Book Review: Happening by Annie Ernaux

Anyone who picked up The Years last year does not need to be convinced that Happening is a memoir of the highest calibre by an author who writes with such honesty and precision about the most personal of stories. Annie Ernaux offers a glimpse into a difficult and lonely period of her life as “something intelligible and universal, causing my existence to merge into the lives and heads of other people.”

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Platon Poulas
Book Review: Mothlight by Adam Scovell

Adam Scovell’s debut novel Mothlight is a first-person introspective journey of understanding how a personal identity is informed and shaped by other people. A novel written with the style and sensibility of a literary memoir, it is as much an exercise in self-exploration as it is an exercise in memory.

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Platon Poulas
Book Review: No Place to Lay One’s Head by Françoise Frenkel

Françoise Frenkel’s No Place to Lay One’s Head, translated into English by Stephanie Smee, certainly is a remarkable discovery: harrowing and beautifully written, it is both an astonishing historical account of surviving the horrors of the Second World War and a timeless story about the importance of empathy and resilience in the most difficult times.

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Alice Piotrowska
Book Review: Childhood by Gerard Reve

Following Pushkin Press’s 2016 release of The Evenings, Dutch writer Gerard Reve returns in English with Childhood, which includes two of his early novellas, Werther Nieland and The Fall of the Boslowits Family. Both embody the best of Reve’s writing: dark wit, strange characters, and brilliant style that make this book a delightful and mesmerising read.

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Alice Piotrowska
Book Review: Soul of the Border by Matteo Righetto

Matteo Righetto’s Soul of the Border is an fascinating mix of adventure and historical fiction that focuses on the life of a tobacco-growing family during the late 19th century in the Veneto region of Italy. The hard farming life of the de Boer family reflects the wider trials which the working class of the region faced in order to survive during that period.

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Platon Poulas
Book Review: Limbo by Dan Fox

Dan Fox’s new book came as a result of writer’s block, a period marked by failed attempts to write a collection of travel essays. Instead, he focused on this phenomenon of creative stagnancy and wrote about his introspective analysis. The result is Limbo, a long essay that considers a multitude of domains, physical and metaphysical, in which agency is removed and time takes on unfathomable qualities.

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Book Review: Drive Your Plow by Olga Tokarczuk

After the success of Man Booker International Prize Winner Flights, Fitzcarraldo Editions return with a new Olga Tokarczuk novel. Originally published in Poland in 2009, Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead was translated into English by Antonia Lloyd-Jones. Far from the “constellation-novel” form of Flights that Tokarczuk opts for in many of her later works, it presents itself as a reinvention of the gothic noir and crime novel.

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Book Review: My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

After having graduated in art history from Columbia and quitting her job at a pretentious art gallery, the unnamed narrator of My Year of Rest and Relaxation retires in her Upper East Side apartment and resolves to sleep for the coming year, at the end of which she expects to emerge a different person.

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Book Review: Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth

Only Killers and Thieves is beautifully crafted as a very personal story, with brothers Tommy and Billy at the centre of it, while around them we witness the perishing of their family, the real authorities acting above everything, and the story of a country whose history was built on violence and pain.

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Platon Poulas
Book Review: Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

Beneath the lush surface, the residents of Swan Song hardly leave any of the seven deadly sins unexplored thoroughly. It’s a novel that is as interested in the literary value of Truman Capote’s approach to writing and his life as it is in the moral decay of the most privileged. It’s this decade’s The Secret History.

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