"To write anything worth reading you have to put everything you have into every sentence. There can be no lazy thinking, no clichés, no borrowed tropes, no third-hand experience; there can be no hiding.” Miranda Darling
Posts tagged "debut"
Roughly organised, somewhat scattered

Roughly organised, somewhat scattered

Cecile Pin’s exceptional debut novel Wandering Souls is a beautiful and haunting look at the plight of Vietnamese refugees in 1970s France. Partly based on her mother’s experience of coming to the country as a refugee, it’s about identity, loss and trying to find a feeling of belonging – a very human picture of the sacrifices and...
The truth about lies

The truth about lies

My novel Berlin features a so-called unreliable narrator. Daphne misleads the reader, lies to others and to herself. Early readers have pegged her as a toxic compulsive liar. But I don’t think she is exceptionally unreliable. Instead, I believe fictional characters and real people tend to exaggerate the extent to which they are honest with...
Plain shelves and glittering prose

Plain shelves and glittering prose

William Friend’s debut novel Black Mamba is a chilling tale of hauntings, fatherhood, sexual attraction and the taboos of grief. Since his wife Pippa died suddenly nine months ago, Alfie has been struggling to look after their twin daughters. When they tell him one night there’s a man that comes to them in their room,...
Mixed up by design

Mixed up by design

The disappearance of three lighthouse keepers from an island in the Outer Hebrides in 1900, which became known as the Flannan Isles Vanishing, inspired Emma Stonex’ debut novel The Lamplighters. How and why did three men just disappear? The mystery has never been solved, and it’s been great fodder for films and books ever since....
Upwards and sideways

Upwards and sideways

Daphne Palasi Andreades’ stunning debut novel Brown Girls (Fourth Estate, 3 February 2022) is a vibrant and poetic look at the lives of women of colour growing up in modern America. Told in vignettes, we meet a collective group of girls from different immigrant backgrounds finding their way in today’s society. On a single block...
Truth or dare

Truth or dare

My name is Fatima Daas. I write stories so I don’t have to live my own. I’m twelve years old when I go on a school trip to Budapest. Everyone gathers in the evening to go over the itinerary. Right after dinner, in a big room where there’s no network. Impossible to connect to MSN...
What are you playing at?

What are you playing at?

What is the opposite of a game? Work? Reality? Real life? Read the books on this list and you’ll be even less certain. From a teacher lured into a game of make-believe (or is it?) on a Greek island, to the S&M mind games of The Image, to Professor Johan Huizinga’s seminal Homo Ludens, the...
The Curious Rise of Alex Lazarus and its curious evolution

The Curious Rise of Alex Lazarus and its curious evolution

If you had asked the eight-year-old me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you I fancied serving in the army or being an accountant like my father. Indeed, I was obsessed that he had a drinks cabinet built into his office desk, which seemed the epitome of sophistication. Of...
Brenda Navarro: Beyond motherhood

Brenda Navarro: Beyond motherhood

Brenda Navarro’s evocative and powerful novel Empty Houses explores the pain of losing a child, the social impositions of motherhood, and the plight of Mexico’s disappeared and economically disadvantaged. It opens with the voice of a distraught mother whose autistic three-year-old boy Daniel is snatched away from her in a Mexico City park as she...
Karla Neblett: Angry love

Karla Neblett: Angry love

Karla Neblett’s hugely impressive debut novel King of Rabbits is a vividly realised story about a resourceful, sensitive and imaginative boy from a mixed-race, blended family on a Somerset council estate. Kai’s mum is transitioning from heavy drinking to addiction to crack cocaine, which she is led into by his father, who feeds his own...
Emma Stonex: Illuminating the dark

Emma Stonex: Illuminating the dark

In 1900, three lighthouse keepers on a Hebridean island disappeared without a trace. The theories surrounding the bizarre and enduring mystery inspired Emma Stonex to reimagine their story with a fictional spin. The Lamplighters is a story of three lighthousemen and the women in their lives, told from the differing perspectives of each character. Arthur,...
Settlers and shenanigans

Settlers and shenanigans

The nineteenth century was the century of cities. Across the planet, their number and size mushroomed in the biggest urban expansion in history. London’s population grew between 1800 and 1900 from one million to seven million, making it far and away the largest city in the world. Even so, it was in the USA where...