Posts tagged literary fiction

German Literature Month: Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald

November is German Literature Month, hosted by Lizzy and Caroline! If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an annual celebration of literature in the German language. There’s a schedule of readalongs, but I’m too disorganised for that, so I’m going for the “read what you want, as long as it was originally written in German” category. And what better book to choose than Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald, a novel that I have been meaning to read for so many years that I’d almost given up hope of unearthing it from… Read More

Review of Dodge and Burn by Seraphina Madsen

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 the finger, inverting their male-dominated world and creating a road trip novel for the 21st century, complete with a strong female lead who might have made a great companion for Sal and Dean if they hadn’t been so busy gunning for girls and turning their patronizing male gazes on beautiful honey-haired darlings. Actually, don’t imagine… Read More

Q&A with the founders of new indie publisher Dodo Ink

Dodo Ink is a new independent publisher in the UK, promising to publish “bold, daring, risky but accessible literary novels”. They’re currently running a crowdfunding campaign to fund their first three novels, with incentives ranging from free books to getting your own dedication page. One of the founders, Sam Mills, is a writer (I reviewed her 2012 novel The Quiddity of Will Self on this blog), and another, Thom Cuell, is a book blogger/reviewer (of Workshy Fop fame). I interviewed the two of them recently to find out more about how… Read More

A potential novel: In the Wolf’s Mouth by Adam Foulds

Reading Adam Foulds’s new novel In the Wolf’s Mouth, I was reminded of literary movements like Oulipo, which explored the concept of ‘potential literature’. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not that the novel is particularly experimental. It’s the ‘potential’ aspect that stuck in my head. In the world of Oulipo and others, the emphasis was more on the creation of new possibilities, rather than the actual execution of those ideas. In the Wolf’s Mouth is in some ways a potential novel. It sets up a scenario involving multiple characters and storylines,… Read More

Tyranny and liberation: Birgit Vanderbeke’s The Mussel Feast

There’s a reason why oppressive societies have images of their leader on every wall and statues in every town square. For the tyrant to maintain power, he must be everywhere, or at least give that appearance. In this gripping portrait of a dysfunctional family, it’s only when the father returns home late from work one night that his absolute rule over his wife and children begins to slip. Freed of the need to perform and appease, the three of them begin to make startling admissions: the children both fantasise about… Read More

The book launch

Thanks to everyone who came to my book launch on Wednesday night! It was a wonderful evening, by which I mean that lots of people turned up and I didn’t botch my speech or reading 🙂 For those of you who couldn’t make it, due to minor inconveniences like living on different continents, here are the edited highlights: As you can see from the final photo, while some people just mingled and chatted, others couldn’t wait to start reading 🙂 If you were there and have any photos of your… Read More

The Quiddity of Will Self by Sam Mills

This book is unlike any other I’ve read. That, in itself, is a reason I’m glad I read it. In a world in which too many books are reminiscent of other books, this one is truly unique. It may sound a little odd to praise the book’s uniqueness, when it has another writer’s name and face on the cover. And it’s even more odd when you read it, because the prose itself mimics Will Self’s style in places, and there are references to Self’s life, books or characters on almost… Read More

The Twitterati: literary fiction writers to follow on Twitter

A blog post listing all the writers on Twitter would probably take me a lifetime to compile, and cause WordPress to explode in indignation as soon as I hit “Publish”. So I decided to cut it down a bit. The idea of this post is to highlight some big-name literary fiction writers who are on Twitter: people you might not have expected to find tweeting, like Salman Rushdie or Margaret Atwood. I’ve tried to avoid listing Twitter accounts that are run by assistants or PR people or fans – the… 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 from the title, “Pereira maintains”, occur regularly throughout the book to qualify what we’ve just been told. For example: In Praca de Alegria there was no sense of being in… Read More