Fiction

The Generic Asian Man: Interior Chinatown, by Charles Yu, reviewed

23 January 2021 9:00 am

Of the handful of things we can establish about Willis Wu, the protagonist of Charles Yu’s second novel, the most…

Scenes from an open marriage: Luster, by Raven Leilani, reviewed

16 January 2021 9:00 am

One of Barack Obama’s favourite books of 2020, Raven Leilani’s debut comes acclaimed by a literary Who’s Who that includes…

The burden of guilt: The Living Sea of Waking Dreams, by Richard Flanagan, reviewed

16 January 2021 9:00 am

Thanks to the Booker Prize, Richard Flanagan is probably the only Tasmanian novelist British readers are likely to have heard…

House of horrors: Girl A, by Abigail Dean, reviewed

16 January 2021 9:00 am

If the last quarter of 2020 saw a glut of novels published, of which there were winners (Richard Osman) and…

The plight of the evacuee: Asylum Road, by Olivia Sudjic, reviewed

16 January 2021 9:00 am

Olivia Sudjic’s second novel, Asylum Road, is a smart and sensitively layered story that’s told through niggling memories, unspoken thoughts,…

Family secrets: Life Sentences, by Billy O’Callaghan, reviewed

16 January 2021 9:00 am

Despite innovative work by younger writers, there remains a prominent strain in Irish literature of what we might call the…

The problem with pills: The Octopus Man, by Jasper Gibson, reviewed

16 January 2021 9:00 am

Having a breakdown? Try this pill, or that — or these? Built on the 1950s myth of a chemical imbalance…

Dreading demobilisation: The Autumn of the Ace, by Louis de Bernières, reviewed

16 January 2021 9:00 am

The Autumn of the Ace begins in 1945, as the second world war ends, but both Louis de Bernières and…

Paint in the bloodstream: The Death of Francis Bacon, by Max Porter, reviewed

9 January 2021 9:00 am

Francis Bacon once told the art critic Richard Cork: ‘I certainly hope I’ll go on till I drop dead.’ Max…

In search of Noëlle: Invisible Ink, by Patrick Modiano, reviewed

9 January 2021 9:00 am

At some point in his twilit, enigmatic novels of vanished lives and buried memories, Patrick Modiano likes to jolt his…

‘People confuse sadness with darkness’: the complicated world of Mary Gaitskill

19 December 2020 9:00 am

An interview with the American novelist Mary Gaitskill

Labyrinthine tales: We All Hear Stories in the Dark, by Robert Shearman, reviewed

19 December 2020 9:00 am

When the estimable Andy Miller, the host of the Backlisted podcast, recommended a new collection of short stories on Twitter,…

All change: The Arrest, by Jonathan Lethem, reviewed

19 December 2020 9:00 am

This is an Exquisite Corpse of a novel — or if you prefer another name for that particular game, Heads,…

The plight of the migrant: Crossed Lines, by Marie Darrieussecq, reviewed

5 December 2020 9:00 am

‘We should be living in a brave country and on a brave planet that bravely distributes its occupants,’ thinks Rose…

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…

A brutal education: At Night All Blood is Black, by David Diop, reviewed

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Alfa Ndiaye, a Senegalese soldier fighting for France in the trenches of the Great War, is consumed by bloodlust, which…

Masculinity in crisis: Men and Apparitions, by Lynne Tillman, reviewed

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Masculinity, we are often told, is in crisis. The narrator of Men and Apparitions, Professor Ezekiel (Zeke) Stark, both studies…

Short and sweet: Xstabeth, by David Keenan, reviewed

7 November 2020 9:00 am

Aneliya, the Russian narrator of David Keenan’s enjoyably weird new novel, is worried about her dad. Tomasz’s modest music career…

Wistful thinking: Mr Wilder & Me, by Jonathan Coe, reviewed

31 October 2020 9:00 am

Mr Wilder & Me is not in any way a state- of-the-nation novel — and thank goodness. Brilliant as Jonathan…

Kicking up a stink: Dead Fingers Talk, by William S. Burroughs, reviewed

31 October 2020 9:00 am

William Burroughs was introduced to a British readership in November 1963, and the welcome he received was ‘UGH…’ The headline…

Cyber apocalypse: The Silence, by Don DeLillo, reviewed

24 October 2020 9:00 am

Elaborated over a writing career that spans half a century — a career crowned with every honour save the Nobel…

Looking for love: Ghosts, by Dolly Alderton

24 October 2020 9:00 am

Of all the successful modern female writers documenting their search for love, none has been as endearing as Dolly Alderton.…

A Jack Reacher travesty: The Sentinel, by Lee Child and Andrew Child, reviewed

24 October 2020 9:00 am

So upsetting it would have been, for those of us who rate Lee Child’s Jack Reacher thrillers so highly, if…

Euthanasia sitcom: What Are You Going Through, by Sigrid Nunez, reviewed

17 October 2020 9:00 am

What Are You Going Through is both brilliant and mercifully brief. Weighing in at 200-odd pages, it can be read…

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,…