April Crime Round-Up

N.J. Cooper

Reviewed by N.J. Cooper

Christoffer Carlsson is the youngest ever winner of the Best Swedish Crime Novel of the year (2013), with a PhD in Criminology adding a high degree of credibility to his writing. The Invisible Man from Salem is a first-person narrative about Leo Junker, once a troubled teenager from a sink estate on the outskirts of Stockholm and now a disgraced police officer on suspension. The novel shifts between his adolescence, when he was falling in love for the first time and making friends with the even more troubled John Grimberg, and his current involvement with the murder of a drug-dealing prostitute in the hostel in which he is living out his suspension from work. The characterization, social and political background, psychology, and structure are all masterfully handled [Read more...] in Reviews

The Green Road

Anne Enright

Reviewed by Elsbeth Lindner

The book opens in 1980, with the children still living at home. An exploration of their small County Clare town reveals class differences – Rosaleen is a Considine who married beneath her – and family allegiances. With Dan (Rosaleen’s favourite) announcing his intention to join the priesthood, Rosaleen takes to her bed. Meanwhile Rosaleen’s husband Pat is still working the poor corner of land where is own mother lives. Nearby is the green road, ‘the most beautiful road in the world’ [Read more...] in Reviews

The Last Pier

Roma Tearne

Reviewed by Alison Burns

Preparations for the annual tennis party, complete with Italian ice-cream, vie with the harvest. Golden day follows golden day. Creepy Robert Wilson appears, with boxes of chocolates: is he a friend, or a spy? Carlo Molinello watches Rose, Bellamy watches Rose, Robert Wilson watches Rose. Selwyn keeps disappearing. Agnes is sad, Kitty is sharp, Cecily mystified. And then Cecily makes a mistake [Read more...] in Reviews

bookoxygen doing better than the TLS

The annual VIDA Count shines a light on where women are under-represented in the literary arts. It was the VIDA Count’s revelation of major imbalances at premiere publications both in the US and abroad that partly inspired bookoxygen’s birth. For example:The New York Review of Books covered 306 titles by men in 2010 and only 59 by women; The New York Times Book Review covered 524 books by men compared to 283 books written by women. bookoxygen has held steady to its commitment to devote the lion’s share of its space to writing by women, reviewed by women. bookoxygen isn’t mentioned in the 2014 VIDA Count, but other publications are, including Granta (doing better) and the TLS (not). The VIDA Count link can be found via www.vidaweb.org

The Children’s Crusade

Ann Packer

Reviewed by Elsbeth Lindner

Three of the children’s names begin with R (Robert, Rebecca, Ryan) and the fourth is James. Their home is the house that Bill built in Portola Valley, California. Three letter R’s have been drawn in to the cement of the house’s foundation, leaving latecomer James doomed to be forever the outsider [Read more...] in Reviews

Penguin Little Black Classics

Reviewed by Siân Miles

Of the eighty texts, a tenth or so are by women writers, very largely though not exclusively from the nineteenth and early twentieth century. They derive from lesser-known works and contain some appetizing titles not lacking in humour and irony; Mary Kingsley’s contribution, for example is entitled A Hippo Banquet, Kate Chopin’s A Pair of Silk Stockings. Christina Rossetti’s samples include the wryly macabre A Frog’s Fate [Read more...] in Reviews

March Crime Round-Up

N. J. Cooper

Reviewed by N.J. Cooper

The characters and their interaction are one of the delights of this series, as are the descriptions of the landscape and Norfolk’s dramatic weather. There’s a lot of gentle charm and humour, too, particularly when it comes to the unexpectedly practical and money-minded Druid, Cathbad, who has been a friend of Ruth’s for years. This novel won’t shake the world or rearrange your perceptions, but it will give you a lot of pleasure and almost certainly make you feel better about yourself [Read more...] in Reviews