books

books June 22, 2019

Crossings

Metempsychosis, or the transmigration of the soul, usually happens after death, when the consciousness and memories of an individual are transported into the body of another. If you believe that sort of thing. It is also a handy, if well-trodden,...

books June 22, 2019

A Novel Idea

In her work as a performance artist, Fiona McGregor is no stranger to physical and psychological endurance, often sitting uncomfortably still for hours on end. However, it is the more challenging act of endurance – writing a novel – that she...

books June 22, 2019

The White Girl

In critical appraisals of Tony Birch’s fiction, certain adjectives appear again and again. Of the prose: “spare”, “concise”, “uncluttered”; the characters “vivid” and rendered with “compassion”. Perhaps it is true that good novels, like Tolstoy’s...

books June 15, 2019

This Excellent Machine

About a third of the way through This Excellent Machine , its teenage protagonist, Clem, finds himself in a cafe on the wrong side of town. This is a place where the footpaths are black, because “they’d waited too long to hose down the vomit”. Where...

books June 15, 2019

Intimate Antipathies

Luke Carman, you ask? I imagine him up there on his mountain at the end of the line where it’s always the proverbial dark and stormy night, languishing in a monkish cell, tap, tap, tapping away at a block of old acrimony as he dreams up his revenges...

books June 15, 2019

Faber & Faber: The Untold Story

Faber & Faber always looked like the class act of British publishing. You could tell their paperbacks were just hardbacks slumming it – they even had the same superior paper and on top of that there was the myth of T. S. Eliot as the far-seeing...

books June 15, 2019

Author Meg Wolitzer

Talking The Wife, The Female Persuasion and the female gaze with novelist Meg Wolitzer.

books June 8, 2019

Everything in Its Place

It’s not hard to see why Oliver Sacks captivated the world. The great neurologist – whose case histories in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat could almost have been science fiction had they not been so crystalline and so compassionate – was a...

books June 8, 2019

Little Boy

Little Boy is ostensibly a fictional memoir whose broad details follow the life of its author, the poet and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Born in 1919, Ferlinghetti co-founded San Francisco bookstore City Lights, which also published many...

books June 8, 2019

The Subjects

Why are dystopias more popular than utopias? The growing genre of cli-fi, for instance, is almost universally pessimistic, and the TV phenomenon of The Handmaid’s Tale will continue to air its nightmares in a third series. And why, even when we...

books June 1, 2019

Griffith Review 64: The New Disruptors

A disruptive student is a teacher’s nightmare. A disruption in normal programming can signal very bad news. But the meaning of the word “disruption”, with its traditionally negative connotations, has itself been disrupted. According to the...