Triggered by an overheard snippet at a dinner, “So I jumped out of a tree, and I killed him with my knife,” Helen Shankman’s collection of eight connected stories set in Poland during the German occupation is a masterpiece of narrative structure and psychological exploration. It is also a book of fairytales, and it is through the weaving of historical fact and rich Jewish and European folklore that Shankman empowers the millions of Poles and Polish Jews who were murdered by t
Jackie Copleton’s debut novel, inspired by her time living in Nagasaki, shines with a soft, poetic and sensitive light. Focusing on the long-lasting physical and emotional trauma of August 9th, 1945, it is also a heartbreaking story of love, and the relationship between a mother and a daughter. Even the kindness of the half-light could not hide his disfigurement. The man stood on my doorstep hunched against the chill of a winter morning. Despite the scarring, I could tell he
Reading challenges are all the rage these days, after last year’s PopSugar book challenge went viral. This year I’ve taken on The Secret Book Club’s challenge, and one item on the list is a Young Adult novel. It’s not my preferred genre but when I received an invitation from St Martin’s Press to read Laura J Burns and Melinda Metz’s new novel, Sanctuary Bay, I decided to take the opportunity to check something off the list. I was especially attracted by Melinda Metz, who auth
A novel set in Hong Kong, about the lives of three expatriate women, will most likely attract readers because of its exoticism. However, for someone who actually is an expat in East Asia that’s ordinary life, so I was eager to see if it lived up to the reality of my expectations. I was not disappointed. The new expatriates arrive practically on the hour, every day of the week. They get off Cathay Pacific flights from New York, BA from London, Garuda from Jakarta, ANA from Tok
Anthony Marra’s second book, The Tsar of Love and Techno, purports to be a collection of interwoven short stories. Set out like tracks on a mixtape, they create a sense of place so vivid that the remote, frozen and apocalyptic town of Kirovsk, and a quiet hillside in Chechnya, felt like characters in their own right. Armed with a basic knowledge of Russian history from 1930 to 1990, I thought I was prepared for the bleak desolation and indiscriminate destruction of the Cold W
I am not currently accepting independently published books for review.