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!”
Published in The Observer September 22, 2019
When published in Vigdis Hjorth’s native Norway in 2016, Will and Testament became both a bestseller and a literary scandal.
Continue reading “Review: Will and Testament, Vigdis Hjorth”
Published in The Independent September 6, 2019
You don’t need me to tell you that this is the “literary event of the year”. Thirty-four years after her seminal novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood has published a sequel. It’s already shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Bookshops are staying open to midnight on release day.
Continue reading “Review: The Testaments, Margaret Atwood”
Published in The Observer July 29, 2019
Nina Leger’s novella begins with a description of a woman taking a penis into her mouth: “She lets it grow heavy, take on warmth, breadth and shape… She moves away, and contemplates the erect penis.”
Continue reading “Review: The Collection by Nina Leger – unflustered accounts of sex”
Published by The Independent June 22, 2019
Two ageing, fading Irish gangsters sit in the port of Algeciras, watching and waiting for 23-year-old named Dilly, who they believe to be heading by ferry from Spain to Morocco. Actually, scrap that – there’s nothing faded about Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redman.
Continue reading “Review: Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry”
Published in The Independent May 24, 2019
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has certainly had a vivid afterlife: subject to countless adaptations, rewrites, and remakes. Jeanette Winterson is the latest to re-animate the 19th-century Gothic classic, both playfully and sometimes arduously bringing it into a contemporary world of smart-tech and artificial intelligence (AI).
Continue reading “Review: Frankkkistein by Jeanette Winterson”
Published in The TLS April 16, 2019
It’s no exaggeration to claim that Felix Barrett’s theatre company Punchdrunk has changed British theatre. Founded in 2000, Punchdrunk pioneered, and came to define, immersive theatre: where members of an audience roam around a found space itself rich in atmosphere and meaning, with non-linear narrative conveyed through dance, sound, lighting, audience interaction and hyper- detailed, installation-style design. The company created a version of small-town America inspired by David Lynch and Edward Hopper inside an abandoned Wapping warehouse for Faust (2006), and built a forest inside a vast disused factory in south London for The Firebird Ball (2005). Josephine Machon’s encyclopedia, including substantial contributions from many Punchdrunk key players, is a thorough account of the company’s eighteen-year history – though a few developments are skirted over in this fascinating, and at times irksome, guide to their practice.
Subscribers can read the full review here.
Published by The Independent April 12, 2019
You could call Isabella Hammad’s 550-page novel a sprawling, sweeping historical epic. It does chart a turbulent period of Palestinian history, from the end of the Ottoman empire and the First World War, through British rule and mass immigration of Jews as the Second World War looms.
Continue reading “Review: The Parisian by Isabella Hammad”
Published in the i March 22, 2019
Siri Hustvedt’s new novel, Memories of the Future, has a narrator named SH. At the age of 61, she rediscovers a diary she wrote when she was 23, as well as her first attempt at a novel. The older narrator looks back on her first year living in New York with an eye that is both wry and beady, peering into the gaps between her records and her memories.
Continue reading “Siri Hustvedt: ‘There is a morbid belief that women lack imagination’”