‘Staunin Ma Lane’ by Brian Holton

Staunin Ma Lane book coverChinese verse translated into mellifluous Scots with an English crib is a personal triumph for the Sino-Scottish makar Brian Holton who is the creator of Staunin Ma Lane (Standing Alone) [Bristol: Shearsman Books, 2016].  An interest has to be declared.  I pushed my cousin Brian in his pram and it has clearly done him a great deal of good. Read more ...

‘Day’ by A L Kennedy

Day book cover imageWith reading Day by A L Kennedy [London: Vintage, 2008] comes my dawning realisation that I have been missing something. As my hero Richard Ford says of her, “This woman is a profound writer.” And yet, despite being aware of her, and now and again catching her sparky contributions to radio programmes, to my chagrin, this is the first novel of hers I have read. Mea maxima culpa. My bittersweet punishment will be to try and catch up in the months and years ahead; and tomorrow is another day! Read more ...

‘The Transmigration of Bodies’ by Yuri Herrera

The Transmigration of Bodies book cover The title of The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera is a neat joke that the reader will latch on to as they work their way through this novella [High Wycombe: & Other Stories, 2016, translated by Lisa Dellman]. It’s a short book and worth reading despite it being another sort of apocalyptic vision like we found in his earlier Signs Preceding the End of the World that I rated very highly in my review. Read more ...

‘The Malice of Waves’ by Mark Douglas-Home

The Malice of Waves book coverThe tide has been too long coming in with The Malice of Waves by Mark Douglas-Home [London: Penguin, Michael Joseph, 2016] but he has taken this story at the flood. It’s a cracking yarn with the perfect combination of remote locality, small and suspicious community, jealousy, fear, love and loathing, and a great cast of characters, none of whom is easy to like, for one reason or another. Read more ...

Taking a ruler over ‘Sovereign’ by C J Sansom

Sovereign book cover imageSovereign [London: Macmillan, 2006] is book three of the now six-book Shardlake series from the enterprising pen of C J Sansom and it matches up in every way to the others I have read. I still have to get through five and six but I have a feeling I shall do so later this year. I’m hooked. Shardlake’s death-defying adventures are more than just an antidote for those still waiting for Hilary Mantel’s third volume about which I see no convincing rumours on the web. Read more ...