Eileen Battersby On Otto De Kat

“How to canonise Eileen Battersby?” asked Christopher MacLehose when he saw the stunning Irish Times spread on Otto de Kat’s Julia, which, making a mockery of the trend towards minimising review space, also took in de Kat’s previous novels in translation, Man on the Move and The Figure in the Distance . . . “Julia is de Kat’s fourth novel, his third to be translated into English. It acquires an …

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Eileen Battersby Reviews The Voyage

The Voyage, Murray Bail’s elaborate, time-shifting novel of courtship and culture clash, pitting the the stately old world against the brash new order from down under, was published in the UK last week, and the first review is from one of our most favourite critics . . . Eileen Battersby in the Irish Times on Saturday hailed The Voyage as: “This is an astonishing, defiant little book. Though concise in scale, it …

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Philippe Claudel: First Reviews

It is unfortunate that the cover image to the left cannot begin to do justice to the physical object you will hold in your hand if you purchase or simply thumb in an indulgent bookshop a copy of The Investigation by Philippe Claudel. In real life, it’s very shiny, and while it stops short of reflecting your features or the windows of your soul it should be enough to keep …

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Maclehose Press books of the year

Just as Jérôme Ferrari was awarded the Prix Goncourt a few weeks ago, the Books of the Year round-ups began to appear in the press and his novel Where I Left My Soul (trs. Geoffrey Strachan) kept cropping up. It was described by Michael Holroyd in the Guardian as “The most powerful novel I have read this year . . . a devastating story that shows how the victims of torture …

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The Guard: Is It Science Fiction?

It is a question that vexes many, not least on the annual “Why aren’t science fiction novels eligible for Booker Prize?” comment threads on the Guardian. Where there are apocalypses and the like, where do you draw the line between genre and literary fiction? Peter Terrin does not think of himself as a science fiction author, and is not considered to be one in his native Belgium. He started to …

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More On Hotakainen

It is always fun when a reader who reads a book that doesn’t seem at first to be there usual fare comes up with a wonderfully insightful review. (And, yes, a wonderfully positive review, let’s be honest.) Readerdad concedes in his review of The Human Part that “This seems an unusual one for me, and I’m not afraid to admit that the beautiful cover was what enticed me to check …

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Memory Of The Abyss

An extremely thoughtful review of Marcello Fois’ Memory of the Abyss by Thomas Jones in Sunday’s Observer prompts this roundup of sparkling notices. Jones, who read the Italian edition in parallel writes: Fois combines a remarkable number of different ways of seeing the world, different forms of storytelling, different kinds of language and different narrative voices in this short novel: Memory of the Abyss is by turns epic, fable, love …

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Three Strong Women

Marie NDiaye’s astounding Goncourt-winning Three Strong Women (translated by John Fletcher) is being published by in America by Alfred A. Knopf, and this Sunday it has been reviewed in the New York Time Book Review. It was quite an in-depth review, but here are a few choice snippets: Publishers in the United States [are introducing] American readers to a new generation of hugely gifted French writers who are reworking the …

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Last Man Standing SFX Review

I think it is not often that we will be able to say this about one of books, so we’d better enjoy it. SFX Magazine has given Davide Longo’s The Last Man Standing five stars and their coveted “SFX Recommends” badge. Which is nice . . . Apocalypse novels hunt in packs across the wasted landscape of today’s publishing industry. But nuclear and zombie apocalypse have both had their day: …

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