A great weekend of MacLehose publicity…

WARTIME NOTEBOOKS by Marguerite Duras has been prolifically reviewed in the weekend papers, beginning with the Daily Mail and the Independent on Friday, and following with the Guardian on Saturday:

Daily Mail: ‘They convey a strong, exotic sense of place – whether it be Thirties ­Indochina or a magical post-War Italy… and the ­undeniably erotic charge of war. Ultimately, reading them is a little like ­hearing a classic LP dissected on a mixing desk: to feel the true fascination of the ­process and its scattered component parts, you need to experience the slick, ­finished product.’ Tom Cox

Independent: ‘Duras, who died in 1996, was fascinated by her own story and spent a lifetime re-writing it… Duras’s reminiscences of occupied France are more brutal still. She’s a very modern writer fascinated by the interchange between memoir and fiction.’ Emma Hagestadt

Guardian: ‘Whether you know what happened to the fragments of writing in this collection when Duras reworked them into her novels, or whether you’re reading them raw, with their sudden terminations in mid-paragraph or abrupt notes on how to plot better next time, they are astonishing. They’re like being inside the greatest Henri Cartier-Bresson photographs… the colonial, stratified Indochina of her childhood matches his view of French power abroad… it’s simply caught, the beating at full fury, the humiliation at extreme shame, the hope at its most desperate’ Vera Rule

Wendy Holden reviews LOVE VIRTUALLY in the Daily Mail: ‘I must confess that the prospect of a German novel in which an affair is entirely conducted by email made my heart sink. Hadn’t we been here before? The strange thing is, I rather enjoyed it. It is quite staggeringly straightforward with no subplots or complexities whatsoever, just two characters on whom the reader is forced to concentrate as their originally accidental encounter turns to mutual intrigue and then to desire. It’s the kind of book you can read while doing several other things at the same time, but sometimes that’s just what you need.’

Katy Derbyshire of Love German Books complains that she’s been pipped for the interview with Katharina and Jamie for LOVE VIRTUALLY:

‘Gah! You know when you have the most fantastic idea ever in the whole history of humankind? And then someone else does it first! So, please go now to the blog of British publishing company Quercus, where someone else (Vivienne Nilan to be precise, of Athens Plus newspaper of all things) has done a great interview with Katharina Bielenberg and Jamie Bulloch.’

LOVE VIRTUALLY has been featured on the Lovereading website: ‘Love Virtually is a funny, fast-paced and utterly absorbing novel, with plenty of twists and turns, about a love affair conducted entirely by email. It’s a book that seems to have an amazing effect on all who read it and as a consequence there’s a real buzz in the blogosphere in particular. So why not check out the extract here on Lovereading, get yourself hooked and you won’t be able to resist the temptation to purchase.’

And reader, Shona Lappin, reviews LOVE VIRTUALLY for NewBooks Magazine – the magazine for libraries and reading groups: ‘It shows how important and addictive the Internet can be, the impact it can have on personal lives and emotions and its place in modern society. An added bonus is that the book has a sequel, so there is more to read of Leo and Emmi, I will definitely be seeking it out as I just wanted to continue reading when I came to the end. A love story for the Internet age and one that will not fail to pull you in – excellent.’

The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland (PDF; go to the very last page) has reviewed THE PHANTOMS ON THE BOOKSHELVES: ‘A book about books might appear unappealing. Not so with this gem! Bonnet simply, insightfully and beautifully describes the sheer joy of books, from the famous libraries to the pleasure and value of reading, to the future of the “pound of paper”. Anyone who enjoys reading (not just bookworms) will identify with something here while realising there is more to be gained. As Bonnet recorded: “There is something intoxicating about opening a new one.” Engrossing.’ David J. Dickson

THE BREAKERS was also picked up by the Daily Mail: ‘Mystery and romantic tension nudge the narrative along, but the author’s real interest lies in loss and the way it can shape a life as subtly and insistently as the sea. Though bulky, this is a novel strung together from sentences as spare as its geographical ­backdrop, and a deft translation carries ­evocative echoes of the French original.’ Hephzibah Anderson


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