December 2016, issue no. 387

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Commonwealth' by Ann Patchett

Francesca Sasnaitis

Life, one of Commonwealth's minor characters remarks, is a series of losses. Teresa Cousins acknowledges that life is also other, better things, but that it is the losses that define us ...

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Amy Baillieu reviews 'The Good People' by Hannah Kent

Amy Baillieu

After reading her début novel about Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last person to be executed in Iceland, no one is likely to pick up a book by Hannah Kent expecting a frothy comedy ...

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Sue Kossew reviews 'The Schooldays of Jesus' by J.M. Coetzee

Sue Kossew

In order to grasp the complexity of allusions in J.M. Coetzee's new novel, The Schooldays of Jesus, you need to have your wits about you. On the other hand, as with its prequel ...

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Max Sipowicz reviews 'Mr Unpronounceable and the Infinity of Nightmares' by Tim Molloy

Max Sipowicz

Mr Unpronounceable and the Infinity of Nightmares is the third volume of Tim Molloy's stories featuring Mr Unpronounceable, a modern-day shaman ...

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Barnaby Smith reviews 'The Bricks That Built Houses' by Kate Tempest

Barnaby Smith

Kate Tempest's début is the expansion of a story she threaded through her 2014 album of protest hip-hop, Everybody Down. In its transformation to novel form ...

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Piri Eddy reviews 'The Sound' by Sarah Drummond

Piri Eddy

The Sound begins with the memory of loss, of shorelines marked with blood, and the acrid stench of charred flesh – a massacre wrought by colonial men with guns ...

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Thuy On reviews 'The Paper House' by Anna Spargo-Ryan

Thuy On

The Paper House begins benignly, even buoyantly, with a recently married couple, a new house, and the stirrings of pregnancy. But the intense grief that suddenly ...

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Anthony Lynch reviews 'The Wisdom Tree: Five novellas' by Nick Earls

Anthony Lynch

In the final novella of Nick Earls's quintet The Wisdom Tree, a benign security guard, Wanda, misquotes Tolstoy: 'No family is perfect. But each family isn't perfect in its own .. More

Shannon Burns reviews 'Dying in the First Person' by Nike Sulway

Shannon Burns

During boyhood, Samuel and his twin brother, Morgan, invent and in a sense inhabit a world and language called 'Nahum'. Years later – after a family tragedy ...

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Andrea Goldsmith reviews 'Shylock Is My Name' by Howard Jacobson

Andrea Goldsmith

Shylock Is My Name is the second novel to appear in Hogarth Press's Shakespeare Project. In this series, eight well-known novelists have each been commissioned to retell ...

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