"I didn't want people to read in the same way they might eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, but because I wanted them to know the mind-expanding privilege of walking a mile in someone else's shoes." Cathy Rentzenbrink
Posts tagged "fiction"
Ukamaka Olisakwe: Breaking free

Ukamaka Olisakwe: Breaking free

Ukamaka Olisakwe’s fierce, measured, ultimately hopeful novel Ogadinma, rightly dubbed “a feminist classic in the making”, is an unflinching portrait of female survival and inner strength in the face of multiple harrowing obstacles in modern-day Nigeria, where patriarchal rules and behaviours are ingrained but fought against daily by the nation’s women. The eponymous heroine is...
An ending

An ending

So, this is how your husband dies: not forty years from now, coughing, wilting, consumed from within by cancer, holding your hand, looking into your eyes, the irises reflecting a lifetime of companionship. Not twenty years from now, after the kids that you haven’t yet had grow up and leave home and no longer need...
Distant echoes of a mighty paean

Distant echoes of a mighty paean

Readers long spellbound by Elena Ferrante’s Valhalla-like worlds of the Italian South, her redoubtable skills as a writer, the swarming opacity of the mystery that enshrouds her, her ‘voice’, defying every categorisation, or even personification, will instantly pick up the familiar echoes and sounds of her previous books as they leaf through the pages of...
The housewife and the convict

The housewife and the convict

Jenny stayed quiet on Saturday mornings during Hank’s online yoga class. ‘Welcome to your time,’ Leslie intoned. ‘Yes,’ said Jenny quietly, placing sound-cancelling headphones over her ears. The housevoice had informed her already that the quality of her sleep had been ‘poor’, that she had awoken twenty-six times during the night. She turned over and...
Megan Hunter: The shadow side

Megan Hunter: The shadow side

Megan Hunter’s second novel The Harpy is a dark and dazzling tale of pent-up rage and revenge festering beneath a veneer of everyday domesticity. Mother-of-two Lucy Stevenson’s life is upended by a phone call from a man who informs her his wife is having an affair with her husband Jake. They agree to stay together...
The solace of the strange

The solace of the strange

As the threat of a global pandemic grew and when we finally went into lockdown, something happened to our dreams. Telephone conversations, social media posts, virtual meet-ups became places to express the strange effect the virus was having on our subconscious sleeping states. For a while, I’m having the weirdest dreams, seemed to be the...
Boneland

Boneland

He plunged his rigid shaft directly into her moist centre, like a mighty sword of faith thrust into the heart of an unbeliever… ‘We’re nearly out of toilet paper. Is there any more?’ Jamie came into the kitchen, still in his pyjamas, yawning, and scratching at his belly in a half-hearted manner. ‘Check in the...
Misfiring love

Misfiring love

I’m really not a big romance fan, but I have to admit I do love a bad romance. Here are some of the fictional relationships that have stayed with me since first encounters – some troubled, some problematic, and some downright bizarre – from my formative years up to more recent times.   Manhattan, written...
Nicolasito

Nicolasito

Tío Eliécer had owned the bluff until the seventies, when he divided it into four lots and put them up for sale. He had raised Damaris, because the man who got her mother pregnant – a soldier doing his military service in the region – abandoned her when she got knocked up, and in order...
Avni Doshi: Mother and daughter

Avni Doshi: Mother and daughter

Avni Doshi’s debut novel Burnt Sugar, longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize immediately prior to UK publication, is a compelling exploration of the ties that bind a mother and her daughter, and of an irreconcilable longing for self-expression in both of them that signifies betrayal. As a young woman, Tara abandoned her loveless marriage to...