Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

Reservoir 13 Jon McGregor‘Reservoir 13’ by Jon McGregor begins with the disappearance of Rebecca Shaw, a thirteen-year-old girl who goes missing while on holiday with her family in the Peak District in the early 2000s. In the years that pass following her disappearance, the various residents of the small rural village get on with their lives, but the mystery of what happened to Rebecca continues to have an impact on the tight-knit community. Continue reading

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The Lauras by Sara Taylor

The Lauras Sara TaylorFollowing her debut ‘The Shore’ which was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2015, Sara Taylor has been nominated again for the same prize with her second novel ‘The Lauras’. I read it several months ago before the shortlist was announced but didn’t have enough time to review it, so I have revisited it this week ahead of our shadow panel meeting on Friday when we will choose our winner. ‘The Lauras’ is a road trip novel in which Ma and thirteen-year-old Alex leave their home and Alex’s father behind in Virginia and travel across North America visiting five places which all hold some significance in Ma’s past. Ma attempts to track down a friend from each of these places, all of whom are called Laura and were an important part of Ma’s life at the time. Continue reading

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Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides

Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides‘Fresh Complaint’ is a collection of 10 short stories by Jeffrey Eugenides. The first and last stories in the collection, ‘Complainers’ and ‘Fresh Complaint’, are new and have never been published before while the rest have appeared in the New Yorker and other magazines over the past three decades or so.

Eugenides’ three novels to date have all been completely different from the dreamy tone of ‘The Virgin Suicides’ to a Greek family saga in 20th century Detroit in ‘Middlesex’ to a love triangle between three recent graduates of a liberal arts college in ‘The Marriage Plot’. In contrast, money, debt and nostalgia appear to be loosely recurring themes in ‘Fresh Complaint’ across a similarly diverse set of scenarios which often focus on characters in some sort of personal crisis. In ‘Early Money’ a musician attempts to hide from the debt collectors tracking him down after he borrowed $27,000 to spend on a clavichord while the title story sees an Indian-American teenage girl plan her escape from the prospect of an arranged marriage which has serious consequences for a visiting British professor she encounters. Continue reading

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The Innocent by Ian McEwan

The Innocent Ian McEwanAs part of my continuing efforts to read more books from the back catalogues of my favourite authors, I have recently read ‘The Innocent’ by Ian McEwan which tells the story of Leonard Marnham, a twenty-five-year-old British Post Office engineer who has been recruited to work in Berlin in the mid-1950s as part of Operation Gold, a joint Anglo-American top secret project which involved building a tunnel under the Russian sector of Berlin in order to tap communication lines. When Leonard falls in love with an older German divorcee, Maria Eckdorf, their relationship soon becomes entangled with the operation with far-reaching consequences. Continue reading

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Purity by Jonathan Franzen

Purity Jonathan Franzen‘Purity’ by Jonathan Franzen tells the story of Pip, a college graduate in her 20s living in Oakland, California and deeply in debt who is offered the chance to take an internship with the Sunlight Project in Bolivia led by East German peace activist Andreas Wolf. Pip hopes that working for the Sunlight Project – a Wikileaks-style organisation which traffics secrets – will lead her to some answers about her origins including the identity of her father. Her work eventually takes her to Denver where she meets investigative journalist Tom Aberant who has connections with Andreas and knows his darkest secret. Continue reading

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The Man Booker Prize 2017 Longlist

Man Booker Prize 2017 Longlist

The Man Booker Prize 2017 longlist was announced today. The 13 books are:

4321 by Paul Auster

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

Elmet by Fiona Mozley

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Autumn by Ali Smith

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

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The Man Booker Prize 2017 Longlist: Predictions, Possibilities and Preferences

Man Booker Prize 2017I only started blogging about my predictions for literary award longlists relatively recently. Three of my Man Booker Prize predictions last year made it on to the longlist of 13 titles, and two of them also made the final six, which I thought was a pretty good success rate considering the vast number of eligible books.

This year’s longlist is due to be announced on Thursday 27th July and I have once again been thinking about predictions in terms of likely possibilities and my personal preferences. I have read some brilliant books over the past year which I believe very much deserve to be recognised but I think other titles may have a better chance of being longlisted. Some of the possibilities are books I haven’t read yet and as ever, I also have no knowledge of which books have actually been submitted for consideration. Continue reading

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