International Fiction reviews

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

Myths, folk and fairytales don’t always lend themselves well to renovation, yet they frequently inspire authors to put their own mark on a well-read story, twisting the conventions into a modern rete…

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Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw

In Five Star Billionaire a large cast of migrants battle to find security and happiness in a New China that is hurtling into the future. Malaysian author Tash Aw skilfully juggles the perspectives of…

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Nothing Gold Can Stay by Ron Rash

I first discovered Ron Rash when I read his 2008 novel Serena, a brilliant retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and have been a fan of his prose ever since. Rash hasn’t had as much success in Australi…

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Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Ursula Todd is born on a snowy night in an English village in 1910. She dies before taking her first breath. But what if things had happened differently? What if she had lived?

Ursula is born again …

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Harvest by Jim Crace

Harvest is a slow-burner of a book that sneaks up and surprises you. There’s ‘witchery about’ but I think that’s more to do with Jim Crace’s sorcery with words than anything else.

Starting off as a …

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The Infatuations by Javier Marias

Even if your idea of a good time isn’t reading an emotionally complex and intellectually subtle novel that takes the tragic powers of love as its subject, and that nearly hums with latent erotic ener…

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A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

A Tale For the Time Being is an engrossing story that alternates between the diary of Nao, a suicidal 16-year-old teenage girl from Tokyo, and the musings of Ruth, a middle-aged novelist living in Ca…

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Ways of Going Home by Alejandro Zambra

I remember, as a child, sitting at our kitchen bench one morning before school and feeling an earthquake. I remember feeling our apartment gently moving, the low rumble, the rattling of the picture f…

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The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

I have a new crush. Juan Gabriel Vásquez, author of The Sound of Things Falling. Set in Bogota in the 1990s and 60s, this book is part love story, part digging-into-your-shady-buddy’s-past. The openi…

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Tenth of December by George Saunders

This collection of nine stories has the American literati excited, and I can understand their keen anticipation. George Saunders writes about people who are victims of unfortunate circumstances, and …

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