Fiction

For Glasgow – with love and squalor: The Second Cut, by Louise Welsh, reviewed

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Never, never kill the dog. It’s rule one in the crime writer’s manual. Cats are bad enough, as I can…

A tale of love and grim determination: Zorrie, by Laird Hunt, reviewed

22 January 2022 9:00 am

When Zorrie Underwood, the titular character in Laird Hunt’s deeply touching novel about an Indiana farm woman, is pregnant, a…

The dark story behind Bambi, the book Hitler banned

22 January 2022 9:00 am

The extent of Walt Disney’s grasp of the natural world remains unclear. After the Austrian author Felix Salten sold the…

Confused lives: It’s Getting Dark, by Peter Stamm, reviewed

22 January 2022 9:00 am

The Swiss writer Peter Stamm’s inscrutable, alienated outsiders make bizarre choices to escape stifling mundanity. Their discontent suggests malaise, something…

Gay and abandoned: A Previous Life, by Edmund White, reviewed

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Edmund White’s new novel opens, somewhat improbably, in 2050. This imagined future, however, springs few surprises on the reader and…

A topsy-turvy world: Peaces, by Helen Oyeyemi, reviewed

15 January 2022 9:00 am

At a village train station in deepest Kent two men and their pet mongoose are setting off on their honeymoon.…

A cursed place: Small Things Like These, by Claire Keegan, reviewed

15 January 2022 9:00 am

Claire Keegan’s tiny, cataclysmic novel takes us into the heart of small-town Ireland a few decades ago, creating a world…

A late fling: Free Love, by Tessa Hadley, reviewed

15 January 2022 9:00 am

Tessa Hadley is the queen of the portentous evening, the pregnant light and the carefully composed life unwittingly waiting to…

Variations on a theme: To Paradise, by Hanya Yanagihara, reviewed

15 January 2022 9:00 am

My daunting brief: to tell you about Hanya Yanagihara and her new, uncategorisable 720-page novel in 550 words. It’s the…

A book trade romp: Sour Grapes, by Dan Rhodes, reviewed

11 December 2021 9:00 am

Dan Rhodes’s career might be regarded as an object lesson in How Not to Get Ahead in Publishing. Our man…

Lost in the fog: The Fell, by Sarah Moss, reviewed

11 December 2021 9:00 am

Novelists are leery about letting the buzzwords of recent history into their books. The immediate past threatens to upstage the…

A broken nation: Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth, by Wole Soyinka, reviewed

4 December 2021 9:00 am

One of the best episodes in Wole Soyinka’s third novel (his first since 1973) takes place not in Nigeria but…

A feast for geeks: The Making of Incarnation, by Tom McCarthy, reviewed

27 November 2021 9:00 am

Since the publication of his debut, Remainder, Tom McCarthy has established himself as the Christopher Nolan of literary fiction: his…

More penny dreadful than Dickensian: Lily, by Rose Tremain, reviewed

20 November 2021 9:00 am

Rose Tremain’s 15th novel begins with a favoured schmaltzy image of high Victoriana: it is a night (if not dark…

Satire misfires: Our Country Friends, by Gary Shteyngart, reviewed

20 November 2021 9:00 am

It is, as you’ve possibly noticed, a tricky time for old-school American liberals, now caught between increasingly extreme versions of…

Defying the tech giants: The Every, by Dave Eggers, reviewed

13 November 2021 9:00 am

Those for whom Dave Eggers’s name evokes only his much praised memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000) may…

A wife for King Lear — J.R. Thorp imagines another Lady Macbeth

6 November 2021 9:00 am

Shakespeare wastes no time on Lear’s backstory; we meet the brutal old autocrat as he divides his kingdom between two…

Love in a cold climate: Snow Country, by Sebastian Faulks, reviewed

6 November 2021 9:00 am

In the months before the outbreak of the first world war, Anton Heideck arrives in Vienna. Family life offered him…

A master of spy fiction to the end — John Le Carré’s Silverview reviewed

23 October 2021 9:00 am

Literary estates work to preserve a writer’s reputation — and sometimes milk it too. The appearance of this novel by…

God is everywhere, sometimes in strange guises, in Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads

23 October 2021 9:00 am

Twenty years ago The Corrections alerted a troubled world to the talents of Jonathan Franzen. Though cruel and funny and…

Reassess every relationship you’ve ever had before it’s too late

16 October 2021 9:00 am

‘Reading is a celebration of the mystery of ourselves,’ according to Elizabeth Strout, who writes to help readers understand themselves…

Fiction’s most famous Rifleman returns — and it’s miraculous he’s still alive

9 October 2021 9:00 am

It has been 15 years since the last Richard Sharpe novel, and it’s a pleasure to report that fiction’s most…

Only time will tell if there’ll be a Great Pandemic Novel

9 October 2021 9:00 am

We had been dreading it like (forgive me) the plague: the inevitable onslaught of corona-lit. Fortunately, the first few titles…

Unkindly light: The Morning Star, by Karl Ove Knausgaard, reviewed

2 October 2021 9:00 am

Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle sequence is one of this century’s great projects: an intimate epic in which the overriding…

Mind games: the blurred line between fact and fiction

2 October 2021 9:00 am

Readers of Case Study unfamiliar with its author’s previous work might believe they have stumbled on a great psychotherapy scandal.…