Tag Archives: New Zealand

Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young

Rathbones Folio Prize Shortlist 2019

I am championing Ashleigh Young’s collection of essays ‘Can You Tolerate This?’ as part of the Rathbones Folio Prize blog tour today. The eight books on this year’s shortlist include four novels, a novella, two non-fiction books and a collection of poetry whittled down from a list of 80 works published in the UK in 2018 chosen by members of the Folio Academy.

Can You Tolerate This? Ashleigh Young‘Can You Tolerate This?’ is Young’s non-fiction debut (she is also a poet) and tackles a diverse range of subjects, mostly leaning towards her own personal experiences of growing up in Te Kuiti in New Zealand as well as a smattering of historical portraits and other topics too. The 20 essays in this collection include her experience of working as the manager at Katherine Mansfield’s birthplace (‘Katherine Would Approve’), Japanese recluses known as hikikomori (‘Sea of Trees’), 19th century French postal worker Ferdinand Cheval (‘Postie’) and her resentment towards a childhood pet (‘Black Dog Book’). However, the main recurring theme in her work is the body, from the short opening essay about a patient with two skeletons (‘Bones’) to musings on her own body hair (‘Wolf Man’) poor eyesight (‘Absolutely Flying’) and yoga and her eating disorder treatment (‘Bikram’s Knee’).  Continue reading


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The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The LuminariesWhilst wondering last month when I was ever going to read ‘The Luminaries’, a thought suddenly occurred to me: what better time to start reading an 800+ page book than the beginning of up to five days of London Underground strikes? I have an eBook copy of Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize-winning epic novel and I tend to use my Kindle when bad weather, industrial action or some other disruption is likely to severely delay my commute to work. An e-reader is easier to hold on a crowded train than a large hardback book and if I get stranded somewhere for a long time and I finish a novel, I have several more to choose from right there and then. Continue reading


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