Thirty-four pages into this excellent Irish novel, I was cackling with laughter for the third time. I was also being paused in my happy reading by moments of piercing empathy. They sat alongside the bursts of humour, deepening the reader’s feelings about the characters and their patient, ordinary lives. The cover shows us a sunfish, … Continue reading Rónán Hession, Leonard and Hungry Paul
The Mere Wife, by Maria Dahvana Headley I didn’t finish this. I got to the bit where the character in the Hrothgar role got killed, and the character in the Beowulf role is in a car with the character in the Wealtheow role, considering kissing her. I did not want to read on because the … Continue reading My gifts to the Oxfam bookshop
Shall I count the ways in which I love this novel? It's a joy to read, easy and deep and delightful. It made me cry. I bought it on holiday and I loved it. It's snort-out-loud funny. It's utterly fascinating if you're not 28 and not from Ireland, like discovering a world of linguistic delights. … Continue reading Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling
I posted a double review of Frank O'Connor's autobiographies over on Vulpes Libris: An Only Child, and My Father's Son. I learned a lot about Irish history, Irish literature, Irish convents and army pensions.
The continuing adventures of Sofia Khan have been much anticipated. I adored Malik’s first novel, Sofia Khan is Not Obliged, and its sequel begins very satisfyingly with the immortal words of ‘Reader, I married him’. This is of course the burning question at the end of Sofia Khan when she’s flying off to Karachi with … Continue reading Ayisha Malik, The Other Half of Happiness
Over on Vulpes Libris I've posted a review of Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn. I really liked it, but I wasn't quite convinced by how he covered the intimately feminine aspects of Éilis's experiences. Tóibín is very good on sea-bathing sex and shaving for bathing-suits, but he says nothing about menstrual blood or the fretting about white skirts that was … Continue reading Now posting on Vulpes Libris: Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn