Chinese 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.
With 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!
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.
The 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.
Sovereign [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.