Fiction

Dangerous liaisons: Bad Eminence, by James Greer, reviewed

2 July 2022 9:00 am

Vanessa Salomon is an internationally successful translator. Clever, beautiful, privileged – ‘born in a trilingual household: French, English and money’…

An immorality tale: Lapvona, by Ottessa Moshfegh, reviewed

25 June 2022 9:00 am

Has there been a better novel this century than Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation? There might not…

Connecticut connections: A Little Hope, by Ethan Joella, reviewed

18 June 2022 9:00 am

A Little Hope, Ethan Joella’s debut novel, is about the lives of a dozen or so ordinary people who live…

Women behaving badly: Ghost Lover, by Lisa Taddeo, reviewed

11 June 2022 9:00 am

Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women established her as a narrator of female desire in all its complexity. Her study of three…

A twist on the American classic: The Sidekick, by Benjamin Markovits, reviewed

4 June 2022 9:00 am

On the cover of The Sidekick, just below a broken basketball hoop, a quote from Jonathan Lethem suggests Benjamin Markovits…

Too close to home: Nonfiction, by Julie Myerson, reviewed

4 June 2022 9:00 am

Julie Myerson has, somewhat confusingly, written a novel called Nonfiction. The confusion of course is the point, because this is…

A flawed utopia: The Men, by Sandra Newman, reviewed

4 June 2022 9:00 am

The problem for feminism is men. Not, specifically, in the sense that men are the source of women’s problems, although…

A child’s eye view: Fight Night, by Miriam Toews, reviewed

28 May 2022 9:00 am

Writing from a child’s point of view is a daredevil act that Miriam Toews raises the stakes on in her…

The real Norfolk: Stewkey Blues, by D.J. Taylor, reviewed

28 May 2022 9:00 am

D.J. Taylor is a Norfolk native who, un-usually, has stayed put. These stories, written during the pandemic, are all set…

Life’s great dilemma: Either/Or, by Elif Batuman, reviewed

28 May 2022 9:00 am

In this delightful sequel to her semi-autobiographical novel The Idiot (2017), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Elif…

Travels in time and space: Sea of Tranquility, by Emily St. John Mandel, reviewed

21 May 2022 9:00 am

It’s a bold writer who confronts a major historical moment such as a pandemic before it’s over, but Emily St.…

Snafu at Slough House: Bad Actors, by Mick Herron, reviewed

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Reviewers who make fancy claims for genre novels tend to sound like needy show-offs or hard-of-thinking dolts. So be it:…

A bitter sectarian divide: Young Mungo, by Douglas Stuart, reviewed

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Douglas Stuart has a rare gift. The Scottish writer, whose debut novel Shuggie Bain deservedly won the 2020 Booker Prize,…

Messy family matters: Bad Relations, by Cressida Connolly, reviewed

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Cressida Connolly’s new novel begins with a couple of endings. It’s spring 1855, and on the battlefields of the Crimea…

Patterns in the grass: The Perfect Golden Circle, by Benjamin Myers, reviewed

14 May 2022 9:00 am

The Perfect Golden Circle is ostensibly about male friendship. Two men, flotsam of the 1980s – Calvert, a Falklands veteran,…

A visit from Neanderthals: The Red Children, by Maggie Gee, reviewed

7 May 2022 9:00 am

This is the kind of novel that will be discussed jubilantly in the book clubs of places like Lib Dem…

Murder, suicide and apocalypse: Here Goes Nothing, by Steve Toltz, reviewed

30 April 2022 9:00 am

Angus Mooney is dead. Freshly murdered, he’s appalled to find himself in an Afterworld, having always rejected the possibility of…

Momentous decisions: Ruth & Pen, by Emilie Pine, reviewed

30 April 2022 9:00 am

Emilie Pine writes about the big things and the little things: friendship, love, fertility, grief; waking, showering, catching the bus.…

Boy wonder: The Young Pretender, by Michael Arditti, reviewed

30 April 2022 9:00 am

During his brief stage career Master Betty, or the Young Roscius, was no stranger to superlatives: genius, unparalleled, superior, Albion’s…

Memory test: The Candy House, by Jennifer Egan, reviewed

23 April 2022 9:00 am

On page 231 of The Candy House, a sequel – no, a ‘sibling’ says Jennifer Egan – to the Pulitzer…

A tale of forbidden love: Trespasses, by Louise Kennedy, reviewed

23 April 2022 9:00 am

Kenneth Branagh’s Oscar-winning recent film Belfast chronicles the travails of a Protestant family amid sectarian conflict in 1969. Louise Kennedy’s…

Seeing and being seen: Wet Paint, by Chloë Ashby, reviewed

16 April 2022 9:00 am

In this arresting debut novel we follow 26-year-old Eve as she tries to come to terms with the loss of…

An inspirational teacher: Elizabeth Finch, by Julian Barnes, reviewed

9 April 2022 9:00 am

‘Whenever you see a character in a novel, let alone a biography or history book, reduced and neatened into three…

Zimbabwe’s politics satirised: Glory, by NoViolet Bulawayo, reviewed

2 April 2022 9:00 am

NoViolet Bulawayo’s first novel We Need New Names,shortlisted for the Booker in 2013, was a charming, tender gem, suffused with…

The parent snatchers: The School for Good Mothers, by Jessamine Chan, reviewed

2 April 2022 9:00 am

Frida Liu, the 39-year-old mother of a toddler named Harriet, has a very bad day which will haunt her for…