Category Archives: Fiction

The Underground Railroad

For an embarrassingly long time, I thought the Underground Railroad was an actual railroad, at least partly underground. A secret train to freedom is an image than can easily catch a child’s imagination—especially when that child hasn’t been around trains … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 15 Comments


Austerlitz is the second novel I’ve read by W. G. Sebald. Like The Emigrants, it’s difficult to write about, partly because the genre is difficult to pin down. Is it documentary or fiction? Is it about architecture or is it … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Brandons

This is the sixth of Angela Thirkell’s Barsetshire books, and it is just possible that it’s the most charming one yet. The novel centers around the unbelievably alluring (if rather scatterbrained) Mrs. Brandon and her two sensible children, Francis and … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 14 Comments

Always a Body to Trade

It was very interesting to read K.C. Constantine’s sixth installment of the Mario Balzic series of mysteries, Always a Body to Trade. It was written in 1983 — more than 30 years ag0 — and it takes place in Rocksburg, … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Mr. Fox

Mr. Fox does not know what to do with the women in his books. Or, rather, he knows of only one thing to do with them. He kills them. Roberta saws off her hand and foot and bleeds to death … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 10 Comments

The Glorious Heresies

After finishing the Booker longlist, I decided to try a book that perhaps should have been on the longlist, so I turned to Lisa McInerney’s The Glorious Heresies, winner of the 2016 Bailey’s Prize. It turns out that it was published … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 8 Comments

My Man Booker Shortlist

Those of you who’ve followed my reading of the Man Booker longlist this year know that I’ve been unimpressed with the offerings. The judges this year seem to value experimentation over storytelling and mistake darkness for daring. Even though most … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 12 Comments

His Bloody Project

I love a good historical thriller, so I was delighted to see this book by Graeme Macrae Burnet on the Booker longlist. It was, after all, the Booker longlist that finally got me to read Sarah Waters. Might Burnet be … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mysteries | Leave a comment

Hot Milk

Deborah Levy’s novel about a twenty-something daughter and her ailing mother is one I’m going to be pondering for a while. Much like Levy’s previous novel, Swimming Home, this is a book that I’m not sure that I liked, but I’m finding … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 4 Comments

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

If you’ve been following my Man Booker reading this year, you’ll know that I’ve not been particularly happy about many of the books on the longlist. I’ve only thoroughly loved one of them (The North Water), and I’ve found two of them … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction | 7 Comments