Posts tagged british fiction

Happiness by Aminatta Forna: Review

Although in her previous novels Aminatta Forna has grappled with wars and atrocities in Sierra Leone and the former Yugoslavia, her latest novel, titled Happiness and set in the heart of London, may be her most challenging undertaking yet.

Read More

Indian Magic by Balraj Khanna

Lately I’ve been reading quite a few books with complex structures and experimental elements. In the middle of all that, it was good to read Indian Magic, a simple enough story told in a traditional, chronological narrative. We start with Ravi arriving in England from India in the early 1960s, and follow him through various adventures and misadventures as he adapts to his new home. The author, Balraj Khanna, arrived in England in the same year as his character, Ravi, and it’s tempting to wonder how many of the events… Read More

The Chocolate Shop Perverts by Ernest Alanki

Outsiders make great literary characters. Their otherness makes them naturally interesting characters, and it’s also fascinating to see “normal” people and social conventions through their eyes, shining a fresh light on things that usually seem very familiar. Also, don’t we all feel like outsiders sometimes? I know I do, and always have. And I’ve sometimes been surprised to hear people who I thought were very gregarious and well-adjusted admit to feeling the same thing, at least on occasions. So literary outsiders give us someone to root for, and perhaps in a perverse… Read More

“Last Orders” by Graham Swift

In a way, the plot of Last Orders is very simple: a group of friends drive to the coast to scatter the ashes of their friend Jack. Yes, that’s it. Along the way they have arguments and fights and endless pints of beer, but none of that is really the point. The real action of this book takes place in the past, appropriately enough for a novel about scattering ashes. These are old men remembering not only Jack but also their own former selves. There are lots of lies and… Read More

British “state of the nation” novels

One of my fellow Legend Press authors, Mark Piggott, wrote an interesting article in the Independent about ‘state of the nation’ novels. I thought it would be complaining that nobody’s writing about contemporary British issues these days – there’s been quite a bit of that recently, because historical novels have been getting a lot of the awards and attention lately. But he takes a more interesting line, noting that historical novels have been getting the attention, but pointing out the wealth of books tackling contemporary issues (of which mine is… Read More