Book Reviews

I write book reviews and other pieces for The Contemporary Small Press, a publishing symposium based at the University of Westminster. All items are available on their website here.

Forbidden Line by Paul Stanbridge (special category winner in the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2017)

Review Title: Without Destination or Intent

‘This is not a casserole we are making here, it is a philosophical work.’

A pair of misfits set out on an adventure into notoriety and oblivion. Read more

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (longlisted for the Man Booker prize 2017)

Review Title: Prelude to Oblivion

‘The living and the dead stood shoulder to shoulder sharing a joke and a fag’

On All Souls’ Day when the dead are honoured, Marcus Conway is feeling pensive… He also happens to be dead. Read more

This Is The Place To Be by Lara Pawson 

Review Title: Internal Conflict

‘I hate the way the news plasters over the rough edges of truth.’              

How do you make the indescribable real to those who have never witnessed it? Read more

 

We That Are Young by Preti Taneja (shortisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2018)

Review Title: Family Fortunes

‘‘Set your watch. India time.’

The sudden resignation of a tyrannical CEO threatens to tear a carefully constructed world apart. Read more

 

The Storyteller by Kate Armstrong (Longlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2017)

Review Title: A Vivid Glimpse into the Secret Workings of an Unravelling Mind

‘Here is what I suggest. That, bound together in this circle of hell, we talk fondly like sisters and we share our stories.’   Read more

 

The Cut by Anthony Cartwright

Review Title: Divided We Fall

‘He spoke of the weight of the past on the present, a sense of betrayal…of retribution on some grand, futile scale.’

Just over a year ago, the UK awoke to the cataclysmic news that by a very narrow margin, the nation had voted to leave the EU. Read more

Bella Mia by Donatella Di Pietrantonio

Review Title: Rebuilding Shattered Lives After Seismic Loss

 ‘I voluntarily return to the place that killed my sister.’    

Lips tremor with grief, hands tremor with age, voices tremor with anger. Read more

 

The Empress and the Cake by Linda Stift

Review Title: A Spoonful of Sinister

‘It could never just be one more time.’

A seemingly innocent slice of cake lures a vulnerable young woman into a downward spiral of crime and enslavement.  Read more

 

This Is Not Your Final Form: Poems about Birmingham edited by Richard O’Brien and Emma Wright.

Review Title: Second to None

‘This is not a city. This is a cloudburst of culture. And we are not citizens – we are soaked to the bone.’

The UK’s second city has a genuinely inclusive, refreshingly unpretentious, truly exceptional creative scene. Read more

The Dancing Girl and the Turtle by Karen Kao

Review Title: Seduction and Betrayal in Pre-War China

‘The rain has stopped and the street gleams like the barrel of a rifle.’

Shanghai, 1937. During the opulent days before the Second World War, 18-year-old Anyi travels to the city determined to make her fortune. Read more

 

Killing Hapless Ally by Anna Vaught

Review Title: A Darkly Funny Account of a Woman’s Courageous Battle to Regain her Sense of Identity following a Lifetime of Self-doubt

‘Behind the chintz curtains, it was hell.’   

Alison has always had plenty of friends. Unfortunately, they are all in her head. Read more

My Mother Is A River by Donatella Di Pietrantonio

Review Title: A Moving Exploration of the Complex Relationship between a Daughter and her Mother in the Shadow of Dementia.

‘Her memory is now a manuscript traced with invisible ink.’

My Mother Is a River is a story of love, relationships and identity lost and found.  Read more