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 [...]

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

Claire Fuller, Unsettled Ground (Fig Tree: 2021, 9780241457443) Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller tells the story of 51-year-old twins Jeanie and Julius. They live in isolation in rural England with their mother, earning just enough to live on by selling produce from their modest garden and the odd jobs Julius takes on. When their mother [...]