Posted on 17th July 2013

Posted by Sophie

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Asunder

Contrary to expectation for a progressive young Londoner, and indeed for a modern fictional heroine, the narrator of Chloe Aridjis’s exquisitely original second novel, Asunder, lives deliberately quietly and obscurely. ‘I have always been more interested in being than becoming,’ explains Marie, a 33-year-old attendant at the National Gallery. ‘Ambition has never been high on…

Posted on 24th May 2012

Posted by Sophie

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This is Life & You Deserve Nothing

Paris, as a fictional setting, is now more than a popular novelistic trope: the city’s excessively mythicized status has rendered it an all-purpose ingredient, supplying whichever quality a story might require. An atmosphere of romance, whimsy, hipness or intellectual profundity is magically heightened by a Parisian backdrop, especially when, overtly or otherwise, the author summons…

Posted on 2nd April 2012

Posted by Sophie

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Fiction Uncovered by…Emma Garman, writer

Halfway through Josephine Hart’s final novel, The Truth About Love (2009), a mother with two dead children, hospitalized by grief, recalls her psychiatrist’s decision to marry a suitable girl instead of the love of his life. ‘He got love wrong,’ she thinks dismissively. ‘What can he do well?’ The sentiment echoes back to Hart’s famous…

Posted on 27th November 2011

Posted by Sophie

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Ghastly Business

With her debut, the sixties London-set A Vision of Loveliness, Louise Levene proved herself a rivetingly stylish and witty storyteller, pulling off the rare feat of revivifying a bygone era with sparkling originality and uncanny, often grim, accuracy. In her equally captivating follow-up, Ghastly Business, Levene turns her gimlet gaze to the London of 1929, where…

Posted on 12th September 2011

Posted by Sophie

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Cross My Palm

“Life is like streaky bacon,” say the Romani gypsies in Sara Stockbridge’s breezy and brilliant Cross My Palm: “there is some fat, and then some lean, and you had better take them together.” This sensible creed often provides solace to our protagonist, seasoned young fortune-teller Rose, who from the age of 12 has been getting…