Reviewer: LS

By this author

Books January 28, 2017

Difficult Women

For the 1891 edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde included a preface addressing the personal criticism his work had received. “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That …

Books December 17, 2016


If you like clear classifications, Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett is not your kind of book. Is it a novel? A loosely linked collection of stories, with poetical fragments? Or something else entirely? Of course it doesn’t actually matter what …

Books November 26, 2016


The protagonist of Josephine Wilson’s award-winning novel Extinctions is Professor Frederick Lothian, a retired widowed academic and international expert on concrete and bridges. As a consulting engineer, he travelled the world advising on …

Books November 05, 2016

The Dark Flood Rises

Back in 2009, Margaret Drabble announced her retirement from fiction writing because, as quoted in The Guardian, “the line between writing and remembering and thinking is  more blurred for me than it used to be”. Since then, she’s published …

Books October 01, 2016

The Good People

The second novel, according to Stephen Fry, is “an act of professional writing. That is why it is so much more difficult.” Difficult second novel syndrome becomes even more acute when the debut work is an award-winning, internationally published …

Books September 24, 2016


If public holidays were declared on the release of a new Ann Patchett novel, I’d have been sacked less often. Her latest, Commonwealth, hasn’t helped my productivity any. It’s another masterpiece that might well be her best yet. Commonwealth

Books August 27, 2016

Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil

Is there anything Melina Marchetta can’t do? The acclaimed writer of young adult novels tries her hand at crime fiction in her latest, Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil. Marchetta’s protagonist, Chief Inspector Bish Ortley of the London Met, …

Books August 13, 2016

The Summer That Melted Everything

It can’t be easy for a debut novelist to swim against the tide of Ferrante-esque realism. Minimalist prose is in fashion, as are elegant, pared sentences workshopped in MFA programs with great care. Tiffany McDaniel’s debut, The Summer That …

Books June 25, 2016

Wood Green

In her 2011 review of David Foster Wallace’s posthumous, unfinished The Pale King – a novel about the tedium of American life, set in a tax office – Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times sums up the dangers of metafiction. “Not …