February Crime Round-Up

N. J. Cooper

Reviewed by N.J. Cooper

After darkness comes light. Reading one of Elly Griffiths’s Ruth Galloway novels is like pulling the softest duvet around you. She doesn’t shrink from the realities of the modern world in any way, and her characters’ crimes are as convincing as anyone’s, but there is so much warmth and so much good sense and humanity in the way Ruth manages her life and her cases that the atmosphere Griffiths creates is remarkably optimistic [Read more...] in Reviews

Lincoln in the Bardo

George Saunders

Published by Bloomsbury UK/Random House US

George Saunders’ new novel – ‘a luminous feat of generosity and humanism,’ according to Colson Whitehead – tells the story of a grieving president as he spends the night in the cemetery where his beloved son lies in rest.
Now The New York Times has released a companion film to the book, a co-production with Plympton, Sensorium and Graham Sack, directed and written by Graham Sack. George Saunders collaborated on the adaptation.
For Saunders – and Lincoln – fans, the film visualizes Lincoln’s haunting experience – and gives voice to the ghosts that populate Saunders’ evocative tale. It’s available on nytimes.com at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/books/review/lincoln-in-the-bardo-george-saunders.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0 and in the NYT VR app, which is free and available to download on the Play Store and App Store.

Pachinko

Min Jin Lee

Reviewed by Elsbeth Lindner

Lee has done an impressive job of exposing the terrible consequences of Japan’s invasion of Korea in 1910 and the ensuing fall out. Her long, careful and tender narrative, simple in form, rests on a persuasive foundation of research while funneling information through four generations of a single family, starting with the fortunes of Hoonie, a Korean child born with a cleft palate and a twisted foot [Read more...] in Reviews

January Crime Round-Up

N.J. Cooper

Reviewed by N.J. Cooper

Hyper-vigilant like all children of abusive parents, Ali Land’s Milly has an excellent insight in other people’s secrets and behaviours. She knows when she is being manipulated and she is herself a brilliant manipulator of other people. Her voice is beautifully rendered and her own behaviour is absolutely convincing. This is a most impressive novel... [in Reviews]

History of Wolves

Emily Fridlund

Reviewed by Elsbeth Lindner

Attracted to four-year-old Paul’s mother Patra, Linda is nevertheless suspicious of his father, Leo, and rightly so. Canny though in some senses she may be, Linda – unfamiliar with intimacy – can’t penetrate the mystery of this marriage. When she senses something awry, she is powerless to intervene [Read more...] in Reviews

Behold the Dreamers

Imbolo Mbue

*A 2016 Notable Book

Reviewed by Elsbeth Lindner

As the shadow of the coming crisis intensifies, so other problems develop for Neni and Jende. The birth of their second child Timba compounds their financial difficulties while their individual and joint relationships with the Clarks become ever more tangled. Yet Mbue – a Cameroonian herself –notably inclines away from the predictable [Read more...] in Revews

A Footman for the Peacock

Rachel Ferguson

*A 2016 Notable Book

Reviewed by Lesley Glaister

The characters are not rounded in the conventional sense but they are all vividly individual and quaintly foibled. Though the narrator’s attitude towards them all is almost consistently detached, or verging on spiteful, I found myself ultimately very moved. If a measure of good fiction is that it takes one to a new place and sends one back changed by the experience, then this is good fiction, even if it breaks every ‘rule’ I know [Read more...] in Reviews