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Anthony Cummins rss

16th century French soldiers

A jaunty romp of rape and pillage through the 16th century

11 October 2014
The Brethren Robert Merle (translated by T. Jefferson Kline)

Pushkin Press, pp.410, £12.99, ISBN: 9781782270447

The Brethren, by Robert Merle, who died at the age of 95 ten years ago, was originally published in 1977, the first in a sequence of historical novels that sold… Read more

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A family novel that pulls up the carpet before you're even in the door

22 February 2014
& Sons David Gilbert

Fourth Estate, pp.430, £16.99, ISBN: 9780007552795

I first mistook David Gilbert’s second novel for the sort of corduroy-sleeved family saga at which American writers excel. The main character, Dyer, is an elderly author gathering his sons… Read more

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This year, discover Michel Déon

11 January 2014
The Foundling Boy Michel Déon

Gallic Books, pp.416, £9.99, ISBN: 9781908313560

In Roberto Bolaño’s novel 2666, the efforts of an academic claque propel the mysterious German author Benno von Archimboldi onto bestseller lists across the Continent. But ‘in the British Isles,… Read more

Red or Dead by David Peace - review

24 August 2013
Red or Dead David Peace

Faber, pp.720, £20, ISBN: 9780571280650

The last time David Peace wrote a novel about football he got his publishers sued for libel, which may help explain why his new one avoids invention wherever it can… Read more

Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Ghana Must Go, by Taiye Selasi - review

4 May 2013
Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

HarperCollins, pp.399, £20, ISBN: 9780007306220

Ghana Must Go Taiye Selasi

Viking, pp.336, £14.99, ISBN: 9780670919864

Excitement over the extraterritorial birthplace of authors on Granta’s recent list of Britain’s best young novelists must have been old news in the United States, where the New Yorker’s equivalent… Read more

A red rag, or just bull?

8 September 2012
Zoo Time Howard Jacobson

Bloomsbury, pp.375, £18.99, ISBN: 9781408828687

Howard Jacobson’s new novel is a satire on modern literary publishing seen through the eyes of a writer, Guy, who wants to sleep with his mother-in-law even though he’s married… Read more

The courage of their convictions

12 May 2012
HHhH by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor

Harvill Secker, pp.336, 16.99

HHhH is a prize-winning French novel about a writer writing a novel about the plot to kill the Gestapo boss Reinhard Heydrich. A lot of people reckon it’s a big… Read more

A matter of life and death

10 March 2012
Capital John Lanchester

Faber, pp.650, 17.99

Hmm. Of the 30-plus characters in this novel, not one is both black and British. Odd, since it’s set in 2007-8, in south London. An early passage shows us a… Read more

What’s going on?

26 November 2011
The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories Don DeLillo

Picador, pp.211, 16.99

An early sentence in this collection of stories, first published between 1979 and the current issue of Granta, runs thus: We were in the late stages now, about 45 minutes… Read more

The ripple effect

5 November 2011
How It All Began Penelope Lively

Fig Tree, pp.248, 16.99

Penelope Lively’s new novel traces the consequences of a London street mugging. As the culprit sprints away with a handbag, the victim, Charlotte, a retired widow, falls and cracks her… Read more

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Slightly strained

17 September 2011
The Quality of Mercy Barry Unsworth

Hutchinson, pp.294, 18.99

An escaped convict who took part in a slave-ship mutiny and a Liverpudlian banker hungry for land in a north-eastern pit village are the main characters of this novel set… Read more

Those who die like cattle

18 June 2011
Wish You Were Here Graham Swift

Picador, pp.353, 16.99

An ex-farmer whose brother has died fighting in Iraq is the man at the centre of Graham Swift’s new book, a state-of-the-nation novel on a small canvas. An ex-farmer whose… Read more

We are the past

4 June 2011
Then Julie Myerson

Cape, pp.296, 12.99

Julie Myerson’s eighth novel is told by a woman who roams the City of London after an unspecified apocalypse (no power, bad weather). Julie Myerson’s eighth novel is told by… Read more

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The family plot

12 March 2011
Anatomy of a Disappearance Hisham Matar

Viking, pp.247, 16.99

Hisham Matar is a Libyan-American writer whose father, Jaballa — an opponent of Gaddafi — was kidnapped in Cairo in 1990. Hisham Matar is a Libyan-American writer whose father, Jaballa… Read more

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Dark, moral and lyrical

19 February 2011
Saints and Sinners Edna O' Brien

Faber, pp.12.99, 208

A story in Edna O’Brien’s new collection — her 24th book since 1960 — shows us a mother and daughter who are thrilled to be taking tea with the Coughlans,… Read more

Odd characters

29 January 2011
Cedilla Adam Mars-Jones

Faber, pp.733, 20

Cedilla picks up where Adam Mars-Jones’s previous novel Pilcrow (2008) left off. Cedilla picks up where Adam Mars-Jones’s previous novel Pilcrow (2008) left off. That book described the early life… Read more

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Taking a firm line

23 October 2010
A Life In Pictures Alasdair Gray

Canongate, pp.303, 35

This book collects nearly 300 examples of Alasdair Gray’s work as a painter and illustrator. This book collects nearly 300 examples of Alasdair Gray’s work as a painter and illustrator.… Read more