Published in The Observer January 17, 2021
Luster sails into 2021 on clouds of praise, vapour trails of hype streaming behind it. “The most delicious novel I’ve read,” says Candice Carty-Williams; “brutal – and brilliant” opines Zadie Smith. Perhaps she would say that, being Raven Leilani’s mentor and former tutor at NYU.
Continue reading “Review: Luster, Raven Leilani”
Published in The Observer January 4, 2021
In a letter to the reader at the start of Robert Jones Jr’s debut novel, he says he was compelled to write the book after hearing voices insisting he ask the question “Did Black queer people exist in the distant past?” and then share the answer: of course they did.
Continue reading “Review: The Prophets, Robert Jones Jr”
Published in The Observer October 25, 2020
Kae Tempest has added one more string to an already crowded bow: On Connection is the first nonfiction work by this Mercury prize-winning musician, Ted Hughes award-winning poet, acclaimed playwright, novelist, and chief creative chronicler of the last decade. It’s also Tempest’s first publication since changing their name from Kate, and using they/them pronouns.
Continue reading “Review: On Connection, Kae Tempest”
Published in BBC Culture September 14, 2020
What’s in a pen name? A whole heap of patriarchal oppression, if we’re to believe a recent publishing endeavour.
Continue reading “Why do women write under men’s names?”
Published in The Observer September 7, 2020
It’s hard to overstate just how influential Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman was when published in 2011 – and how far we’ve come since. Nine years on and the feminism she had to advocate for has become thoroughly, totally mainstream, while perky books by clever journalists about every conceivable aspect of being a woman have proliferated in the ground Moran tilled.
Continue reading “Review: More Than a Woman by Caitlin Moran”
Published in The Observer August 2, 2020
Antkind is the debut novel of Charlie Kaufman, the Being John Malkovich and Synecdoche, New York film-maker, and its premise is incredibly, well, Kaufmanesque.
Continue reading “Review: Antkind by Charlie Kaufman”
Published in The Observer March 29, 2020
When #MeToo broke, it wasn’t just about high-profile cases of abuse – it felt like a new light being shone on all past interactions, allowing us to see them differently. Everywhere you saw women talking feverishly to each other, you knew it would be about this creepy boss, or that older guy.
Continue reading “Review: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell”
Published in The Observer March 22, 2020
Discomfort is putting it mildly. Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s debut novel, which has been longlisted for the International Booker prize, goes all the way to disturbing.
Continue reading “Review: The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld”
Published in The Observer January 28, 2020
If you’ve read so much as a sentence of Eimear McBride’s writing, it is likely to have burned into your brain. Her first two novels, A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing and The Lesser Bohemians, were both written with a ferocious immediacy, in hurtling, viscerally direct prose that captures pre-verbal thought processes “far back in the mind”, as McBride put it.
Continue reading “Review: Strange Hotel, Eimear McBride”
Published in The TLS November 22, 2019
IAN MCKELLEN The biography Garry O’Connor
BEHIND THE LENS My life David Suchet
Continue reading “Gandalf pays!”