Posts tagged novella

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

“Tomorrow Pamplona” by Jan van Mersbergen

A road trip taken by two men across Europe to the bull-running at Pamplona. The set-up appealed to me: it’s quite similar to my own novel, with two men on a road trip, exploring the strange relationship between them and the mutual search for something more than what they have. The characters are quite different from mine, though. They start as strangers: Robert picks up Danny outside a service station and offers him a lift. Despite Robert’s best attempts to get inside Danny’s head, they really remain strangers right to… Read More

“Next World Novella” by Matthias Politycki

I finished this 138-page novella in one evening and thoroughly enjoyed it. The book opens with Hinrich Schepp discovering the dead body of his wife Doro. She has been editing an old manuscript of his, a novel he started writing before they met and quickly abandoned. Through her scathing margin notes he discovers an entirely different side to her, and to their 29-year marriage. So the story is told through his reading of the manuscript and Doro’s notes on it. The story of the aborted novel bears a striking resemblance… Read More