Books

05/06/12

I’ve been craving the taste of a raw Wellington language. Something less polished than its acclaimed authors, more considered than its small-talking streets and mouthy pubs. I’ve been after it in its frankest expression; played with like bath foam blown in the air or slapped on the chin as a beard. Words bind, and people [...]

28/05/12

If you haven’t heard of A Game of Thrones by now, you probably don’t exist. HBO’s hit series has made the books huge, but volume one of A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel stands apart from it. Daniel Abraham has done a fantastic job adapting the book to a visual medium–all the crucial elements [...]

28/05/12

“One should be careful mixing law and morality,” Jo Nesbø’s crime-fighting protagonist is warned in the dying moments of Phantom. It’s a tasty statement, and a knowing one, too. 400 pages into proceedings, not a single character had traversed this tightrope successfully. But then again, what sensible reader would demand solid moral guidance from a [...]

21/05/12

A Dense Interview With helen Lowe, Author of The Gathering Of The Lost K: Your books feature characters from a wide variety of different cultures, but they all feel extremely real. What’s your process for writing so many realistic charcters? H: Usually what happens for me is that I’ll have an idea for a character that [...]

14/05/12

Set on Dejima, the fan-shaped artificial island that housed and hid foreign traders from an isolationist Japan, David Mitchell’s Thousand Autumns follows the Dutchman De Zoet as he fumbles his way through love, some dodgy company accounts, and a fair amount of dark magic. Perhaps a reflection of what is happening around them on a [...]

14/05/12

‘Several days before Christmas 2003, Joan Didion’s only daughter, Quintana, fell seriously ill. In 2010, Didion marked the sixth anniversary of her daughter’s death. Blue Nights is a shatteringly honest examination of Joan Didion’s life as a mother, a woman and a writer.’ It was with the expectation of infinite sadness I started Blue Nights. [...]

07/05/12

SALIENT TALKS TO JOHN JULIAN: AUTHOR OF BLACK TIDE: THE STORY BEHIND THE RENA DISASTER     Kurt: Could you briefly introduce yourself? John: I’ve been writing about various aspects of life at sea for about fifteen years. I’m 55 years old; I was originally at Lloyds at London, which as you may know is still [...]

30/04/12

Having only a minimal interest in classical music (at best), I was wary of picking up Sarah Quigley’s The Conductor. It’s an historical novel which details the development and eventual performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, a performance hindered by its being produced and performed in Leningrad during the 1941-42 Nazi Siege of Leningrad. This juxtaposition creates a [...]

30/04/12

The Sense of an Ending is Julian Barnes’s eleventh novel and was seen as a triumph on its publication last year. Amongst numerous other accolades, it won the 2011 Man Booker prize, and for good reason. Barnes’s prose is clear and melodic, exploring the fallibility of memory in subtle and exciting ways. He bends and manipulates [...]