Bewilderment by Richard Powers

Bewilderment by Richard Powers

Richard Powers, Bewilderment (Hutchinson Heinemann: 2021, 9781785152634) Bewilderment is the story of Theo Byrne, an astrobiologist who lost his wife in an accident and is raising his son, Robin, alone. Robin is a neurodivergent 9-year-old boy, who has been diagnosed with “two Asperger’s, one probable OCD, and one possible ADHD”. Theo abhors the use of [...]

A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam

A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam

A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam (Granta Publications: 2021, 9781783786947) Our protagonist Krishan receives news of the death of his grandmother’s carer, Rani, and decides to attend her funeral in the north of Sir Lanka, a region that still bears the scars of the 1983-2009 civil war. As Krishan prepares for the trip north and [...]

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney, Beautiful World, Where Are You (Faber & Faber: 2021, 9780571365425) Once or twice before I have been foolish enough to confess that I think something about a book is objectively weak. Here I concede: this is a competent novel but personally I just don’t connect with the characters very much. Rooney’s women have [...]

The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector

The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector

Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star (Penguin Classics: 2014, 9780141392035) Clarice Lispector was born in 1920 in Ukraine but fled Brazil post WW1 in 1922 and considered herself Brazilian. The Hour of the Star, published in 1977, follows Macabéa, a poor woman from the northeast living in Rio de Janeiro in (presumably) the 70s. [...]

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 – My Winner

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 – My Winner

Cherie Jones, How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House (Tinder Press: 2021, 9781472268778) Having read the shortlist, I have a firm winner: How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps her House by Cherie Jones. I have already showered it with well-deserved praise here, so I will just reiterate that the novel reads like an instant classic. The [...]

No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

Patricia Lockwood, No One is Talking About This (Bloomsbury Circus: 2021, 9781526629760) So. This is awkward.  Not my favourite book. Most people seem to either like the book or show deference to its (alleged) formal experimentation, so this rant review is but a drop in the ocean and meant light-heartedly. In No One is Talking [...]