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Book review

“Crudo” by Olivia Laing – book review

I have three confessions to make.

The first is I’ve never read Kathy Acker. This is probably my loss.

The second is you probably need to have read Kathy Acker to enjoy Crudo, which is written in Kathy’s voice.

The third is I had no idea what Crudo was about when I bought it. Instead, I simply did what I normally do in a bookshop: read the first two pages and, if I don’t shudder in disgust, buy the book. 

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Book review

“No One” by John Hughes – book review

One-sentence review: Haunting, confusing, beautiful and yet tenebrous. 

Slightly longer review:

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Book review

“Ayoade on Top” by Richard Ayoade – book review

One-sentence review: If you know and like Richard Ayoade’s unique sense of humour, this is for you.

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Book review

“The Summer of My Amazing Luck” by Miriam Toews – book review

One-sentence review: Wry, dry (even though it’s set in a rainy Canadian city) and moving.

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Book review

“Slow Days, Fast Company” by Eve Babitz – book review

One-sentence review: Pure, unadulterated hedonistic literary escapism. 

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Book review

“Outline” by Rachel Cusk – book review

One-sentence review: A quiet, thoughtful and seductive look into other people’s fears and relationships. 

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Book review

“French Exit” by Patrick deWitt – book review

One-sentence review: like a PG Wodehouse comedy but with a darker edge.

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Book review

“Vernon God Little” by DBC Pierre – book review

One-sentence review: A jaw-droppingly brilliant comic novel.

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Book review

“Hot Milk” by Deborah Levy – book review

One-sentence review: languorous, mysterious and evocative with a dark twist.

Slightly longer review:

A young woman uncertain of herself is in a coastal Spanish town so she can take her cranky hypochondriac mother to a specialist who might be a crank himself.

In some ways this is a coming-of-age novel, as Sofia falls in love with the mysterious and imperious Ingrid, has blissful love-free sex with the young man who treats jellyfish stings at the beach, and she contemplates what to do with her anthropology studies while using anthropology as a frame with which to study her confusing world.

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Book review

“The New Me” by Halle Butler – book review

One-sentence review: A caustic tale of modern life, with its alienation, bad friends and dreams of self improvement.

Slightly longer review:

As children, we often think books ought to be about larger than life characters: adventurers, royalty, vampires and magicians. 

Yet when we’re older and our dreams of becoming rock stars, professional athletes or Hollywood actors have dissolved, it’s the life-size characters that often resonate: the office worker, the lonely, the depressed and – in the case of The New Me, it’s all three.