"When you think about something, when you remember something, it’s never linear, it’s kaleidoscopic. You remember someone and then another story comes." Négar Djavadi
Author Archive
Gavin Extence: An occupied mind

Gavin Extence: An occupied mind

The set-up for Gavin Extence’s The Empathy Problem is as bleak as they come: Gabriel Vaughn, a hotshot hedge fund executive with a heart of stone, is given only months to live when he learns that he has an inoperable brain tumour. The tumour happens to be located in the part of his brain that...
Jenn Ashworth: Into the dark

Jenn Ashworth: Into the dark

I wouldn’t have expected Jenn Ashworth to be nervous at this stage in her career. Perhaps a couple of novels ago she might have worried that the 2010 Betty Trask prize she’d snagged for her debut A Kind of Intimacy had been beginner’s luck. But her 2011 follow-up Cold Light landed her on the BBC Culture Show’s list of the Twelve Best New...
Worth watching

Worth watching

Woody Allen’s Manhattan begins with a montage of iconic New York City locations. Park Avenue, the 59th Street Bridge, the Staten Island Ferry; captured in sleek-as-silver Panavision black and white, a procession of these marvels dazzles the eye, while in our ear Allen’s voice agonises over the opening lines of a novel he’s writing. “Chapter...
Blood well shed

Blood well shed

Early in his debut crime novel Clinch, Martin Holmén makes a play at our sympathy. Waiting for a business contact in the streets of 1930s Stockholm late one autumn evening, former boxer Harry Kvist spots a man beating a stray dog across the way. Kvist is quick to call the man out on his cruelty,...
Squinting at DeLillo

Squinting at DeLillo

“I thought, Is this the world as it truly looks? Is this the reality we haven’t learned how to see?” Artis Martineau, Zero K Those who came of age in the nineties will no doubt remember the Magic Eye craze. Many will recall the fraught minutes spent studying these seemingly-abstract images, trying to ‘relax’ our...
Heirlooms

Heirlooms

As a devourer of fiction, I tend to swallow untruths whole. If a story can hold my attention, if it can make me care deeply enough about its characters, then my disbelief becomes a feather which I will gladly suspend for as long as it takes to see them through their trials. So Gregor Samsa...
Greatly exaggerated

Greatly exaggerated

It seems to me that if you’re a critic wanting to make a name for yourself in a particular field, there’s one surefire way to accomplish that goal. Film critics, quit pouring your heart and soul into that piece that will forever alter the way we look at Citizen Kane. Music-mag columnists, forget about the...
Freedom suite

Freedom suite

February 1st marks National Freedom Day in the United States. Initiated in the 1940s, the holiday commemorates Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, which banned slavery. Its intent is to “promote good feelings, harmony, and equal opportunity among all citizens and to remember that the United States is a nation dedicated to...
Waiting on the shelf

Waiting on the shelf

When my wife and I married fourteen years ago, our two bookcases became one. It was a lopsided union. Roxanne had cultivated her book collection for years, saving everything she read, all the way back to a desiccated hardcover anthology of Czech short stories she’d liberated from her public library in high school. I, on...
Writing on with a joyful cackle

Writing on with a joyful cackle

Perhaps Stephen King skimmed over the fine print when he signed his deal with the Devil to become one of the most successful authors of all time. Maybe the streetlights were too dim on that gloomy night at the crossroads, and he missed the clause that stated: “Henceforth, upon expiration of x months on worldwide...