MixedThe Spectator (UK)...in The Confession the author interrogates responsibility’s different resonances: notably pitting a woman’s duty to care for herself against her obligation to care for her child; also exploring responsibility towards friends...and the impact of our behaviour on them. The author has a talent for rendering lifelike characters on the page and creates a gripping double plot. But by signposting ‘responsibility’ and shoehorning opinions into the narrative, The Confession can feel a little heavy-handed. Burton should trust her many admirers to be able to read between the lines of her — often beautiful — prose.
RaveFinancial Times (UK)Bernardine Evaristo’s eighth book Girl, Woman, Other brims with vitality ... Evaristo writes sensitively about how we raise children, how we pursue careers, how we grieve and how we love ... Previously, Evaristo has written verse novels, prose novels and drama among other types of literature, and the form she chooses here is breezily dismissive of convention. The flow of this prose-poetry hybrid feels absolutely right, with the pace and layout of words matched to the lilt and intonation of the characters’ voices ... Evaristo celebrates the mix of African and British in all of our DNA; moreover she captures the shared experiences that make us, as she puts it in her dedication, \'members of the human family.\'
RaveFinancial Times (UK)..intelligent and supple ... [The] emphasis on borders and the limiting of movement between countries resonates today, of course; the Brexit vote is mentioned later in the book. It also resounds in the potent metaphor of Saul’s struggle to cross Abbey Road, an image to which the author returns several times ... Levy performs intricate muddlings of time, character and place ... skilful, dizzying storytelling.
PositiveThe GuardianThis bizarre, bold, brilliant book, originally published in 2000, is original both in content and form ... Conversation reflects rhythms of speech rather than formally correct grammar and punctuation, and the narrative moves in and out of digressions, contemplating, for instance, John Stuart Mill’s education. Perhaps the book is a little bloated, but DeWitt’s zeal cannot fail to enchant.
RaveFinancial Times\"... a beautiful chronicle ... The experience of reading The Parisian is akin to plunging into a great 19th-century classic, thanks to the languorous pace, easy poise, minute observations and the apparent ease with which Hammad takes her third person narrative from one character to another, letting her reader inhabit different viewpoints. There is also an underlying urgency to this rich, luscious novel: the themes that Hammad explores in Midhat’s life reverberate in the book’s political framework, which charts Palestine’s struggle under Ottoman, French and British rule between 1914 and 1936 ... The Parisian is a skilful demonstration of how the personal and the political are inescapably intertwined.\
PositiveFinancial Times\"The dialogue often pitches thesis against antithesis, but it is saved from the aridity of philosophical debate and given the emotive warmth of fiction by Li’s pitch-perfect rendering of the conversation between mother and son. She catches every cadence just right ... Nuanced argument can dissolve in an unexpected burst of humour, collapse from the weight of grief inspired by Nikolai’s loving use of \'Mommy\', or be sent off course with a jostle of filial disrespect ... Words may indeed fall short [to properly describe the grief of a mourning mother], but Li’s talent opens our eyes to what glistens in the depths of their shadows.\
RaveFinancial Times\"Urgent facts and poignant details are carried across into Lost Children Archive, which is in many ways a fictional elaboration of this previous book. In retelling this story — dazzlingly, compellingly — again and again, Luiselli urges her readers towards a common humanity.\
Jenny Hval, Trans. by Marjam Idriss
PositiveThe Financial TimesHer 2008 second album was titled Medea; her 2016 album Blood Bitch explored menstruation, death and vampires. Paradise Rot is of this ilk—a fascinating accompaniment to her musical output and a compelling work in its own right ... To read Paradise Rot is to inhabit one of Hval’s eerie, theory-conscious soundscapes. As in a dream, the closeness of this world to our own and its simultaneous uncanny otherness, awash with potent symbolism, leaves us looking at everything anew.
PositiveThe Financial TimesIn this, her 10th novel, Atkinson probes the murkiness of identity, how easily a person slips between different fictions ... Transcription is also hard to pin down: it has the thrill of espionage, the twists and turns of a mystery, tempered with the poignancy of a coming-of-age novel. Moreover, the author revels in her tussle between fiction and fact, lacing the book with literary teases such as when a character chides ... These moments of pointing to the book’s textuality are clever, but risk jolting us out of the sheer pleasure of reading a pacy, witty, atmospheric novel ... In her novel’s complex web of fiction and fact, copies and originals, Atkinson shows that transcription can take us closer to the truth.
RaveThe Financial Times\"In her compelling third novel, Rachel Kushner spotlights every detail of prison life. She demonstrates how the system is designed to smother individuality, in its scale...and in its abundance of regulations. This clash between bureaucracy and humanity is brutally felt ... The Mars Room is about contraction, the world shrinking to prison’s razor wire and electric fence perimeter. The author exposes the horrors of life inside only to show that, for some, it’s easier than life outside.