Friday, 20 October 2017

Nowhere to Be Found

(October 2017)
  


A book so slim that even calling it a novella might be pushing it; I finished it in under an hour. It’s good; interesting in that kind of unanchored, dissociative way that seems to be becoming something of a trend for female East Asian writers in translation.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Four Roads Cross

(October 2017)



The culmination of the first round (Series? Season?) of the Craft Sequence. I've finally learned not to bounce out of one of these books straight into another, so Ruin of Angels will have to wait, despite the lure of the brand new shiny-shiny.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Fever Dream

(September 2017)



This is a gloriously unsettling little book; the kind you can polish off in under two hours but will stay with you for a long, long time after. It's been getting enough press elsewhere that I can't really add anything new here, so I'll content myself by saying that, for all that the underlying mystery turns out to be a touch disappointing in its mundanity, this is still an absolutely terrific (in all senses) demonstration of tone and voice. Recommended.

Monday, 2 October 2017

October

(September 2017)



Derivative. Animal Farm reimagined with an overly complex plot, too many characters, and a frankly disappointing lack of relatable livestock.

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Vagrant

(August 2017)



I remember this book generating a fair bit of buzz a couple of years back, but it doesn’t really live up to it (or, to be fairer and more accurate, to my memory of it). There are a lot of interesting parts here, but somehow it never quite adds up to more than the sum of them.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Heathern

(June 2017)



A lot of life has intervened since I read this book, as it has a wont to do. From what I can remember, Heathern fills the chronological space between Random Acts of Senseless Violence and Ambient, and so it was kind of an odd experience reading it prespoiled, as it were. Still entertaining enough, certainly, but lacking the linguistic virtuosity of the former of the ludicrous satirical anger of the latter.

Friday, 30 June 2017

The Essex Serpent

(June 2017)



A drily amusing (and on occasion laugh-out-loud funny) historical novel from the author of After Me Comes the Flood. The Essex Serpent has been receiving plaudits left, right, and centre, and it’s certainly very readable (that most ambiguous word of praise); it’s a little over 400 pages and I got through it in a weekend. It’s not, on the surface, a hugely challenging book. Engaging, yes. Thoughtful, certainly. Erudite, even, but you don’t emerge at the end feeling as if you’ve been put through the wringer, emotionally or intellectually. This is, of course, not necessarily a bad thing at all.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Central Station

(June 2017)
  


Central Station is a mid-future cyberpunkesque novel comprised of a dozen or so chapters, many of which were originally published as stand-alone short stories. They’ve obviously been reworked fairly carefully (or, more generously, were originally written with a very clear eye on the big picture), and for all that there is something of a central plot running through the book, its focus is very much on these interlinked vignettes exploring migration and belonging, faith and memory.