Humiliation

Paulina Flores

Reviewed by Alison Burns

These are stealthy stories, all in their different ways quite shocking. Here, very definitely, the ‘sins’ of fathers and mothers are visited upon their daughters and sons. Parental sacrifice, failure, disappointment and compromise are seen through unforgiving eyes and tracked through their side-effects on the next generation [Read more...] in Reviews

Right After the Weather

Carol Anshaw

Reviewed by Elsbeth Lindner

Neither a thriller nor a sensational piece of crime fiction,this is instead a witty and rather perceptive consideration of relationships both sexual and platonic, a tracing of the arc of life from the midpoint, and thoughts about how early expectations of fulfilment might have to be modified [Read more...] in Reviews

The Silence Diaries

Jennifer Kavanagh

Reviewed by Zoë Fairbairns

Orbs … is, he tells us, ‘something in the City’, which is an odd phrase for someone to use about themselves. It’s more commonly uttered in the third person, either in tones of awe or, alternatively, scorn and bafflement, suggesting the speaker doesn’t know, and doesn’t care to know, what workers in financial institutions actually do all day. Is Orbs into stocks and shares? Futures and options? Derivatives? Pension fund management? I hope he is nowhere near mine [Read more...] in Reviews

A Book of Secrets

Kate Morrison

Reviewed by Rachel Hore

The author claims in her acknowledgements that her purpose in writing about Black Tudors is to give the lie to those myth-makers who use a fantasy all-white English past to feed into far-right white supremacist narratives. Fortunately the fiction does not feel too freighted by this worthy aim. The portrait of Susan as a Black Englishwoman of the period feels to me both individualized and subtly wrought. She has the bearing of a gentlewoman and is largely treated as such. Her respectable marriage also protects her from any who might belittle her. She’s a masterly and believable fictional creation [Read more...] in Reviews

Table Two and Peace, Perfect Peace

Reviewed by Shirley Whiteside

Wilenski draws on her own working experiences to produce an environment that anyone who has worked in an office will recognize. There are the curious routines, petty jealousies, long-running feuds, and power struggles. As the bombing reaches London, these varied women find their own way to cope with life in wartime. This novel provides a prosaic picture of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, leavened by Wilenski’s eye for a telling detail and dry wit [Read more...] in Reviews

The Dutch House

Ann Patchett

Reviewed by Alison Burns

[Patchett] writes of family ties coming undone, of the lifelong impact of childhood experience, of the power of place – and of love – in our lives. She asks a question about maternal responsibility that remains, in the end, unresolved. Not for nothing does Patchett have a reputation for painful as well as compelling storytelling [Read more...] in Reviews

One Part Woman

Perumal Murugan

Reviewed by Elizabeth Hilliard Selka

The novel has won various awards and even the translation was nominated for a National Book Award. Murugan himself is from a family of farmers in Kongunadu and is now an established author and academic: he has written ten novels as well as short stories, poetry and non-fiction, and is a professor of Tamil. One Part Woman is written in deceptively gentle, flowing prose, but this ‘quiet’ novel by a respectable writer became the focus of violent protest by caste-based and religious Hindu groups [Read more...] in Reviews