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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Book Review: Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro

Saying that Jamie Quatro’s Fire Sermon is a love story, or the story of an affair would be like saying that Moby Dick is about fishing. Yes, there is an affair at the centre of it, and there is talk about love, but this novel is made of so many layers that it requires multiple readings to unfold them all.

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Platon Poulas
Book Review: Spring by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Spring reads more like part of the My Struggle series; with the actual events happening over a brief period of time, Knausgaard weaves in memories, thoughts, and observations to create a complex narrative. This time, however, the story is more personal and emotionally nuanced, and one that his daughter will be unable to understand until many years later.

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Alice Piotrowska
Book Review: Feel Free by Zadie Smith

Why do we need libraries? How do different generations respond to Facebook? What’s so fascinating about Joni Mitchell? What’s it like for Justin Bieber to meet people? The questions in this collection of Zadie Smith essays range from artistic, to creative, to socio-political, to personal, and they are all explored with the same level of introspective curiosity and sensitivity. 

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Platon Poulas
Book Review: South And West by Joan Didion

South and West is Joan Didion's first release since 2011’s Blue Nights and as the subtitle (From a Notebook) indicates, this is less of a narrative and more of a collection of notes which the author took on two separate occasions during her road trips in the South (and West) of the United States in the 1970s.

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Elisa Sabbadin
Book Review: Winter by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Karl Ove Knausgaard’s second volume of his Seasonal Quartet, Winter, follows on the same threads as Autumn, with three more letters to his unborn daughter (the last one written in the hospital just after her birth) framing a series of short observational pieces about his surroundings.

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Platon Poulas
Book Review: Sleep Over by H.G. Bells

H.G. Bells imagines a world where the entire human race loses the ability to sleep all of a sudden. Mass insomnia starts off as an inconvenience, and develops into the deadliest threat to humanity’s existence. The novel is laid out in the “oral history” genre popularised by World War Z, giving you a different account of the Insomnia Apocalypse every few pages.

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Platon Poulas
Book Review: On Bowie by Rob Sheffield

Published shortly after David Bowie’s death in January 2016, Rob Sheffield’s On Bowie is a self-proclaimed “love letter to Bowie, a celebration of his life and his music” (4). Sheffield traces the development of Bowie’s career and stage persona(s), interspersing the book with his personal responses to Bowie’s music.

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