Book Reviews

I write book reviews for The Northern ReviewThe Contemporary Small Press and also do independent reviews upon request. Please contact me if you have a publication of any genre for consideration.


Solar Bones

By Mike McCormack

Longlisted for the Man Booker prize

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

Themes: Bereavement, recession, modern patriarchy, Ireland


Forbidden Line

By Paul Stanbridge

Special category winner in the Republic of Consciousness Prize

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

Themes: Mindfulness, 14th century Peasants’ Revolt


We That Are Young

By Preti Taneja

Shortisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize

‘‘Set your watch. India time.’

Themes: King Lear, family estrangement, India


The Storyteller

By Kate Armstrong

Longlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize

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

Themes: Mental ill health, suicide, recovery



Bella Mia

By Donatella Di Pietrantonio

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

Themes: Survivors, corruption, earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy.



The Empress and the Cake 

By Linda Stift

‘It could never just be one more time.’

Themes: Eating disorders, manipulation, Austrian history



My Mother Is A River by Donatella Di Pietrantonio

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

Themes: Dementia, mother-daughter relationship, Italy


The Dancing Girl and the Turtle

By Karen Kao

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

Themes: Pre-World War Two Shanghai



Killing Hapless Ally by Anna Vaught

‘Behind the chintz curtains, it was hell.’

Themes: Mental ill health, self esteem, childhood neglect



The Cut

By Anthony Cartwright

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

Themes: Brexit, British class system, poverty and privelege



By Helen E. Mundler

‘It’s not easy being difficult.’

Themes: British expat in France, family estrangement, suicide




The Stone Tide

By Gareth E. Rees

‘Whatever that thing was, I didn’t want to deal with it. I would not die in my pants.’

Themes: Hastings, midlife crisis, Charles Dawson, post truth



This Is The Place To Be

By Lara Pawson 

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

Themes: War reporting, Angola, journalism, foreign affairs




Rise up & Repeal: A poetic archive of the 8th amendment. Edited by Sarah Brazil and Sarah Bernstein. 

‘Ní Saoirse go Saoirse na mBan. There is no Freedom until the Freedom of Women.’   

Themes: Women’s rights, abortion, referendum, Ireland



This Is Not Your Final Form: Poems about Birmingham

Edited by Richard O’Brien and Emma Wright.

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

Themes: Multiculturalism, city life, community, alienation



The Apple Tree by John Rebholz. Illustrated by Zoe Saunders.

Themes: The First World War, Family History, The Cold War