Reviewer: AF

By this author

Books July 18, 2015

Last Day in the Dynamite Factory

[TOC:ul In this story] In a brief essay on Franz Kafka published in 1951, the Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges mounted a characteristically perverse argument. He wrote that “each new writer creates his precursors”. But what sounds insane at first …

Books July 04, 2015

Archipelago of Souls

[TOC:ul In this story] When Evelyn Waugh’s unit steamed into Crete’s Souda Bay in May of 1941, they found a rough approximation of hell. The English writer saw a harbour choked with the masts and funnels of sunken vessels, some of them still smoking. …

Books June 13, 2015

Forever Young

[TOC:ul In this story] Forever Young is a suitably ironic title for a book about growing inexorably away from our earlier selves. Its cover image of an old tree, gnarled and blasted sideways by prevailing winds, suggests as much: actually we …

Books May 30, 2015

Girl at War

[TOC:ul In this story] In the second part of Cervantes’ Don Quixote, a character famously observes that there is no book so bad that some good may not be found in it. That notion is tested by Girl at War. Sara Nović’s debut arrives …

Books May 02, 2015

All Involved

[TOC:ul In this story] On the night of March 3, 1991, George Holliday, woken by police sirens, looked down from his Lake View Terrace, Los Angeles, apartment to see a group of LAPD officers attempting to subdue the driver of a car following a high-speed …

Books April 25, 2015


[TOC:ul In this story] It is hard not to love a novel that depicts its teenaged anti-hero perched atop a toilet block roof in the small hours of a “stormwater blue” Sydney night, holding a Chiko Roll up to the moon’s glow as though it once belonged …

Books February 28, 2015

The Anchoress

[TOC:ul In this story] Incorrigibly plural in its attentions, inherently secular in its scepticism, the novel is a form unamenable to exploring the closed systems of religious belief. As Milan Kundera once put it, religion “can cope with the novel …

Books January 31, 2015

The Illuminations

[TOC:ul In this story] Just as a careful reading of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina will (among other things, admittedly) yield the recipe for raspberry cognac jam, Andrew O’Hagan’s fifth novel – and, along with the exquisitely melancholic Be …

Books December 20, 2014

Books 2014 #1

Selections from a year in print. Best New Talent, Guilty Pleasure, Most Overrated, Most Unwelcome.