International Fiction reviews

Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif

Reviewed by Michael McLoughlin

Major Ellie crashes his sixty-five-million dollar jet in the desert near the refugee camp he was supposed to bomb. It’s not really a high priority target, but Ellie was thrown a bone by his commander…

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Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

Reviewed by Elke Power

Barbara Kingsolver is perhaps best known for her award-winning novels The Poisonwood Bible (1998) and The Lacuna (2009), though her numerous other works will also be familiar to many. With her much-a…

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Ohio by Stephen Markley

Reviewed by Joanna Di Mattia

In the post-9/11 era, foreign wars, financial meltdowns, diminishing opportunities, and increasing alienation have shaped the United States of America. A generation of young people have come of age i…

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Evening in Paradise by Lucia Berlin

Reviewed by Leanne Hermosilla

I read Evening in Paradise in a single sitting, mesmerised by the places and characters, and what they revealed about the cultures of the times. Names recur but are intermingled. A character from one…

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China Dream by Ma Jian

Reviewed by Paul Goodman

It’s no coincidence that Ma Jian dedicates this book to George Orwell. Named after Xi Jinping’s vision for Chinese prosperity, China Dream is a tale of the self, broken over the rack of the state. As…

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Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Reviewed by Cindy Morris

We live in an era where we get told to accept who we are and show it – but is that really true for people of colour? We ask them to whitewash themselves to appear successful and to fit in. They have …

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Crimson by Niviaq Korneliussen

Reviewed by Marie Matteson

Niviaq Korneliussen begins her novel Crimson with a letter to the reader: ‘I began creating characters and stories on paper and suddenly the whole world was available to me.’

Crimson, originally tit…

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The Waiter by Matias Faldbakken

Reviewed by Amanda Rayner

Reading The Waiter by Matias Faldbakken reminded me of one of my favourite short stories: ‘The Luncheon’ by W. Somerset Maugham. Set in the Paris restaurant Foyot’s (which sadly no longer exists), th…

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Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Reviewed by Bernard Caleo

Smoothly, calmly, Haruki Murakami leads us out to the latest outpost of his fictional universe. We survey the hillside and the lonely house in which the narrator has come to live. Once, it belonged t…

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Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Reviewed by Joanna Di Mattia

Kate Atkinson has a gift for blending fiction with historical detail. Life After Life (2013) and its companion, A God in Ruins (2015), are brilliant evocations of England, set predominantly during Wo…

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