What Am I Reading?

The Coast – Eleanor Limprecht

The Coast – Eleanor Limprecht

Author Eleanor Limprecht has made a name for herself writing detailed historical fiction novels and her latest, The Coast (Allen and Unwin 2022) is no exception. The Coast is a complex and historically layered account of the treatment of lepers in Australia at the...

Lie With Me – Philippe Besson

Lie With Me – Philippe Besson

Rarely do I read such a beautiful, lyrical, tender, moving and heart-breaking novella as Lie With Me (Penguin 2019) by Philippe Besson, translated from the French in achingly luminous prose by Molly Ringwald. This passionate and romantic story of a blossoming but...

Fault Lines – Emily Itami

Fault Lines – Emily Itami

Fault Lines (Phoenix Books 2021) is a slim novel that is breathtaking in its simplicity, poignant observation and humour. Author Emily Itami uses the title both as an indication of what is going on in her marriage and also in reference to the ever-present threat of an...

Denizen – James McKenzie Watson

Denizen – James McKenzie Watson

Last year’s winner of the Penguin Literary Prize, Denizen (Penguin Viking 2022) is a dark, moving, rural outback, psychological horror thriller that will surely be known as ‘peak bleak’ but in a completely compelling way. Author James McKenzie Watson has created a...

Oh William! – Elizabeth Strout

Oh William! – Elizabeth Strout

Oh Elizabeth Strout! Oh what a wordsmith! Oh William! (Penguin Random House 2021) is a novel of the same understated but supremely clever dissection of persona as Strout’s other characters Olive Kitteridge and Lucy Barton. And as in Olive Again, where we are given an...

Actress – Anne Enright

Actress – Anne Enright

There is something so special about Irish writers and Anne Enright is surely one of the most gifted authors writing today. Her novel Actress (Penguin Random House 2020) is an intimate portrait of a mother and daughter relationship and how it develops and ages over the...

Dinner with the Schnabels – Toni Jordan

Dinner with the Schnabels – Toni Jordan

Set over the course of one week, Toni Jordan’s new novel Dinner with the Schnabels (Hachette 2022) is bursting with her inimitable wit, her intimate characterisations and her unmatched examination of the dynamics of relationships. Jordan has written in a number of...

Cloud Cuckoo Land – Anthony Doerr

Cloud Cuckoo Land – Anthony Doerr

I often note Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize winning book All The Light We Cannot See as the perfect novel, so what a delight to read his latest work Cloud Cuckoo Land (Harper Collins 2021). Doerr is a master storyteller, whether in his short fiction or his longer...

Weaving Words: Women About Women (various)

Weaving Words: Women About Women (various)

I wrote the foreword for Weaving Words: Women About Women, an anthology of short stories by an online writing group, so my full review is really encased in that foreword. But briefly, this is a collection of 13 works by eight emerging authors, instigated by their...

Bedtime Story – Chloe Hooper

Bedtime Story – Chloe Hooper

Attempting to describe Chloe Hooper’s luminous book Bedtime Story (Scribner, Simon and Schuster 2022) is like the old tale of five different blind men each touching a small part of an elephant and each depicting the creature in an entirely different way. If I told you...

Hydra – Adriane Howell

Hydra – Adriane Howell

Occasionally you come across a novel that is part dream, part nightmare; part chilling sense of creeping dread, part poetic and aesthetic beauty. Such is Hydra (Transit Lounge 2022) by Adriane Howell, a highly literary story that celebrates the joy of language and the...

Elizabeth Finch – Julian Barnes

Elizabeth Finch – Julian Barnes

Julian Barnes stretches our philosophical brains in his latest novel Elizabeth Finch (Jonathan Cape Penguin Random House 2022). Divided into three parts, this book in narrated in the first person by a man who first meets Elizabeth Finch when he is a mature age...