Mika Ross-Southall

Adrift in Berlin: Sojourn, by Amit Chaudhuri, reviewed

Feelings of dislocation are at the heart of Amit Chaudhuri’s award-winning novels. Friend of My Youth (2017) followed a writer’s unsettling trip back to his childhood home in Bombay. Before that, Odysseus Abroad (2014) charted the day of a lonely English literature student from India as he meandered around London. Now, in Sojourn – Chaudhuri’s

Beware the woke misogynist

The #MeToo movement isn’t all it seems. More than three years after countless sexual abuse allegations shook the world, the relationship between men and women has mutated into something ‘subtle and insidious’, writes Sam Mills. Her new book — an intriguing blend of feminist theory, memoir, psychological sleuthing and self-help — investigates the rise of

A short history of the kimono

‘Fashions have changed’, said the Japanese writer Ihara Saikaku in 1688. ‘Certain shrewd Kyoto people have started to lavish every manner of magnificence on men’s and women’s clothes. By then, everyone in Japan was wearing a kimono. But it was the new, eye-catching, sumptuous ones wrapped around a flourishing breed of fashionistas that Saikaku was

Field trip with father

Sarah Moss’s concise, claustrophobic sixth novel concerns the perils of family life. The narrator Silvie is a frustrated 17-year-old on holiday in the Northumbrian countryside with her father Bill, a bus driver with an insatiable interest in prehistoric Britain, and her mother Alison, who works as a cashier in a supermarket. They have joined an

Consumed by guilt

At the beginning of After the Party, Phyllis Forrester tells us she was in prison. While inside, her hair turned yellowy-white, ‘like the mane of an old wooden rocking-horse’, not out of shock, she reassures us, but because ‘one couldn’t get one’s hair dyed’. She thinks she deserved to be there: ‘What I did was

A spy in la-la land

In 1940, the British Security Coordination sent an agent with an assistant to a Hollywood film studio to help promote the British war effort in America. This is the inspiration behind Louise Levene’s enjoyable new novel Happy Little Bluebirds. Here, though, the assistant — Evelyn Murdoch, who was working at the Postal Censorship department in