The Wall by John Lanchester

John Lanchester's The Wall was announced as one of the Booker Dozen (thirteen novels on the longlist) in July 2019. It's not the only dystopian novel on the list with the hotly awaited follow up to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale making the longlist months before its publication. While Atwood's Handmaid novels deal with the … Continue reading The Wall by John Lanchester

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

"I'm not telling you a story so much as a shipwreck - the pieces floating, finally legible." (190) I had this book on order from my local library for weeks before I could get my hands on it and so I'd read some reviews and my expectations were mixed. I'd read Night Sky with Exit … Continue reading On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi translated by Marilyn Booth

For Women in Translation Month, I read the Man Booker International 2019 winner Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth. As Alharthi was the first Omani woman translated into English, and the first Arab author to win the award, my expectations were high. I wasn't disappointed. These "women of the moon" (its original … Continue reading Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi translated by Marilyn Booth

The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck translated by Susan Bernofsky

"Time is like a briar that has gotten caught in wool, you tear it out with all your strength and throw it over your shoulder." (228) Like the briar that's trapped in wool this book snags you; it plays with the vagaries of time and fate and moments: the moments that are monumental, that are … Continue reading The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck translated by Susan Bernofsky

Drive your Plough over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

Yet another selection from my Foyles' A Year of Books (personal) book club. I absolutely loved this and even though I'd heard of Tokarczuk I had read none of her work until this one. Well I'm heading to London (and Foyles) this weekend and so will look out her other books, as well. I also … Continue reading Drive your Plough over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

Maybe Esther: A Family Story by Katja Petrowskaja

Given the prevalence of DNA testing to find out one's ethnic heritage, which I find bizarre by the way, many people will enjoy reading Katja Petrowskaja's story about the search for her family history. When you are searching in the killing fields of Europe, in what Professor Tim Snyder calls the 'bloodlands', the search is … Continue reading Maybe Esther: A Family Story by Katja Petrowskaja

The Crimean Nexus: Constantine Pleshakov

The Crimean Nexus: Putin's war and the clash of civilizations by Constantine Pleshakov was published in 2017 by Yale publishing. Pleshakov is a former policy analyst who now teaches at the Five-College Consortium in Massachusetts. He was born in Yalta and is now a permanent resident of the United States. Pleshakov provides a clear background … Continue reading The Crimean Nexus: Constantine Pleshakov