PositiveBook Oxygen\"A quartet of clever twentieth-century British women who brought the narrowing academic discipline of philosophy back to everyday life might not seem the most riveting subject for the general reader...And indeed, there are times when (even to one who studied the same subjects in the same place) this account feels to blithely abstruse...However, the four women in the spotlight are such strong characters, so disarmingly real, and so searching that their chosen subject comes to seem the only worth arguing about...Linked by friendship as well as well as intellectual ability, sharing flats and sometimes lovers (although destined for sharply contrasting private lives), and driven to ask the same central questions over and over, these women were an example of what can be achieved when good brains join forces and refuse to be shouted down...The authors, Mac Umhaill and Wiseman, were lucky enough to get to know the last survivor of the quartet, Mary Midgley, in her nineties and to hear her first-hand accounts of what she called \'The Golden Age of Female Philosophy\'...A measure of the significance of the group—who may have flourished only because of their unique circumstances—is that two biographies have appeared at the same time...The other, published by Oxford University Press, is by American philosopher Benjamin Lipscomb...This one, by two young British female philosophers, is full of passion, colour and insight, as befits their subjects.\
RaveBook OxygenThis portrait of friendship between a tantalizing but doomed young woman and her hooked admirer has a slightly creepy undertone reminiscent of Zoë Heller’s Notes on a Scandal and very well sustained suspense, so that the reader is never quite sure what either woman will do next. What it was to be young in London in the last months of the twentieth century is brought to life with a relish worthy of early Angela Carter. Above all, with an honesty not unlike Elena Ferrante’s in her searing novel, Days of Abandonment, Kiare Ladner recounts with absolute accuracy the lengths and depths to which some women will go in order to free themselves from whatever it is that binds them. This is a debut to be cherished.
PositiveBook OxygenThis is an uncomfortable read, full of yearning but also of understandable bitterness. Hamya’s narrator wants so much, minds so much. On her train journey home, in a briefly empty carriage, she finally lets out her pain in a scream that reverberates long after the book is closed.
Paulina Flores, Trans. by Megan McDowell
PositiveBook OxygenThese are stealthy stories, all in their different ways quite shocking. Here, very definitely, the ‘sins’ of fathers and mothers are visited upon their daughters and sons. Parental sacrifice, failure, disappointment and compromise are seen through unforgiving eyes and tracked through their side-effects on the next generation.
PositiveBook OxygenNot for nothing does Patchett have a reputation for painful as well as compelling storytelling ... A story of loss, of ghosts, of what Danny calls ‘a house on fire’, The Dutch House brings closure of a sort but is not shy of leaving the facts of pain exposed.
RaveBookOxygen... immensely readable and immediate. Erskine’s voice is as specific and local as James Kelman’s and her tales are as memorably engaging as those of William Trevor or Muriel Spark ... Imaginative, poignant and compassionate. Highly recommended.
PositiveBook Oxygen\"This debut novel by a young writer in her twenties is a feat of imaginative sympathy and retrieval ... The combination here of gripping personal and political stories in an action-packed historical narrative amounts, as it did in Hilary Mantel’s A Place of Greater Safety, to an impressive achievement.\
PositiveBookOxygenWhether or not the echo is intended, this latest novel by Sadie Jones recalls the subject matter of François Mauriac’s classic story about inheritance, Le Noeud de Viperes. Atmospheric, suspenseful and very well calculated for a future screen version, The Snakes looks at the damage caused by money-lust ... This is a novel full of mental as well as of physical violence, in which one man stands out ... With its graphic luxury and squalor, its scary characters and its grasp of psychology, The Snakes looks ideal for development into a TV series comparable with The Killing.
RaveBookOxygen\"Here is another collection of leap-off-the-page, life-enhancing stories by the wonderful American writer Lucia Berlin ... Berlin’s frankness and humour apart, it is the power of observation that blows one’s mind ... One of the things she does is say the unsayable... She is also brilliant on the underside of glamour ... It is this combination of warmth and extremity that shines out in every word Lucia Berlin writes.\
PositiveBookOxygenIn passages of extraordinarily convincing interiority, Ruskovich shows Ann doggedly, lovingly, half-guiltily, trying to imagine how the crime happened, and why ... Ruskovich acknowledges among her chief influences two grandes dames of contemporary fiction: Marilynne Robinson and Alice Munro. One thinks also of Carol Shields, another great writer drawn to similar themes. Whatever you make of her puzzling story, her multiple truths, the quality of the writing shines out in page after page of vivid particularity. Definitely a writer to cherish and watch.