Posted on 29th January 2013

Posted by Sophie

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Mr Fox

Mr Fox is a magic realist tour-de-force that blurs the edges of reality and fantasy. We begin the novel with St John Fox, a prominent American novelist, recounting a meeting with his imaginary muse, Mary Foxe, during an extended period of writer’s block and after a six-year absence. She is angry at him for having…

Posted on 24th May 2012

Posted by Sophie

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Hit and Run

Doug Johnstone’s Hit & Run begins when Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Frank Whitehouse, is run over in the early hours by a group of drug-fuelled twenty-somethings. They scramble about in a daze and end up dumping the body in long grass by the roadside, looking to save their reputations and careers. Billy,  the driver of…

Posted on 1st June 2011

Posted by Sophie

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Witch Light

Susan Fletcher’s story of Corrag, a 17th-century Scottish woman accused of being a witch and waiting to be burnt at the stake for her alleged crimes, stayed with me in a number of ways. A day after finishing Witch Light, I discovered a heavy leather-bound book (‘found’ by my boss) entitled A History of Scottish…

Posted on 21st April 2011

Posted by Sophie

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Ten Storey Love Song

Richard Milward’s second novel, ‘Ten Storey Love Song,’ is a sort-of Friends-on-acid scenario: all of his finely observed and unromantic characters live near each other, appear to be endlessly bed-hopping, and care about each other hugely. In Milward’s monstrous recreation, however, the ‘friends’ in question are all on the dole, and most of the time…

Posted on 26th January 2011

Posted by Sophie

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Talk of the Town

Jacob Polley, in his novel Talk of the Town (Picador), perfectly captures the claustrophobia and boredom of adolescents on the hinge of adulthood, jarring it into the border-town of his native Carlisle; which, as his protagonist Christopher Hearsey quotes as an opener, ‘stinks’. The week in which we meet Chris, two major news stories are…