H is for Hawk is a beautiful evocation of grief and the way in which the sudden death of a loved on can rip away your sense of control over the world, reminding you that you are powerless in the face of mortality and that everything you love and cling to is transitory.
It isn’t every day that you get to read a Congolese novel in English. In fact, the last time it happened, the country was still called Zaire. Tram 83 is an innovative literary novel that also deals with issues like neocolonialism and the scramble for Congolese resources.
The transition from childhood to adulthood can often be tough. It must be even harder when you’re a teenage girl in Syria who feels drawn to radical Islamist ideology but also has forbidden lesbian fantasies about her best friend.
I recently visited Ceuta, a piece of the north African coast that belongs to Spain and is hence part of “Europe”. It was a very strange and disturbing experience to cross that border so easily just[…]
When I was in Belgrade a while back, I bought four novels in a wonderful bookshop on the main street, Knez Mihailova. They were all literary novels by Serbian writers, translated into English. One thing they[…]
Did you know that there’s an Albanian tradition in which, if there are no male heirs, a woman can choose to become a man, as long as she swears herself to virginity for life? Neither did[…]
The self-fulfilling prophecy is an ancient and fascinating component of literature. From Oedipus to Macbeth and beyond, characters have wrestled with disturbing or tempting prophecies, often with tragic results. As we survey the wreckage of[…]
I read this book back in the spring, before it got shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize and got a fair bit of attention. But, as you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t been blogging very regularly, so I’m[…]
Imagine Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and Hunter Thompson engaging in a wild, drug-fuelled orgy somewhere out in the Arizona desert, and by some mystical process conceiving a daughter who then turns around and gives them[…]