Tag: fiction

A review of The Leaves by Jacqueline Rule

Jacqueline Rule makes good use of her legal experience in Luke’s story, which is tragic, spotlighting just how broken the foster system he ends up cycling through is, or how brutal the legal detention system, and the way in which it traumatises rather than helps the young people caught in it.

A review of Perfume by Patrick Süskind

Süskind’s dark taste in comedy and clever use of logic permeate every page. Jean-Baptiste’s skill as a perfumer making camouflage, shadowing and eventually murder all possible with a few drops of a home-made fragrance. Like all superhero films or books one fantasises of having said superpower and the fantastical, god-like things one could do with it.

A review of Thieves by Valerie Werder

Ostensibly Thieves is Valerie’s coming-of-age as she works through and try to escape the constraints of her upbringing and the world in which she lives. The story appears progress in more or less linear ways, however, there is a recursiveness that functions almost as a Möbius strip where time loops around itself and the endpoint of the work is not so much Valerie’s transition as the work itself. 

A review of Well Dressed Lies by Carrie Hayes

The writing in Well Dressed Lies is wonderfully well done at an intelligent level and with a formal tone that fits the time, place, and circumstances of the story. The language is rich, pleasing, and in places, appropriately lyrical. World-building is superb—with the English weather, streets, countryside, and architect so well drawn as to make readers feel like they are there. Seemingly small details add realism and appeal to the novel.

A review of Serengotti by Eugen Bacon

Ch’anzu’s narrative arc drives the novel forward, as does a mystery that begins to unfold in the the strange confines of the dreamlike village. Through this story, Ch’anzu begins to explore hir own background, trauma and ghosts, that become part of the app being created, self-reflexively looping back to the creative unfolding that the reader is experiencing. 

A review of The Swift Dark Tide by Katia Ariel

There is a clear narrative arc that drives the reading forward quickly, but the writing is so sensual and languid that it creates a resistance to that progression. So much transformation happens in the gaps between the action – looking at the ocean, in the silent space of memory, in a moment after birth while looking into a newborn’s face, or even small moments of mindfulness such as noticing the pure green of a paediatrician’s jumper, or a seaweed crown “mossy garlands the circumference of an adult head” floating on the surface of the water.

A review of Ivan and Phoebe by Oksana Lutsyshyna

The language of the novel is captivating and Lutsyshyna creates deep characters and vivid storyline twists while unlocking her talent as a perceptive poet. Lutsyshyna’s depictions of nature landscapes are truly prose poetry.

A review of One Day We’re All Going to Die by Elise Esther Hearst

Deceptively easy to read, One day we’re all going to die is a rich, complex book that encompasses family and connection, friendships, privilege, survival in the face of inherited trauma, Judaism, culture, modern life, and the healing power of creativity.  If that seems like a lot, it doesn’t feel like it.  Hearst handles it all with ease, and the book is a light-hearted joy.  

A review of Ravage & Son by Jerome Charyn

The grim urban setting of Ravage & Son, its violence, cast of criminals from all classes, and atmosphere of pessimism and disillusionment are characteristics of the noir genre.  In Charyn’s story, we see a promising youth who was given the chance to make something of himself in the world’s terms, yet chooses a different course for several reasons and eventually is defeated by the milieu he sought to clean up.