International Fiction reviews

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

Karen Joy Fowler has ruined the next few books for me – whatever I pick up next, it can’t possibly measure up to the sprawling, ambitious, captivating saga of her latest novel, Booth. Fowler is the b…

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When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

It begins with the tale of Port Angeles, a bustling city that now rests upon an ancient but forgotten place. A place of violence, buried deep down beneath its concrete surface, from a time when anima…

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Paradais by Fernanda Melchor & Sophie Hughes (trans.)

With her award- winning English- language debut Hurricane Season, Mexican journalist and novelist Fernanda Melchor demonstrated her remarkable ability to grapple with violence on the page. In this da…

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Careering by Daisy Buchanan

Careering, the second novel from author and journalist Daisy Buchanan, is an ode to any woman – or any person, really – who has ever felt overwhelmed by a seemingly cavernous divide between their ‘dr…

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The Voids by Ryan O’Connor

The narrator of this book is one of the last residents of a condemned apartment block in Glasgow. The local council has offered relocation money which has been accepted by most of his neighbours. As …

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Mother’s Boy by Patrick Gale

This beautiful novel opens with our protagonist, Charles Causley, working furiously onboard a Royal Navy ship in the control room, deciphering coded messages and relaying them to the captain of the s…

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The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka

Julie Otsuka’s third novel, The Swimmers, opens in a strange but spellbinding way, with a cultural anthropology of a California swimming pool and the people who regularly swim in it. We meet them, th…

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All’s Well by Mona Awad

All’s Well by Mona Awad is dark and sharp. It is, like its namesake Shakespeare play, a ‘Problem’ – a wondrous blur between comedy and tragedy that deals with the issue of chronic pain and its ‘treat…

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A Very Nice Girl by Imogen Crimp

The last time I read a book that happened to have ‘girl’ in the title, things didn’t pan out too well for the main character. But that was a crime fiction book, and A Very Nice Girl is literature, al…

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Free Love by Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley’s fine new novel opens on a late summer evening in comfortable suburban London. It’s 1967. Phyllis Fischer, 40, lives with husband Roger, who fought in World War II and now serves with t…

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