“When you are a latecomer, outsider, immigrant, exile, there are fractures in your life that you can’t heal… I have a lot of respect for people that have stayed behind and have to deal with the wounds every day.” Elif Shafak
Posts tagged "UK"
Mystery, magic and treasured memories

Mystery, magic and treasured memories

In Sally Hinchcliffe’s bewitching new novel Hare House, a woman decides to leave London when she loses her teaching job, and moves to a remote part of southwest Scotland. Renting a cottage on a scattered estate, she strikes up a friendship with her landlord Grant and his beguiling sister Cassandra. Soon she begins to realise...
A ghost of Christmas, present

A ghost of Christmas, present

The smell hits me as Gary closes the door behind me. Some Scratch ’n’ Sniff abomination – I’d call it ‘December 1983’, but I’m damned if I know what it actually is. “It’s frankincense,” Gary says. “Off a display at Bed Bath & Beyond. Little spray bottle. Heh.” He shrugs. “Guess I got trigger-happy.” “Apparently,” I...
Hope Street and beyond

Hope Street and beyond

Even though the majority of Circles a Clover is set on an island that doesn’t really exist called Selny, part of it is set in Liverpool. I grew up in Liverpool and the city has always been something that pulled on me, told me to make it a character in my writing. To be honest,...
Old news: the origins of originality

Old news: the origins of originality

The ancient Greeks are old news to us, or so we appear to be claiming. For some, at this very specific moment in time, they are not just antiquated, or relegated to the shades of oblivion, they are practically obsolescent, an existential black hole, even a socio-political and ethical-historical anathema. The question of the Greeks...
Armand D'Angour: A classically philosophical life?

Armand D’Angour: A classically philosophical life?

There are books that leave you silent – with awe, or shock, or both. And then there are some others that make you yearn for the space in between silence and voice: for a space for more of the author’s thoughts, a space for questions, for engaged and engaging exchanges. Armand d’Angour’s books belong to...
A mattress

A mattress

My fiction comes from voices; voices that I hear, and then do my best to transcribe. The voice that follows, which comes from the second story in Address Book, turned out to be a really tricky one to get down. Basically, that’s because going back to the 1980s is still very hard for me. There...
Imagining an island

Imagining an island

While fine-tuning my fourth novel, Missing, I started thinking about my fifth. In the Scottish Borders, fact-checking my references to Hawick, I mentioned to the friend with whom we were staying that I was thinking of setting my next novel somewhere totally fictional, somewhere superficially familiar but with local customs and minor rules that would...
Lockdown drawings

Lockdown drawings

In March 2020, as the coronavirus took hold and lockdowns were imposed around the world, author and illustrator Edward Carey published a sketch of ‘a determined young man’ on social media, with a plan to keep posting a drawing a day until life returned to normal. One hundred and fifty pencil stubs later, he was...
Cuckoo

Cuckoo

At first, I thought that old devil of a back problem had returned to haunt me. I assumed the position – lay down, knees up, feet flat on the floor. Unlike Martha, I’m not one for the dramatic, but I did text her to come back ASAP. My no-longer-little niece, Alex, was sat beside me...
Elif Shafak: Time to reconnect

Elif Shafak: Time to reconnect

Elif Shafak’s richly evocative, elegantly crafted novel The Island of Missing Trees transports readers between 1970s Cyprus and 21st–century London in a cross-generational saga of passion, trauma, memory and renewal. Greek Cypriot Kostas and Turkish Cypriot Defne fall in love as teenagers in the divided city of Nicosia in 1974, meeting undercover in the back...