Nightshift

Kiare Ladner

Reviewed by Alison Burns

When Sabine moves to a nightshift job, putting together potted summaries of crime reports, Meggie contrives to join her. In their seedy new night-time world, she meets co-workers Earl, Lizard, Sherry and Prawn, with whom she soon shares booze- and drug-fuelled sessions after being up all night. Sometimes Sabine joins them. Meggie has a boyfriend, Graham, but can’t commit to moving in with him. Instead, she travels deeper into the night world, exploring her sexuality in an all-women bar and getting off with strangers [Read more...] in Reviews

We Run the Tides

Vendela Vida

Reviewed by Elsbeth Lindner

The large homes with sweeping views of the Golden Gate bridge belonged not to tech entrepreneurs but wealthy and sometimes bohemian families, many of whose daughters attended the Spragg School. So it is for Eulabee, the older of two siblings to a gallery-owning father and Swedish émigré mother. Eulabee’s BFF is Maria Fabiola, a sugar heiress of outstanding comeliness. Two other girls make up their set of four, but everything goes awry for Eulabee on the morning that the foursome encounters a possible creepy male, on their way to school. Three of the girls report this incident as sexual harassment; Eulabee begs to differ [Read more...] in Reviews

Mending the Mind

Oliver Kamm

Reviewed by N. J. Cooper

His sharing of the work of writers who have given him comfort with their accounts of symptoms that matched his own provides many pleasures, both of recognition and enlightenment. But it is in his eloquently clear accounts of his own suffering and recovery that the book becomes most valuable. As he found, it is almost impossible to read when in the grip of severe depression and so I imagine that Mending the Mind will be of most practical use to the friends and relations of sufferers [Read more...] in Reviews

Trigger Warning: My Lesbian Feminist Life

Sheila Jeffreys

Reviewed by Zoë Fairbairns

Sheila doesn’t want you to look away. Back in the early 1970s, she made herself unpopular in some leftist circles by noting that what was referred to as sexual freedom just meant ‘turning women into more enthusiastic sexual partners for men’. In 1978, she and other attendees at a national Women’s Liberation conference organized a pornography exhibition to draw attention to porn as a form of violence against women [Read more...] in Reviews

Afterlife

Julia Alvarez

* A 2020 Notable Book

Reviewed by Elsbeth Lindner

Antonia’s afterlife is a journey full of questions and quandaries, good choices and bad, dilemmas of the moral and personal kind which connect at multiple levels with America’s essential issues of the moment. For what, and whom, are citizens, employers, law-enforcement officers and family members responsible? How far should any one person go, to help another, related or not? Alvarez juggles all this with humor and restraint, drawing forth a portrait of a female sensibility addressing some of the most fundamental questions of social engagement [Read more...] in Reviews

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

Deepa Anappara

* A 2020 Notable Book

Reviewed by Rachel Hore

As a one-time journalist in Delhi, Deepa Anappara knows of what she writes, and her prose, richly punctuated by local idiom, is exceptionally vivid. She evokes the variety, individuality and vitality of the characters in Jai’s community with skill and humour, whilst underlining the appalling conditions in which they live. There’s little sanitation and they must join long queues for toilets or simply use the rubbish dump or the street [Read more...] in Reviews

Not at Home

Doris Langley Moore

* A 2020 Notable Book

Reviewed by Elizabeth Hilliard Selka

Doris Langley Moore found time to write six novels between 1932 and 1959, of which Not At Home was published in 1948 and is now reissued alongside her others by Dean Street Press with an introduction by Sir Roy Strong…The story introduces Elinor MacFarren, a botanical artist living alone in a large London house full of beautiful things who, to defray costs, takes a lodger. To summarize the plot briefly, this is a disaster [Read more...] in Reviews