Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Mavis Gallant’s “Going Ashore” (1954)

For the first time, twelve-year-old Emma Ellinger feels truly connected to her mother. They are finally “doing something together, alone, with no man, no Uncle Anyone, to interfere”.

Tangier, Moracco 1887 Click for source data

It’s true that the cruise hasn’t gone entirely as planned; they have packed the wrong clothes (all summer dresses, […]


María Dueñas’ The Time In Between (2011)

Atria Books, 2011

The Time In Between is essential reading for those who thought that reading about the Spanish Civil War meant Hemingway and Orwell.

In her lush and sprawling novel, María Dueñas presents the era via the perspective of  “an independent woman in difficult times”.

There was no room for a seamstress like Sira in the […]


Secrets = Complications

I admit it: the first feeling that I had when I saw Laila Lalami’s novel was relief, relief that it was obviously shorter than so many of the novels I wanted to read so quickly as part of the Orange Prize longlist reading I wanted to do.

Not very propitious, but that was it. I […]