Viewport width =

Books

March 27, 2017

I am drawn to love stories easily, like a moth to a porch light — I’m a romantic at heart. But I soon grow sick of them, because as well as being a romantic, I’m a pragmatist and a Kiwi. So first I think, aww… and then I think, yes, well, all right then, no […]

March 27, 2017

George Orwell’s 1937 non-fiction work, The Road to Wigan Pier, depicts the agonising daily existence of the working classes in the north of England where unemployment was rife. Orwell was commissioned to report on this plight by publisher and dedicated socialist Victor Gallancz, who sought to expose the harsh realities of life in the industrial […]

March 27, 2017

On the February 20, 1862, William Wallace Lincoln died of typhoid fever at the age of 11. This was particularly tough for his father, President Abraham Lincoln, who was also trying to fight the American Civil War at the same time. This tragic event is used as the backdrop and playground for George Saunders’ historical […]

March 20, 2017

I finished the 2016 Man Booker Prize winner The Sellout, by Paul Beatty, for my birthday. It was both unfamiliar and tasty. Easy to fit on the fork and easy to snack on in one sitting. The main character and narrator, known only as the “sellout,” is funny and down to earth as he tells […]

March 20, 2017

A blue-black baby is born to a mother who’s so scared of her she almost wants to smother her then and there. But she doesn’t, instead she raises her, alone, and makes sure that she’s disciplined, that she’s well-behaved, and knows the way the world works. To ensure, the mother thinks, that she’ll be as […]

March 13, 2017

Do you remember a few weeks ago, when J. K. Rowling had a good laugh at the thought of Piers Morgan being told to fuck off on live television? She tweeted as such with gleeful irreverence, at the unique pleasure the universe had granted her without any warning at all. This event is the excuse […]

March 13, 2017

Forgive me, nerds! I know this is a cliché. I am painfully aware that this book is the lady-authored equivalent of Catcher in the Rye — a great book often let down through loud, obnoxious promotion by hipsters, teachers, and Buzzfeed lists. I also know that the synopsis sounds like a real bummer. Because it […]

March 3, 2017

The title of Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life gives a promise of brevity which the text itself, at over 700 pages, clearly breaks. Even if this novel displays an ironic knowingness or even embarrassment about its length, narrative scale nevertheless has its uses and pleasures. It looks at the outset as though A Little Life […]

March 3, 2017

Haruki Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun is set in 1950s post-war Japan, and centres around the comfortable, complacent existence of Hajime, a family man and owner of a jazz bar. However, Hajime comes to face the internal predicament of whether or not to give up this life when his childhood companion, […]