One-sentence review: Haunting, confusing, beautiful and yet tenebrous.
One-sentence review: If you know and like Richard Ayoade’s unique sense of humour, this is for you.
One-sentence review: Wry, dry (even though it’s set in a rainy Canadian city) and moving.
One-sentence review: Pure, unadulterated hedonistic literary escapism.
One-sentence review: A quiet, thoughtful and seductive look into other people’s fears and relationships.
One-sentence review: like a PG Wodehouse comedy but with a darker edge.
One-sentence review: A jaw-droppingly brilliant comic novel.
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.
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.
Far before J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, there was an author writing about young misfits with flair and passion: John Fante.
In the 1930s Fante began a series of novels starring Arturo Bandini, a delusional, obnoxious, socially incompetent and penniless wannabe writer who is, I am afraid to say, someone I relate far too closely to. Fante’s first novel, The Road to Los Angeles, was rejected and unpublished until after his death in 1985. The second, Wait Until Spring, Bandini (1938), gained critical praise but it was his third – Ask the Dust (1939) – that was a work of genius.