March 3, 2017

Buzz: Man Booker Prize 2017 shortlisted. Picked among 2017's most anticipated books by The Guardian, New York Times, Buzz Feed and more.

Exit West is an intriguing book. On the thinnest skin of surface it’s a love story, set against the backdrop of a refugee crisis. But barely any scratching is needed to reveal what lies beneath: - something that feels more like a parable, or philosophical text, than a novel, asking complex questions about displacement, migration and the resolution of the global tensions they cause.

The success of this book lies in how well that surface layer manages to humanise the refugee experience, to make the issues below seem truly personal. And it does it in the strangest way. Rather than showing the inhuman suffering of the character’s real-life counterparts, Hamid almost strips them of it, both through a distant narratorial style and an unusual plot device. A litt...

February 11, 2017

The buzz:

Picked as best new book choices for 2017 in The Daily Mail, Stylist, Mail on Sunday, Buzzfeed, ELLE, Book Riot.

There are at least two generations too many in this multi-generational tale; it would benefit from losing the first chapter perhaps, and definitely the last 20% or so. But while that may sound a little damning, without that extra weight this would be a near perfect book. It’s elegant and skilful, thoughtful and refined, and for the insight into the Korean experience in Japan, and a depressing and hopeless examination of Motherhood, this epic is worth reading.

It starts in Korea in 1910 with an ageing fisherman and his wife who become boarding house keepers, but the main plot follows their granddaughter Sunja. Sunja falls pregnant out of wedlock and her honour is saved by a visiting church pastor who asks her to come to Japan with him as his wife. We then follow Sunja’s l...

January 25, 2017

The buzz:

A New York Times 2016 Notable Book

Entertainment Weekly’s #1 Book of the Year

A Slate Top Ten Book

New York Time Bestseller

Nathan Hill compared to John Irving, John Irving compares him to Dickens.


No book could be simultaneously more timely and more timeless than this future classic. The Nix is fun, joyous, exciting and tender; full of both the outrage, anger and giddy momentum of political change and subtle layers of sympathy for the characters at the heart of it.

It is inescapably apt that The Nix reaches UK shores the very same week we watch aghast as President Trump celebrates his inauguration. The novel opens with the scene of a Trump-esque Presidential candidate getting hit with a handful of gravel thrown by an angry middle-aged women. How many people worldwide would like to throw some gravel right now?

Protest is at the centre of The Nix. After the gravel incident, the wo...

January 12, 2017

The buzz:

Laura Kaye is one of the Daily Telegraph’s four new voices in literature for 2017

English Animals is one of Stylist Magazine’s ‘Big January Reads.’

It is also one of Reader’s Digest books for January.


Anthropomorphic taxidermy may not be something you’ve thought much about, but put it into a Google image search and it becomes strangely compelling: rats playing dominos, mice on a ferris wheel, frogs in a Victorian classroom and Walter Potter’s Kitten’s Wedding. And it’s on a picture of this strange wedding that the fortunes of English Animals’ protagonist, Mirka, pivot.

Mirka is a lost soul - a Slovak immigrant who left her own country due to her sexuality and a scandal. She finds London impossible, and so joins an agency and applies for a poorly defined job as a general assistant in a grand country house. There she meets Sophie and Rich...

November 5, 2016

There are the odd few things about The Wangs vs. the World that might feel a little familiar to lovers of the great American novel: three flawed, grown-up children spread out across the USA, an unravelling and slightly hysterical parent determined to gather them under one roof again, and all set against the backdrop of a financial crisis. It’s also an ambitious book with initially unlikeable primary characters, packed with interesting psychological insights and told from multiple perspectives, jigsawing together to build a picture of a modern family.

But this is not the modern classic by Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections, it is the much-hyped debut novel from Jade Chang. And instead of a traditional Midwest family suffering through a modern America they no longer feel at home in, the Wangs are are an immigrant family who have made their home in LA.

Charles Wang, himself the child of Chines...

September 4, 2016

Halfway through reading this book, I was considering telling a real life lie. I caught myself worrying my ‘smoke’ would betray me. For that’s how tangible the m

August 5, 2016

Lead down dark paths of infatuation, need and circumstance to a brutal decision - would we make the right choice? What might we be capable of? These questions haunt both the main character and the book.

The Girls is a love story, a murder mystery and a coming-of-age tale, all propelled by a delicious moral ambiguity and a hopeful, lust-filled confusion.

Set in North California in 1969, it’s the tale of one particular 14 yr-old’s own personal Summer of Love - complete with long hair, flowing dresses and plenty of drugs. But Evie Boyd admits no opinion of politics, and despite being a stone’s throw from San Francisco she didn’t hang out in the Haight. Her Summer of Love was narrow, naive and personal: one girl - Susan, one place - the ranch. The rest just came with it.

Susan leads ‘The Girls’ of the title, a small tribe devoted to Russell - a character inspired by Charles Manson. The girls ar...

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