“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 "UK"
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...
The seductive spark of danger

The seductive spark of danger

I still remember the awe and unease I felt as a child at the arrival of the wrecking machines in Barbapapa’s New House, a brilliant but unnerving picture book by Annette Tison and Talus Taylor that channelled the urban alienation of its time. And, with his “terrible teeth and terrible claws”, Maurice Sendak has surely...
Alex North: An intriguing game

Alex North: An intriguing game

It was just a silly game to start with. Paul never dreamed that Charlie would take it so far. Never thought it would end in murder… Twenty years later, Paul is trying to put his past behind him. But now his mother is dying, and he can’t run any longer. But home isn’t just full...
Rosa Rankin-Gee: Planet Thanet

Rosa Rankin-Gee: Planet Thanet

Rosa Rankin-Gee’s widely acclaimed second novel Dreamland is a thrilling and tender portrait of a disenfranchised community in a near-future Margate ravaged by climate change and economic collapse. With the seaside town’s now-defunct amusement park as a backdrop, she deftly tackles the political and personal landscape of financial disparity, poor housing, extremism, the climate crisis...
Mark Edwards: Proverbial needle, proverbial haystack

Mark Edwards: Proverbial needle, proverbial haystack

In No Place to Run’s opening sequence, Francesca Gilbert is seventy-five years old, mourning the recent loss of a husband, and six hundred miles into her train journey home. Dawn is breaking across a clearing in a Northern California forest when Francesca sees a young woman with “vivid auburn hair” being chased by a man....
Unheld conversations

Unheld conversations

Just before my second novel, Belladonna, was published in 2020, I gave each of my parents an advance proof copy. They had both read my first book at a much earlier stage in the publishing process, when I was still working on edits. This time, the novel was just weeks away from being made available...
Grace Paley: 'Goodbye and Good Luck'

Grace Paley: ‘Goodbye and Good Luck’

I was fortunate enough to see Grace Paley speak. It was back in 2003 or thereabouts at the Small Wonder Festival at Charleston. I think it might have been the first time the festival, which celebrates the wonder of short stories (the clue’s in the title), had taken place. Grace Paley had been due to...
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,...
One man's trash

One man’s trash

Pick up your average celebrity memoir and you’re almost certain to find it dressed up in one of two ways. Some stars punctuate their life stories with matt black-and-white photos, neatly arranged over chapter headings or between sections. The more sensationalist among them choose the ‘16-Page Full-Colour Insert!’ (capitals and exclamation mark mandatory), helpfully collating...
Ten commandments for happy writing

Ten commandments for happy writing

Eve Ainsworth’s debut adult novel Duckling tells the story of a young woman called Lucy (a.k.a. Duckling) who keeps herself to herself on a towering housing estate. Lucy’s daily routines are interrupted when a new neighbour asks her to look after her little girl for a couple of hours – but doesn’t come back. Suddenly...