Book Review: The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri

Nayeri blends memoir and reportage in beautiful, powerful prose, intertwining her own memories of fleeing Iran as a child with the more recent narratives gathered from other refugees. Timely and empathetic, The Ungrateful Refugee will force many readers to confront and re-evaluate their assumptions – even (or especially) those arising from good intentions.

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Alice Piotrowska
Book Review: Crossing by Pajtim Statovci

Bujar moves across nationalities and genders, becoming a Bosnian student in Berlin, a Spanish actor in New York, or a Turkish singer in Helsinki. Haunting and original, Crossing is an evocative exploration of loneliness, belonging, and the boundaries of self-invention.

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Alice Piotrowska
Book Review: Bindlestiff by Wayne Holloway

Bindlestiff presents a post-apocalyptic-looking landscape that has seen the disintegration of the federal system and of the internet, along with the socio-economic structures that held the country together. But this post-apocalyptic image is just that – an image conjured by a script written by @waynex in the process of getting the Hollywood treatment.

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Book Review: The Governesses by Anne Serre

In The Governesses, Anne Serre builds an enchanted, magic atmosphere where everything happens in the shadows. She employs language and imagery that bring the fairytale staples back to their dark, sexually-charged roots while at the same time exploring masculinity and gender dynamics through a feminist lens.

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Platon Poulas
Book Review: Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo

From the very first pages, Animalia establishes itself as a text that demands attention and rewards it with visceral prose that doesn’t simply create a world, but becomes part of its very fabric. It’s dense in a way that every page holds its own weight. The action is focused on movements rather than events – the routine is settled early on, and every activity in the characters’ lives is simultaneously mundane and vital.

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Platon Poulas
Book Review: Rilke in Paris by R.M. Rilke & Maurice Betz

Rilke went to Paris in 1902 to write a monograph on acclaimed sculptor Auguste Rodin. This was only the beginning of his love affair with Paris, a city which he would leave and return to again several times between his first visit and his death in Switzerland in 1926. Rilke in Paris is the combination of his own reflections on Paris and the observations of his French translator, Maurice Betz.

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Platon Poulas
Book Review: I Want To Show You More by Jamie Quatro

In these stories, Jamie Quatro’s blend of intimacy and a sense of faith in the divine is ever-present in the prose and dialogue. But, more than faith, the defining quality of these characters is a sense of devotion – not necessarily to something holy by definition, but to something deeply personal to them.

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Platon Poulas
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