Traumata: Such Small Hands / Andrés Barba

In an afterword by Edmund White, Andrés Barba’s chilling and sparse novella Such Small Hands is said to be based on events in an orphanage in 1960s Brazil in which a group of young girls killed a fellow child and played with her body parts for some time afterward. This point is almost universally noted... Continue Reading →

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Grief, healing and horses: The writing of Eliza Henry-Jones

It’s rare that a piece of writing moves me to tears, but I’ll readily admit that in the course of reading the novels of Australian author Eliza Henry-Jones, it’s been three-for-three. These books are powerful, moving, and incredibly human. The experience began with Ache, Henry-Jones’ latest adult release. I read it travelling between Helensburgh and... Continue Reading →

Dead girl and heron: Joyce Carol Oates

Content warning: child abuse (reference), sexual assault (reference) Before reading her work, I’d assumed Joyce Carol Oates was one of those writers who churned out weepy family sagas. As many fateful reading habits begin, I picked up Daddy Love (2013) by accident. It was an entirely disturbing read, tracking the fate of a young boy... Continue Reading →

Why we need… The Power / Naomi Alderman

I’m tidying up this review from a jumble of notes scrawled while listening to the audiobook edition of The Power. More often than not, I post reviews after a significant procrastination mulling-over period. In this case, I couldn’t remember the last time I was so utterly, maddeningly in awe of a work. The premise of... Continue Reading →

I adore thee: Hag-Seed / Margaret Atwood

On the rare occasion, a book sends you reeling, completely potent with possibility and a narrative that transcends the ordinary. I’ve been a fan (nigh-on Misery-level) of Margaret Atwood after reading The Handmaid’s Tale. Since then, many of her books have become all-time favourites, including the incredible Maddadam trilogy. In both of those works, Atwood mastered uniquely... Continue Reading →

Review: The North Water / Ian McGuire

The North Water is a book I suspect I’m not meant to have enjoyed. For one, it’s undeniably ‘masculine’: a miasma of semen, blood and sweat. The only women in it are whores, largely unnamed background characters that function as little more than orifices for rent. It is also a book about whaling. And I’m... Continue Reading →

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