RaveIrish Times (IRE)The novel is short and sparingly written, but the experiences of several lifetimes are revealed in a series of sometimes shocking revelations ... The juggling act Strout performs with grammar animates the narrative in surprising ways ... Oh William! is not a book that you read so much as you experience it. Lucy’s progress through her own life is so viscerally described that it feels like a physical journey ... The miracle here...is the capacity of love to exist within damaged lives ... Breathtakingly beautiful ... [Strout\'s novels] are remarkable in the clarity of the insights they pull from the confusion of human existence. Strout has found a singular way of telling the truth about life as it is lived. To journey with her is a profoundly moving experience.
RaveIrish Times (IRE)This is a novel about women’s lives, and Chambers reveals their many and complex histories alongside Jean’s household tips, but in the same highly restrained tone. The effect is one of great authenticity, as Chambers exposes life experiences that belie the genteel tone of the novel while continuing to conform to it ... The writing is so unassuming that it would be easy to miss how accomplished it is. Cliches are skilfully avoided and the atmosphere is richly portrayed ... Small Pleasures is an unusual novel. A perfectly pitched period piece, with an intriguing mystery driving it and a deeply affecting love story at its heart, it’s also a novel about the messy truths of women’s lives and their courage in making the best of that mess.
RaveThe Irish Times (IRE)If there was an Oscar ceremony for books, then Jess Kidd’s Victorian mystery Things in Jars would surely sweep the board ... Kidd is a writer who’s not afraid of having fun, but that’s not to say that Things in Jars is a frivolous book. For all its humour and colour, and there’s plenty of both, this is a story of serious evil ... Set against such horror – and Kidd does not flinch in serving it up to us – Bridie’s humanity is all the more moving, but it also makes of the novel something timeless, for it’s not just in Victorian England that kindness has the power to prevail over cruelty ... Macabre dealings may be the subject matter of Things in Jars, but tenderness is at the heart of it ... it’s the good that outweighs the bad and, in so doing, reveals Kidd’s range as a writer. Her dialogue is knife-sharp and often very funny. Her descriptions of London are rich and poetic, with pockets of beauty ... For this wonderful portrait of London, for her beautiful writing and even better storytelling, Jess Kidd richly deserves the award of Best Director. And the Oscar for Best Book? Things in Jars, for all the reasons listed above.
MixedThe Times (UK)... immensely clever ... The concept is brilliant ... It’s a hideous scenario, and utterly implausible, but then hideous, implausible scenarios seem to be the order of the day, in politics as well as fiction, so McKinty is channelling the zeitgeist ... The sheer evil of the concept can be hard to take at times, but the pace is so jaunty it seems daft to take the plot too seriously. Just when you think things can’t get worse, they do ... There’s a touch of Scooby Doo in the way the story skips along merrily through horror after horror. Heroin addiction and cancer are subplots that, given a fairly minimalist treatment, only narrowly manage to avoid being trite ... Having cooked up the most fiendish of plots, however, McKinty doesn’t hold back in throwing more horrors into the pot as he proceeds with breakneck speed towards his conclusion ... may have some resonance with the gloomy state of world affairs and the breakdown of civilised norms, but it is essentially light entertainment, and as such it succeeds splendidly. No surprise, then, to hear the film rights have just been sold to Paramount. It has all the elements of an absolute blockbuster.
RaveThe Irish Times\"A generous reader of other writers, Moore is always smart, never snooty, and as in her novels and short stories, there’s a bold streak of humor ... What’s interesting here is not just the reviews themselves but Moore’s reasons for undertaking them in the first place, an endeavour she sees as \'jury duty,\' and \'a difficult but obligatory citizenship.\' She makes a compelling contribution to the argument for writers to act as critic. She is also a champion of deceptive simplicity, and she understands the power of brevity ... Whether she’s writing about current affairs or literature, or indeed her own honeymoon, Lorrie Moore’s essays are brilliantly written, brimming with energy, and never for a moment dull. Brought together in a collection, they form a great doll’s house of a book, offering a glimpse through tiny windows into other worlds, and as such they are undiminished by the passage of time.\