"I’ve always written short stories, I’ve always been interested in the form being dictated by the concept, rather than the other way round." Jon McGregor
Posts tagged "family"
The facts of life

The facts of life

The Facts of Life is a beautifully drawn, funny and sometimes painful exploration of what it takes to be a woman, and a mother – or not. In 1970s northeast England, best friends Polly and April are sitting up a tree, whispering about periods and swapping their hazy knowledge of the facts of life. They...
Michael Chabon: Flying high

Michael Chabon: Flying high

Michael Chabon’s latest novel Moonglow is a fake memoir that spans the Jewish slums of pre-war Philadelphia, rocket science and espionage in World War II Germany, the verve and machinations of the space race and the dwindling of the American Century in a sleepy Florida retirement home. It’s a comical, provocative, jubilant and tender saga...
Vagrant tales

Vagrant tales

Before Greece embraced modernity and its marvels, it was a nation of stark realities and pernickety sprites. Lore and legend held as much validity as did hard facts in the popular imagination, but also in the synthesis of what was no less than a national soul. Sprites, trolls, crones, harridans and ogres, with innumerable names,...
Claire Fuller: A family at sea

Claire Fuller: A family at sea

Claire Fuller’s second novel Swimming Lessons tells the story of a missing woman and her adult daughter who, twelve years on, tries to piece together the facts about her mother’s disappearance. She talks to Juliet West, author of Before the Fall, about the book’s genesis and her inspirations in nature. JW: Swimming Lessons is such...
Too close for comfort

Too close for comfort

In cities, crime rates rise with the temperature but I’ve often wondered how many murders happen because of summer holidays. After all, British murder rates spike at Christmas – all those long, workless, alcohol-soaked days closeted away from the real world with the people who know us best: our family. What surer crucible for psychological...
Elena Lappin: Secrets and lives

Elena Lappin: Secrets and lives

In Elena Lappin’s novel The Nose, her protagonist Natasha Kaplan, a young New Yorker in London editing an Anglo-Jewish magazine, discovers more than she’s bargained for when in the course of her new job she ends up uncovering secrets about her own family’s past. “I thought I had invented and imagined it all,” writes Lappin...
Knowing my place

Knowing my place

“Ketrin,” my mother-in-law said, “Come over here. You’re good at writing.” My heart started to beat a little quicker, and I felt beads of sweat popping on the back of my neck. I was ashamed. Why would a simple comment like that invoke such an immediate physical reaction? We were at Easter lunch in Naples,...
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...
Dartmoor downpour

Dartmoor downpour

Julia Rochester’s debut novel The House at the Edge of the World is longlisted for both the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Desmond Elliott Prize for Fiction 2016. It’s a darkly comic and constantly surprising psychological mystery about comforts and destructive forces among close relatives. A recent family get-together is dominated by foul weather,...
Peter's house

Peter’s house

It is dawn when I wake. I have slept more soundly than I did in the hotel. There is a spider on my leg. I kick it off and wipe my face in case there are more. I feel dirt wiped onto my face, and dampness. I grit my teeth and there is dirt in...