Alex Peake-Tomkinson

An insight into the American Dream: Table for Two, by Amor Towles, reviewed

22 June 2024 9:00 am

Recent short stories and a novella all feature protagonists in pursuit of an ambition that puts them in varying degrees of peril

A Native American tragedy: Wandering Stars, by Tommy Orange, reviewed

8 June 2024 9:00 am

Shocked to find that his Cheyenne forebears had been imprisoned in Florida, Orange was inspired to write a story of displacement and abuse spanning generations

An unenviable mission: Clear, by Carys Davies, reviewed

9 March 2024 9:00 am

It is 1843, the year of the Great Disruption in the Scottish Church, and an impoverished minister is being paid to clear a lonely North Sea island of any remaining inhabitants

Heartbreak in the workplace: Green Dot, by Madeleine Gray, reviewed

10 February 2024 9:00 am

Hera is 24, bisexual and usually dates women. But her infatuation with Arthur, an older, married journalist in her office, grows all-consuming

Surprise package: Tackle!, by Jilly Cooper, reviewed

16 December 2023 9:00 am

Rupert Campbell-Black (‘still Nirvana to most women’) decides to buy a football club – to the amazement of Rutshire, and no doubt Cooper’s devoted readers

Mother’s always angry: Jungle House, by Julianne Pachino, reviewed

9 December 2023 9:00 am

But who – or what – is Mother? And are her exasperated warnings about ever-present danger exaggerated?

Too many tales of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle

7 October 2023 9:00 am

Contemplating ‘hedgehog philosophy’ with Sarah Sands, Rowan Williams, Greta Thunberg and other luminaries would test anyone’s patience after 150 pages

Tales of the Midwest: The Collected Works of Jo Ann Beard, reviewed

12 August 2023 9:00 am

Violence and death are balanced by hard-won, transcendent joy in Beard’s remarkable stories that merge fiction and memoir

Divine revelations: I, Julian, by Claire Gilbert, reviewed

17 June 2023 9:00 am

The pain – and ultimately serenity – Julian of Norwich experienced throughout her series of violent visions are vividly captured in this fine fictional autobiography

The view from on high

13 May 2023 9:00 am

Sixteen-year-old Kit floats free from her body at night and circles invisibly over family and friends – not always liking what she sees

Ghosts of the past

4 March 2023 9:00 am

Painful memories resurface for a retired detective when his help is sought with a cold case murder

The house in Ghent haunted by Hitler

10 December 2022 9:00 am

Stefan Hertmans is dismayed to discover that his home was once owned by a Flemish collaborator with the SS

Too close to home: Nonfiction, by Julie Myerson, reviewed

4 June 2022 9:00 am

Julie Myerson has, somewhat confusingly, written a novel called Nonfiction. The confusion of course is the point, because this is…

The parent snatchers: The School for Good Mothers, by Jessamine Chan, reviewed

2 April 2022 9:00 am

Frida Liu, the 39-year-old mother of a toddler named Harriet, has a very bad day which will haunt her for…

Christina Patterson overcomes family misfortunes

19 February 2022 9:00 am

The journalist and broadcaster Christina Patterson’s memoir begins promisingly. She has a talent for vivid visual description, not least: ‘We…

Funeral gatecrasher: The Black Dress, by Deborah Moggach, reviewed

7 August 2021 9:00 am

Here is a rare dud from the usually reliable Deborah Moggach. Her protagonist, Pru, finds herself alone at 69 after…

O father, where art thou? Fox Fires, by Wyl Menmuir, reviewed

19 June 2021 9:00 am

Wyl Menmuir’s first novel, The Many, was a surprise inclusion on the 2016 Booker Prize longlist. It drew praise for…

Women of the streets: Hot Stew, by Fiona Mozley, reviewed

13 March 2021 9:00 am

For a novel set partly in a Soho brothel, Hot Stew is an oddly bloodless affair. Tawdry characters drift in…

A toxic atmosphere: Slough House, by Mick Herron, reviewed

6 February 2021 9:00 am

Mick Herron has been called ‘the John le Carré of his generation’ by the crime writer Val McDermid, and in…

Gay abandon: Islands of Mercy, by Rose Tremain, reviewed

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Rose Tremain has followed her masterly The Gustav Sonata with an altogether different novel. In 1865, Clorinda Morrissey, a 38-year-old…

His latest disturbing short stories show Richard Ford very much on song

18 July 2020 9:00 am

Sorry For Your Trouble (Bloomsbury, £16.99), Richard Ford’s 13th book of fiction, shows a writer still very much on song.…

Violence and infidelity on sun-drenched Hydra: A Theatre for Dreamers, by Polly Samson, reviewed

4 April 2020 9:00 am

The beautiful Greek island of Hydra became home to a bohemian community of expats in the 1960s, including the Canadian…

Tales from behind the veil: Moroccan women talk about lies and sex

14 March 2020 9:00 am

The Moroccan-born Leïla Slimani has made her name writing novels of propulsive intensity. Lullaby, the story of a nanny who…

Dieting to death: a black comedy of boarding school life

9 November 2019 9:00 am

It sounds in bad taste, but Scarlett Thomas has written a riotously enjoyable novel about a boarding school full of…

A novel about depression that doesn’t depress: Starling Days, by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, reviewed

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan has achieved that rare feat, in her second novel Starling Days, of writing a convincing novel about…