Posted on 23rd June 2014

Posted by Sophie

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Winter

I chose this to review purely by the appeal of the title, knowing nothing of the novel or author. It proved an excellent choice: a novel about the ageing Thomas Hardy and his much-younger but fast-ageing second wife Florence, and based on an incident from true life, which I remembered coming across in Claire Tomalin’s…

Posted on 29th June 2012

Posted by Sophie

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Captivity

This is the first novel by Lander Hawes, whose short story, “Differences In Lifts,” in Unthank Books’s Unthology 2 had already whetted my appetite. I wasn’t disappointed, as often happens in the quantum leap from short fiction to novel—quite the reverse. This is an impressively assured achievement. Josh Haddon is a man in captivity, part…

Posted on 19th March 2012

Posted by Sophie

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A Division Of The Light

One of Picasso’s recurrent obsessions was that of the artist and model theme, particularly in the Vollard Suite, his personal take on the Pygmalion story, the model as muse, both controlled and controlling. Something similar happens in the long chapter (5) that is central to the vision of Christopher Burns’s visionary novel, A Division Of The…

Posted on 1st February 2012

Posted by Sophie

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Somewhere Else, or Even Here

I read a story in the Warwick Review last summer: “Sometimes Gulls Kill Other Gulls,” by A.J. Ashworth, whose work I didn’t know. It was spare, atmospheric writing, understated. A girl on a beach is befriended then bullied by a sinister boy. It involved an elderly dog that drowns in a rock pool in a…

Posted on 6th November 2011

Posted by Sophie

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Fiction Uncovered by…David Rose, writer

On a trip to one of my favourite small bookshops recently, my attention was drawn to a small display of books from a new, local publisher I had not heard of. As I like to support publishing initiative, I decided to buy one of the titles (I had actually already spent that week’s book allowance)….

Posted on 31st October 2011

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Fiction Uncovered by… Gavin James Bower, writer and editor

I’ve a confession to make: I judged a book by its cover. And, what a cover… Published by Salt, Vault: An Anti-Novel has got the sort of boldness written all over its face that, if its contents failed to deliver similarly, would just be a downright waste. Thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint. The debut novel by David…