Lee Langley

Runaway lovers: The Heart in Winter, by Kevin Barry, reviewed

29 June 2024 9:00 am

In 19th-century Butte, Montana, a reluctant new bride falls in love with the young man sent to photograph her – leading to violent retribution for the doomed couple

The skull beneath the skin: Ghost Pains, by Jessi Jezewska Stevens, reviewed

9 March 2024 9:00 am

Pain lurks below the surface of these sardonic short stories. Happiness is fleeting, and ‘we carry death within us like a stone within a fruit’, one narrator observes

Dangerous secrets: Verdigris, by Michele Mari, reviewed

20 January 2024 9:00 am

A lonely teenager on holiday in Italy befriends his grandparents’ elderly gardener and slowly coaxes out his painful memories of betrayals and reprisals during the war

Heart of Darkness revisited: The Dimensions of a Cave, by Greg Jackson, reviewed

4 November 2023 9:00 am

Conrad’s classic is updated in this sinister tale of the US government’s involvement in a morally suspect virtual reality programme

Anonymous caller: This Plague of Souls, by Mike McCormack, reviewed

21 October 2023 9:00 am

A man returns to his remote rural home after an absence – to be greeted not by his family but a sinister stranger on the telephone

Private obsessions

22 July 2023 9:00 am

A world of private fetishes, obsessions, childhood memories and literary passions is dazzlingly revealed in 13 short stories

Too close to home

24 June 2023 9:00 am

Life in a comfortable modern flat with her husband and two young sons leaves Natsumi so depressed she thinks she’s losing her mind

Inside the Factory

4 March 2023 9:00 am

When two teenage typists employed by Andy Warhol start tagging along to his amphetamine-fuelled parties, their lives spiral out of control

Day of vengeance

28 January 2023 9:00 am

A festive gathering in the depths of rural France is fatally disrupted by a trio of sinister strangers

Bittersweet memories: Ti Amo, by Hanne Ørstavik, reviewed

3 September 2022 9:00 am

This is a deceptively slim novel. Its 96 pages contain multitudes: two lives, past and present, seamlessly interwoven. The narrator,…

Dangerous liaisons: Bad Eminence, by James Greer, reviewed

2 July 2022 9:00 am

Vanessa Salomon is an internationally successful translator. Clever, beautiful, privileged – ‘born in a trilingual household: French, English and money’…

Murder, suicide and apocalypse: Here Goes Nothing, by Steve Toltz, reviewed

30 April 2022 9:00 am

Angus Mooney is dead. Freshly murdered, he’s appalled to find himself in an Afterworld, having always rejected the possibility of…

Lasting infamy: Booth, by Karen Joy Fowler, reviewed

12 March 2022 9:00 am

Were it not for an event on the night of 14 April 1865, John Wilkes Booth would be remembered, if…

A wife for King Lear — J.R. Thorp imagines another Lady Macbeth

6 November 2021 9:00 am

Shakespeare wastes no time on Lear’s backstory; we meet the brutal old autocrat as he divides his kingdom between two…

A 21st-century Holden Caulfield: The Book of Form and Emptiness, by Ruth Ozecki, reviewed

25 September 2021 9:00 am

The world Ruth Ozeki creates in The Book of Form & Emptiness resembles one of the snow globes that pop…

Brave new virtual world: The Startup Wife, by Tahmima Anam, reviewed

29 May 2021 9:00 am

Welcome to Utopia — not an idyllic arcadia but a secretive tech incubator in a Manhattan office block. Here a…

Ghosts of the past: The Field, by Robert Seethaler, reviewed

17 April 2021 9:00 am

Give dead bones a voice and they speak volumes: George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo was clamorous with the departed…

Two for the road: We Are Not in the World, by Conor O’Callaghan, reviewed

13 March 2021 9:00 am

A father and his estranged 20-year-old daughter set off across France, sharing the driver’s cabin of a long-haul truck. This…

An unquiet life: There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job, by Kikuko Tsumura, reviewed

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Kikuko Tsumura is a multi-prizewinning Japanese author whose mischievously deceptive new novel takes us into what purports to be the…

Lacrimae rerum: That Old Country Music, by Kevin Barry, reviewed

17 October 2020 9:00 am

Some of my happiest fiction-reading hours have been spent in the company of Kevin Barry: two short-story collections, both prize-winners,…

As intricate as an origami sculpture: The Lost Future of Pepperharrow reviewed

21 March 2020 9:00 am

Steampunk, a shapeshifting and unpredictable genre, has a way of subverting the past, mischievously disordering the universe with historical what-ifs.…

Is it a Rake’s or a Pilgrim’s Progress for Rob Doyle?

18 January 2020 9:00 am

‘To live and die without knowing the psychedelic experience,’ says the narrator of Threshold, ‘is comparable to never having encountered…

You’d never believe what goes on in the Sainsbury’s car park

11 January 2020 9:00 am

Psychogeography takes many forms: Sebaldian gravitas, Will Self’s provocative flash and dazzle and Iain Sinclair’s jeremiads for lost innocence. Gareth…

Feminism for the Fleabag generation: The Polyglot Lovers, by Lina Wolff, reviewed

18 May 2019 9:00 am

Everyone behaves badly in The Polyglot Lovers — no saving graces. It’s a complex, shifting structure of sex, self-hatred and…

A hero of the Franco era: Lord of All the Dead, by Javier Cercas, reviewed

11 May 2019 9:00 am

Who is a hero? Javier Cercas, in his 2001 novel Soldiers of Salamis, asked the question, searching for an anonymous…