Date Archives September 2012

Off-key stories hit the mark

I was excited to meet Courttia Newland at Bim Literary Festival here in Barbados earlier this year. He’s a British writer, but was here because his mother is Barbadian. I’d read his debut novel The Scholar when it first came out, which I now realise is a long time ago (like, last millennium). Had always planned to try another of… Read More

Tabucchi Week: Pereira Maintains

Whadda you mean, “What’s Tabucchi Week?” It’s a week of readings, reviews and blog posts about Italian writer Antonio Tabucchi, organised by Caroline of Beauty is a Sleeping Cat. This is my contribution, a review of Tabucchi’s short and delightful novel Pereira Maintains. The most striking thing about Pereira Maintains is the narrative voice. It’s narrated in the third person, but the two words… Read More

On the wall at Foyles

An interesting thing happened to me this week. I ended up being featured in a photography exhibition at Foyles bookshop in central London. Before you ask – no, I haven’t suddenly developed a talent for the visual arts. I remain, as I always have been, pretty much visually illiterate. It’s actually one of my short stories that’s being hung on… Read More

The blurb has landed

Ah, things are really rolling now. After the mysterious appearance of a listing for my next novel on Amazon recently, now a blurb has appeared in my email inbox. It’s quite strange and in some ways depressing to see several years of work reduced to a blurb, but I think they did a good job of making it sound interesting…. Read More

Sea of Ink by Richard Weihe

The premise of this book is delightful: a novella in 51 short chapters, describing the life of famous 17th-century Chinese painter Bada Shanren, partly through his paintings themselves, which are reproduced in the book. The writing in places was quite beautiful, but as a novella it didn’t really work for me. I’ll attempt to explain why. Part of it, I think,… Read More

Ten years ago: A Call for Peace

When Terry Rockefeller heard that the World Trade Center had collapsed, she had no idea her younger sister Laura was inside. All she knew was that Laura was working in New York on Tuesday and Wednesday before coming to visit her in Boston on Thursday. As a freelance conference hostess, Laura could have been assigned to any hotel or restaurant in New York. Rockefeller had been leaving angry messages on her sister’s answering machine all day, wanting to find out where Laura was and if her travel plans would be affected. Then a little before 5 p.m., she got the call. Laura had been working at Windows on the World, on the top floor of the north tower.

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The importance of staring out of the window

What does a writing day consist of? The image that comes to mind is of someone pounding away on a typewriter with a fixed, manic expression, surrounded by a mess of coffee and cigarettes and balled up sheets of paper. The reality, in my experience, is somewhat different. First, here’s what Martin Amis had to say about it in a recent… Read More

New stuff

I’ve been adding a few new features on the site recently, and thought I’d highlight them for you. First, I’ve added a list of all the books I’ve reviewed on the site. You’ll see that it’s listed A-Z by author, and that I have a few gaps. If you have a recommendations of a good book to read by an… Read More

As if by magic…

A sharp-eyed Amazon-watcher just emailed to let me know that my next book, A Virtual Love, has been listed and is available for pre-order. Now don’t worry, this isn’t a sales pitch – I wouldn’t ask you to go and order a book about which there’s no information, not even a cover photo. I just mention it because it’s interesting… Read More