International Fiction reviews

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

The idea that places or cities might have their own unique personalities or ‘souls’ is a theme with a long history, stretching as far back as the Ancient Roman notion of ‘genius loci’. Many urban fan…

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Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

In 1596, a young boy named Hamnet died. About four years later, his father wrote the most famous play in English history: Hamlet. This is the story of that boy and his mother.

I took three separate…

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How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C. Pam Zhang

‘Generations of authors have molded the mythology of the American West for their own purposes … I take the lesson that what we call history is not granite but sandstone – soft, given form by its carv

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Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

Ava is an Irish expat living in Hong Kong, teaching English to privileged Hongkonger children. She is in her twenties, and is a rudderless kind of high-achiever: intelligent, but unable (or unwilling…

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Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler

Micah Mortimer ‘… lives alone; he keeps to himself; his routine is etched in stone.’ Micah’s an ordinary man. He dropped out of college to found a start-up with a friend; that failed and since then h…

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All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg

Jami Attenberg can do bleak humour. She can skewer and summarise characters with one scathing sentence. She is the lord of mockery, the lady of irony, but, more than anything else, she is the queen w…

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The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Paul is a young recovering drug addict, struggling through a degree in finance he couldn’t care less about. Having lost the trust of his widowed mother, his hopes of studying musical composition are …

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The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

After fourteen attempts at starting this review for The Mirror & the Light, I had to stop and ask myself, ‘Why is this so difficult?’. I think the answer is that, for many, this final book in the Wol…

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Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth

Jenny McLaine, writer and Instagram addict, should have it together. She’s thirty-five, she owns her own house, and she’s a successful feminist columnist. Only, her famous photographer boyfriend has …

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Actress by Anne Enright

Years after her death, myths still circulate about Katherine O'Dell, Irish legend of stage and screen. Questions persist regarding her origins and her rise to fame. Of even more interest, of course, …

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