"In my experience of writing – and of life – the frenzy of dreams and that of form always go together." Iosi Havilio
Author Archive
A bear in a million

A bear in a million

The varying merits of the UK’s early November film releases appear to be in direct proportion to the protagonists’ face-fuzz. Much was made in advance of Kenneth Brannagh’s reimagining of Hercule Poirot’s ‘magnificent moustaches’ in the latest adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (20th Century Fox, 3 November), but the rest of...
Lina Meruane: Blood in the eye

Lina Meruane: Blood in the eye

When she was a PhD student at NYU, Chilean author Lina Meruane was temporarily struck blind as her eyes haemorrhaged and blood flooded her vision. Her semi-autobiographical novel Seeing Red, set in contrastingly chaotic New York and Santiago, spins off from that episode in a searing examination of illness and recovery, anger, dependency, unconditional love...
Iosi Havilio: Getting away with it

Iosi Havilio: Getting away with it

Iosi Havilio’s Petite Fleur is a virtuoso meditation on life, death, depression, anxiety, temptation, recovery and miraculous resurrection. Narrator José is down in the dumps when his job at a fireworks factory goes up in flames, but as the gloom lifts he gains an unexpected talent for guilt-free murder. Establishing that his victims seem always...
Every way out

Every way out

The shortlist for the 2017 Polari First Book Prize, announced at the Polari Literary Salon at London’s Southbank Centre on 31 July, brings together an eclectic and provocative range of fiction and non-fiction from Cardiff to Kuwait and beyond that throws light on the LGBT experience from surprising angles. Now in its seventh year, the...
After shock

After shock

On 4 July, a little under six months into Donald Trump’s presidency, I joined a packed audience of over 2,000 at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall for an engaging and impressive keynote speech by Naomi Klein based around her latest book No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics. Klein equates Trump’s election...
Olivia Sudjic: Between dreams

Olivia Sudjic: Between dreams

Olivia Sudjic’s debut novel Sympathy is a dazzling examination of the morals and customs of our gadget-led lives, a sharp and slippery tale of unreliable identities and assumed connections. It’s narrated by 23-year-old Alice Hare, an unhinged Englishwoman in New York who becomes obsessed with the online presence of 32-year-old Mizuko Himura, a Japanese teacher...
Samanta Schweblin: Passion and terror

Samanta Schweblin: Passion and terror

Samanta Schweblin is an acclaimed Argentinian short-story writer whose compact debut novel Fever Dream is shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. A disorientating and utterly gripping psychological thriller and an unsettling exploration of family ties, panic and dread, it is told in spare dialogue between a woman called Amanda who lies dying in...
Jon McGregor: The long and short of it

Jon McGregor: The long and short of it

Although it begins with the disappearance of a young girl while holidaying with her family in a Peak District village, Jon McGregor’s Reservoir 13 deliberately fails to resolve whatever accident or crime may have occurred, and instead explores how such an event lives on in the collective memory of a small, close-knit community. As months...
Bret Anthony Johnston: Tricks at the top

Bret Anthony Johnston: Tricks at the top

Bret Anthony Johnston has won the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award with his story ‘Half of What Atlee Rouse Knows About Horses’, a touching meditation on memory and loss that weaves together significant moments from the life of an 80-year-old Texan through the prism of the three great loves of his life: his wife,...
A positive betrayal

A positive betrayal

“On one hand it’s a psychological thriller, so people read it fairly quickly. On the other hand, it’s a novel that withholds things from you,” says Julian Barnes of his Man Booker Prize-winning The Sense of an Ending. In the thoughtfully crafted new film version, that withholding remains vital to the slow-burn reveal, but a...