RaveThe Scotsman (UK)What’s the point of writing an unoriginal sentence? A predictable sentence? A sequence of words that has been committed to paper hundreds, perhaps thousands of times before? This seems to be Megan Hunter’s starting point whenever she sets out to write a novel … in The Harpy…flashes of inspiration are spread… sparingly through the text, and if anything this gives them even greater impact. Rather than trying to land a haymaker with every punch, it’s as if Hunter is learning how to box clever, adding more variety to her repertoire, ducking and weaving before landing a decisive blow … you can’t help wondering if this isn’t Hunter’s challenge to herself: to write a novel about infidelity that is somehow different from all the others that have been published before, and to find her own, original language to do it in … If that was her goal, she has succeeded on both counts. As already discussed, the original language part of the equation was never going to present her with too much difficulty, but she also manages to elevate her story to something that is at once rooted in the everyday and effortlessly transcends it … a gripping, psychologically astute account of a relationship in free-fall.
Carlos Manuel Álvarez
PositiveThe Spectator (UK)In chapters which alternate between the perspectives of the four family members, Álvarez slowly and cleverly builds up a picture of a family unit on the brink of collapse ... Although there are moments of delicious dark humour... The Fallen is, in the end, tragic, and surprisingly so, since for much its length the full facts of Armando’s situation are far from clear. The last few chapters, however, show a man struggling desperately to come to terms with the fact that the country he feels he has worked so hard to build is now thought of as an abject failure by his own children.
Carlos Manuel Álvarez
PositiveThe ScotsmanIn chapters which alternate between the perspectives of the four family members, Álvarez slowly and cleverly builds up a picture of a family unit on the brink of collapse ... Although there are moments of delicious dark humour...The Fallen is, in the end, tragic, and surprisingly so, since for much its length the full facts of Armando’s situation are far from clear.
RaveThe Scotsman (UK)... a richly imagined re-telling of the [true] story that gives it the timeless aura and allegorical undertones of an ancient Greek myth ... At times Lynch can be even more economical with language than Hemingway; often he simply states the bald facts of the situation and leaves the reader to infer what the characters’ thoughts might be ... rest assured that there are moments of raw passion aplenty. This is a book that will leave you feeling thoroughly wrung out by the final page, but also happy to be alive.
PositiveThe ScotsmanIn Faber & Faber: The Untold Story, Toby Faber, grandson of the company’s founder, Geoffrey, has managed to piece together the history of this peculiarly British institution in such a way as to lift the lid on some of the more surprising and, occasionally, unedifying goings-on behind the scenes, while at the same time stopping short of doing anything to diminish its mistique ... This book will fascinate anyone with an interest in 20th century literature, but as well as being a treasure trove of anecdotes and insights it is also a surprisingly readable history of a remarkable company...
MixedThe ScotsmanRichards’ new book, Outpost, has clearly been properly proofread (kudos to the team at Canongate) and some of the descriptive writing is wonderfully vivid—cinematic even—but...there’s a niggling sense that the author keeps getting distracted from the main thrust of his story, and the intellectual wandering off and ping-ponging around can get so convoluted that you’re left wondering if there is even a main thrust to return to ... the conclusion that all the outposts in the book are linked by the fact that they \'allow people to engage with the world inside and out in various ways” feels nebulous-verging-on-meaningless.