“Deep curiosity, deep listening, that’s what we have to give to each other. Reading is a form of deep listening, isn’t it? Staying with something, and being affected by it." Maggie Gee
Posts tagged "Bloomsbury"
The why, not the what

The why, not the what

Unless I’m mistaken, a riot is about to break out in the departure lounge of the Lagos Domestic Airport. ‘Someone should at least tell us what’s going on!’ an irate passenger barks into the face of an unruffled airline staff member, spraying her with spit. Good luck with that, I think from where I sit...
Samira Sedira: The makings of a murder

Samira Sedira: The makings of a murder

French-Algerian author and actress Samira Sedira’s People Like Them, her first novel to be translated into English, is a fictional retelling of a real-life multiple murder in a mountain village in Haute-Savoie, in which a recently arrived wealthy black property developer, his white wife and their three young children were brutally killed by a neighbour....
Louise Kennedy: Marks on the ground

Louise Kennedy: Marks on the ground

Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award in both 2019 and 2020, and the recipient of many earlier awards, Louise Kennedy has become a leading light in Irish storytelling. Having worked mostly as a chef for thirty years, she began writing at the age of 47 in 2014, and has since completed an...
Lisa Harding: Lost lives found

Lisa Harding: Lost lives found

Sonya, Tommy, Herbie and Marmie. These four characters have embedded themselves into my psyche. The last time I cared so deeply about the fate of fictional creations was with Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. Where Yanagihara’s doorstopper spanned decades in the lives of four men, Lisa Harding’s blisteringly brilliant novel Bright Burning Things takes place within...
Starting over

Starting over

Kololo Hill by Neema Shah (Picador, 18 February) starts with Idi Amin’s declaration that all Asians must leave Uganda within 90 days. What follows is one family’s fear, sadness and the uprooting of their whole life. Jaya and Motiband moved to Uganda from India and have built up a successful life and business along with...
Lucy Jago: Making a stink

Lucy Jago: Making a stink

Lucy Jago’s A Net for Small Fishes is a captivating story of female friendship and solidarity amid a scandal that rocked the court of James I. It is narrated by 30-something Anne Turner, a doctor’s wife and mother of six with a talent for fashion and a patent for saffron dye, which she uses to...
Fiction at work

Fiction at work

‘Workplace’ is a vague, literal term. It’s too broad to conjure an image, though it might summon a feeling. (For some: not here again, for others: here we go!). Nowadays my workplace is also my dinner table, the place where I wrapped Christmas presents I’m yet to give. But old, paused office life was fertile,...
Journeys of the mind

Journeys of the mind

From the strange workings of the brain, life in a care home in France, to the privileged girls of a boarding school in America via a trip to Bosnia to face up to the past, there is plenty for you to lose yourself in as 2021 cranks into gear. With Delphine de Vigan a cult...
Rumaan Alam: This is how civilisation ends

Rumaan Alam: This is how civilisation ends

“I woke up this morning and the world already feels safer!” declared a friend on Facebook the day after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris swept to victory in the US election. Hah! Wait till you read Leave the World Behind, I thought, perhaps a little too sceptically, you’ll soon change your tune. If this suggests...
Before the beginning of years

Before the beginning of years

A chorus from Swinburne’s 1865 play Atalanta in Calydon was once an almost self-standing poetic topos, the expression perhaps of a particular moment in the progression of the human psyche – or of the temporal course of eternity, to fiddle with T.S. Eliot’s famous take on the pastness of the past and its presence. Before...