fri 27/11/2020

fiction

Another Round review – delight and despair

You can practically smell the fumes coming off Thomas Vinterberg’s latest drama Another Round, known in Denmark simply as "Druk". Co-written with Tobias Lindholm, the story is anchored in a theory proposed by Finn Skårderud that humans have a blood...

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Andrey Kurkov: Grey Bees review - light Ukrainian odyssey, with bite

This time, the Ukrainian author of Death and the Penguin, known for his brilliantly dark humour, has written a modern-day odyssey, with a return that is ambiguously hopeful. Grey Bees follows a year in the life of Sergey Sergeyich, a retired...

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Jenny Hval: Girls Against God review - a sticky dance through space and time

Jenny Hval’s Girls Against God covers every angsty young woman’s favourite subjects. Witchcraft, heavy metal, viscera, and hatred. It’s a book in the grand tradition of Kathy Acker and women surrealists everywhere, dancing through space and...

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LFF 2020: Nomadland review - Francis McDormand gives a career-defining performance

Chloé Zhao’s The Rider was a film of rare honesty and beauty. Who would have thought she’d be able to top the power of that majestic docudrama? But with Nomadland she has.To call it a loose adaptation of Jessica Bruder’s Nomadland: Surviving America...

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Daniel Saldaña Paris: Ramifications review – chaos reigns in contemporary Mexico

The majority of Daniel Saldaña París’s latest novel spurs from a single act, committed during the height of summer, in 1994. Teresa, the mother of the unnamed narrator, departs her family home in the Educación neighbourhood of Mexico City to...

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The Secret History of My Library: Essay by Daniel Saldaña París

Books lost, left in houses I never returned to; dictionaries mislaid during a move; seven boxes sold to a second-hand bookstore… The history of my library is the history of loss and an impossible collection, scattered around several countries,...

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William Boyd: Trio review - private perils in 1968

William Boyd’s fiction is populated by all manner of artists. Writers, painters, photographers, musicians and film-makers, drawn from real life or entirely fictional, are regular patrons of his stories. Boyd’s latest novel, Trio, is no different....

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Ottessa Moshfegh: Death in Her Hands review - a case of murder mind

Death in Her Hands was a forgotten manuscript, the product of a series of daily automatic writing exercises performed by Ottessa Moshfegh in 2015 and then set aside to marinade in a desk drawer while the world fell apart. Moshfegh’s characters “zoom...

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Matthew Sperling: Viral review - whip-smart satire about the void at the heart of tech

Strange, that novels like this, which seem to have their finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist, already have a tinge of sepia about them. Set in a bustling east Berlin, this sharply plotted tale of start-up bliss and blunder, then bliss again, sees...

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Naomi Booth: Exit Management review - unwrapping life's unpleasantness

When you try to get rid of something, it comes back to bite you – so says Naomi Booth in her new novel Exit Management. It’s one of those books that you want to read very quickly, its writing slickly modern and its characters compellingly flawed....

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Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai: The Mountains Sing review - a lyrical account of Việt Nam’s brutal past

“The challenges of the Vietnamese people throughout history are as tall as the tallest mountains. If you stand too close, you won’t be able to see their peaks. Once you step away from the currents of life, you will have the full view…” This is the...

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Zalika Reid-Benta: Frying Plantain review - tales of growing up young, black and female in Toronto

It is as unsurprising as it is vital that a spotlight has been thrown on writing by people of colour this year. It is unsurprising, too – looking at bestseller lists on both sides of the Atlantic since June – that most of that light is being shed on...

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