to go back to his first available novel in English for #NordicFINDS, (first published in 2010, translated in 2013), which in now typical Read More

#NordicFINDS – Finland Week – My ‘Would-be’ Gateway Book

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson Translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal Because until this week, I’d read so few Finnish books, I didn’t have a definite gateway book that led me into the country’s literature. But it would have been The Summer Book by Tove Jansson, because when Sort Of Books started their Read More

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – A new to me grumpy detective

The Mind’s Eye by Håkan Nesser Translated by Laurie Thompson As so often happens with crime series, The Mind’s Eye published in Swedish in 1993 – the first in Nesser’s Inspector Van Veeteren mystery series, wasn’t the first to be translated into English later in the late noughties. That was the second: Borkmann’s Point. Why Read More

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – a novel of letters and longing

Some Kind of Company by Nan Östman Translated by Julia Rivers We have to thank Aspal Press for finding this hidden gem of Swedish literature and making it available in English translation for the first time. Östman, who died in 2015, is a much loved Swedish children’s author, often writing about girls and horses, and Read More

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – A Workplace Drama

The Room by Jonas Karlsson Translated by Neil Smith There’s a well-worn office cliché: ‘You don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps!’ Something that definitely applies to the employees of the Authority in Jonas Karlsson’s engaging novel. What the Authority does is never specified, but the higher the floor you work Read More

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – My Gateway Book – a different take

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist & its movie adaptations Although a rather baggy novel at over 500 pages, Let the Right One In, translated by Ebba Segerberg, blew me away when I read it back in 2009. My full review from back then is here. At the novel’s heart is the Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – A feminist dark metal manifesto?

Girls Against God by Jenny Hval Translated by Marjam Idriss I was browsing the Verso books website (as you do when there’s an offer on!). I don’t think I’d read any of their publications before, but I knew they had some Scandi authors in their list. I was drawn to the cover of this one, Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – A Modern Classic

The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas Translated by Elizabeth Rokkan Literally everyone I know who has read this novella has fallen in love with it. First published in 1963, this English translation was brought to us by Peter Owen publishers in 1993, who have let Penguin add it (and another by Vesaas, The Birds, reviewed Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – A locked room mystery

The Human Flies by Hans Olav Lahlum Translated by Kari Dickson This is the first novel in Lahlum’s ‘K2 and Patricia’ series of Norwegian detective novels which now number four. Set in the late 1960s into the early 1970s, they are unencumbered by modern technology bar the forensics of the time, allowing the convolutions of Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – My Gateway Book

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder Translated by Paulette Møller My second gateway Nordic read was another huge worldwide bestseller, first published in English translation in 1995. I got my original copy with the cover above through the QPD book club, now defunct, who produced what we’d now call trade paperbacks of new hardbacks – ie: Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week

I chose Norway for the second week of my Nordic reading, because I instantly had in mind a gateway book that opened up that country’s reading for me. That was the huge bestseller Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (re-read review soon). Meanwhile, my pile of Norwegian authors does slightly exceed my Danish one, and again Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark Week – A Quirky Novella

Minna Needs Rehearsal Space by Dorthe Nors Translated by Misha Hoekstra Some of you will have come across Dorthe Nors from her novel Mirror Shoulder Signal which was shortlisted for the International Booker in 2017 (my full review here). In Mirror… Sonja, a newly single forty-something, decides to learn to drive as part of starting to Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark Week – An unusual crime novel

The Murder of Halland by Pia Juul Translated by Martin Aitken I didn’t want to wake Halland; he had to be up soon anyway. After going to the loo, I went back into the living room and collapsed on the sofa under a blanket. When I opened my eyes again, I knew a sound had Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark Week – My Gateway Book

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg Translated by F. David Being published in English translation in 1993, this was the first Nordic novel I knowingly read, acquiring the paperback when it was published in 1994. In my thirties then, I was beginning to expand my reading, having moved on from the diet of Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark week

I chose Denmark for the first week of my Nordic reading as I was ultra-keen to revisit Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg, and it is alphabetically the first country – an approach I abandoned when setting the dates for each country (which ended up being random, not even in FINDS order). Apart Read More

#NordicFINDS is here!

NB: The wrap post for #NordicFINDS with the full list of all books reviewed can be seen here. Finally, my project for five weeks of reading Nordic literature is here. ‘FINDS’ – stands for Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark & Sweden. For me, reading Nordic literature really began in the 1990s, when a few modern novels began Read More

Ariadne, Theseus and the Minotaur – a book pairing of opposites

This would have been just a single review – of Jennifer Saint’s retelling of Ariadne’s story from Greek Myth. But then Marina Sofia recently posted a review of Russian author Victor Pelevin’s Omon Ra, and I remembered I had Pelevin’s retelling of Theseus and the Minotaur from the Canongate Myths series on my shelves, and Read More