"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
Interviews
Lily Bailey: OCD and me

Lily Bailey: OCD and me

As a child and teenager, London-born Lily Bailey suffered from severe obsessive compulsive disorder. From as early as she can remember, there was always a second voice in her head, filling her brain with intrusive, uncomfortable thoughts convincing her she was a bad person liable to bring only pain, grief or disgust to others. She...
Petra Hůlová: Gender agendas

Petra Hůlová: Gender agendas

Multiple award-winning Czech novelist and playwright Petra Hůlová’s Three Plastic Rooms takes the form of a foul-mouthed monologue by an unnamed prostitute in city very like Prague, who holds forth on matters regarding her profession, her punters and society at large. It is her second novel to be translated into English, the original Czech edition...
Many a woman scorned

Many a woman scorned

If Sarah Vaughan possessed a secret superpower I’d hazard to guess that it was precognition. The storyline of her latest novel Anatomy of a Scandal could have been plucked from today’s newspaper headlines. To label the work as a political thriller would be missing the point, as it is so much more than that. Deftly...
Antti Tuomainen: Beyond noir

Antti Tuomainen: Beyond noir

Anttti Tuomainen’s latest novel to appear in English is something of a departure for the ‘king of Helsinki Noir’. The Man Who Died is the uproariously funny story of small-town mushroom entrepreneur Jaakko Kaunismaa, who is shocked to learn he is being slowly poisoned – and that his wife is the prime suspect. What follows...
Lilja Sigurðardóttir: Caught in a trap

Lilja Sigurðardóttir: Caught in a trap

Iceland is a country that has loomed large in my imagination since I was a young child. My father was stationed on a United States military outpost near Reykjavík in the mid-sixties. Heavily pregnant and unable to return to Pakistan to be with her parents, my mother and older brother went to live with my...
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...
Claire Messud: Craft and fusion

Claire Messud: Craft and fusion

I meet Claire Messud at the London Review Bookshop one sodden evening in September when she is London to promote her latest novel, The Burning Girl. Her normal speaking voice is gentle anyway, but tonight she is speaking particularly softly so as not to disturb book browsers in the shop’s basement. I’m conscious we don’t...
Kate Murray-Browne: Buyer beware!

Kate Murray-Browne: Buyer beware!

Kate Murray-Browne’s brilliantly suspenseful first novel The Upstairs Room has been described as a ‘property horror story’. Eleanor and Richard, an editor and lawyer respectively, move into a large four-bedroom house in East London with their two small daughters. The house is at the upper limit of what they can afford and Eleanor feels uneasy...
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...
Diksha Basu: On the money

Diksha Basu: On the money

Diksha Basu’s debut novel The Windfall is a highly entertaining Indian comedy of manners. Family, friendship, identity, romance, a Swarovski-embellished sofa, worthless sons and insecurity in all its forms make up this sharp comic tale. The Jha family are new millionaires, thanks to the sale of Mr Jha’s internet start-up business, and they decide (some...