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 [...]

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 [...]

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half (Dialogue Books: 2020, 9780349701479) The Vignes twins are descendants of the founder of Mallard, a small, unmapped town in Louisiana. Alphonse Decuir, a formerly enslaved, biracial man now in possession of his father’s land, wanted to build a place for people “who would never be accepted as white”. His vision [...]

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones

Cherie Jones, How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House (Tinder Press: 2021, 9781472268778) How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones is set in the mid-1980s in the fictional Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, where luxury holiday villas skirt the paradisiacal beach and intrude on the local community that is afflicted by poverty and violence. [...]

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi, Transcendent Kingdom (Penguin: 2020, 9780241988664) In Ya Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom our narrator, Gifty, is nearing the completion of her neuroscience PhD at Stanford University where she researches “the neural circuits of reward-seeking behaviour.” Her routine is interrupted when her mother, who suffers from severe depression, comes to stay, bringing the past to the [...]

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett, The Dutch House (Bloomsbury Publishing: 2019, 9781526624062) From the outside, the Conroy family looked like the picture of the American dream. Cyril Conroy, having taken advantage of the post-war economic boom, invests in real-estate and quickly takes his family from living in a precarious military base, to a life of luxury in an [...]