Helen Dunmore

Reviewed by Elsbeth Lindner

It’s a familiar scenario: spies within the British defence establishment during the dreary post-war years; homosexuals at Cambridge; stodgy menus at gentlemen’s clubs; creepy men, in hats, lighting cigarettes under old-fashioned street lamps; secret cameras and borrowed files. But to this well-worn set-up, Dunmore brings a fresh perspective and unusual psychology [Read more...] in Reviews

January Crime Round-Up

N.J. Cooper

Reviewed by N.J.Cooper

Kay uses the quietest possible language to generate extreme tension as we wait to find out what Stephen is going to do and who is going to suffer. She writes in an elegantly simple style and I found her creation of this troubled young man absolutely convincing [Read more...] in Reviews

Couple Mechanics

Nelly Alard

Reviewed by Elsbeth Lindner

The setting is Paris where attractive couple Olivier and Juliette have been married for ten years and have two children. He works at a newspaper, she earns more in IT and they live a comfortable middle-class life – until the day Olivier phones to tell Juliette he can’t meet her at the cinema that evening, because he’s been having an affair for three weeks and his mistress is ill [Read more...] in Reviews

The Portable Veblen

Elizabeth McKenzie

Reviewed by Elsbeth Lindner

Veblen, who has Norwegian ancestry and is a fan of her namesake Thorstein Veblen, the anti-consumerist economist and socialist (famed for the idea of ‘conspicuous consumption’), has grown up anxious, finding comfort in strangeness, solitary pursuits, nature and in particular squirrels, with whom she converses [Read more...] in Reviews


Aga Lesiewicz

Reviewed by Alison Burns

The scary denouement brings some surprises, all of which go to show that violence happens and is not always someone’s fault. It is an interesting feature of this page-turning thriller that the central character, a woman, is interested in sex and susceptible to beautiful men, and also (as she well knows) quite selfish. On occasions – especially after the first rape – this reader was shocked by her offhand reactions [Read more...] in Reviews

My Name is Lucy Barton

Elizabeth Strout

Reviewed by Elsbeth Lindner

Lucy’s love for her mother – who never kissed her nor could express her feelings for her child directly – is palpable. Yet it is accompanied by profound anguish. Lucy may have escaped from her childhood home (unlike her two siblings), has begun a writing career, married a seemingly-sympatico husband and had two children on whom she lavishes the kind of affection she never knew, yet she remains wounded, searching, at times terrified [Read more...] in Reviews

The Life-Writer

David Constantine

Reviewed by Alison Burns

* 2015 Notable Books

The stories in the collection are so rich and thought-provoking, so deserving of slow and careful reading, that I found myself able to imbibe only one or two at a time. Constantine’s imaginative empathy seems inexhaustible, his questions (embodied in his characters) of the first importance [Read more...] in Reviews