“I wish I had a more reliable way of figuring out how to write. It’s all just intuition and waking dreams.” – Robbie Arnott
Posts tagged "women"
Pompeii, poverty, power and purpose

Pompeii, poverty, power and purpose

In early September, Elodie Harper’s The Wolf Den (May 2021), already shortlisted in the Pageturner category of the British Book Awards, was announced as the winner of the 2022 Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award. The novel, the first in a trilogy, follows the fortunes of Amara, a once-beloved daughter who has lived as a slave...
Rijula Das: The constant smallness of being

Rijula Das: The constant smallness of being

Set in Calcutta’s notorious red-light district Sonagachi, Rijula Das’s debut Small Deaths resists lazy stereotypes. Years of research have provided Das with an intimate understanding of the power dynamics at play between the madams, pimps and police, and how their often-cruel manoeuvrings have devastating consequences for the endless stream of girls and young women trafficked...
Groundbreaking women

Groundbreaking women

What does it mean to break ground? To make an incision in soil so that building can begin or, more loosely, a reference to genius or creative prowess – some kind of innovation. What does it connote for the female body, given it’s a rare woman that hasn’t been told to lie down on the...
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...
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...
Frances Cha: Face to face

Frances Cha: Face to face

Frances Cha’s bold and unsettling debut novel If I Had Your Face tells the story of four young women attempting to navigate present-day Seoul. Kyuri is a not-entirely-natural ‘room salon’ beauty whose yearning for a true relationship with a wealthy client threatens her work and status; Kyuri’s flatmate Miho is an orphan who won a...
Kyuri

Kyuri

My mother calls me hyo-nyeo – filial daughter – and strokes my hair with so much love it breaks my heart. But sometimes, she has spells when she shakes with anger towards me. “There is no greater sorrow than not getting married!” she says. “The thought of you alone in life, no children, that is...
Tishani Doshi: Shifting tides

Tishani Doshi: Shifting tides

 There is nothing small about Tishani Doshi’s tightly wrought second novel Small Days and Nights – just as there is nothing small about India. Whether writing about its people, the scale of the challenges facing a country of epic unequal proportions, or simply describing the natural world on a wild strip of beach, Doshi...
Fatima Bhutto: Lost hearts and souls

Fatima Bhutto: Lost hearts and souls

Fatima Bhutto’s second novel The Runaways is a provocative, astute and ever-timely exploration of what makes three young people in Pakistan and England reject the society that raised them and sign up to the war against the West. Anita, growing up in a sprawling Karachi slum, aims to better herself with book learning but finds...
Leïla Slimani: We are all monsters

Leïla Slimani: We are all monsters

 Leïla Slimani has been in huge demand on the global literary circuit since winning the Prix Goncourt in 2016 with her second novel Chanson douce, which was published in English last year as Lullaby (and in the US as The Perfect Nanny), translated by Sam Taylor. A worldwide bestseller, it opens with the double...
Isabella Beeton and beating impostor syndrome

Isabella Beeton and beating impostor syndrome

Ah, impostor syndrome – pernicious underminer of talented people everywhere. No matter how brilliant your marks are, no matter what professional coups you pull off, deep down inside you believe all compliments are lies, and that you are only one mistake from being ‘found out’. Infuriatingly, it’s the talentless meatheads lacking an iota of charisma...