Author Archive

May 22, 2013

Maggie & Me: Damian Barr

by Nicola

Signed copies available – £14.99

Damian Barr MAGGIE AND MEIt wasn’t much fun being a gay kid in Thatcher’s Britain during the Eighties – especially not for Damian Barr, growing up in an aggressively straight community in a Lanarkshire village. His parents separate in 1984, the day that  ‘the blonde woman with a man’s voice’ is seen by the young boy rising from the rubble of The Grand Hotel in Brighton – bombed by the IRA – and taking control. In her he recognises another outsider, a survivor, and this encourages him to work hard and make a better life for himself. I laughed, cried and got angry but I didn’t want it to end.

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July 23, 2011

Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha: Roddy Doyle

by Nicola

Roddy Doyle essentially writes funny books about ordinary lives and this, a classic example of his earlier work, is by far the finest of them.  The fast paced interior monologue of the ten year old protagonist is pitch perfect – fractious, unruly, excitable and entirely the product of the infantile logic of a child.  A wonderful if bittersweet novel – emphasis on the sweet in the beginning and bitter at the end (you will cry, unless you’re hard, like me).

July 23, 2011

Morvern Callar: Alan Warner

by Nicola

Alan Warner’s debut novel is the unusual, stylised tale of the titular Morvern Callar, whose drab life descends into inadvertent amorality.  The stream-of-consciousness first person narrative is both forthright and a little awry – in keeping with the character herself – but unfailingly atmospheric and cool.

July 23, 2011

South of the Border, West of the Sun: Haruki Murakami

by Nicola

Hajime meets and falls in love with a girl in elementary school but loses touch with her when his family moves away. He drifts through high school, college and into his 20s before marrying and settling into a career as a successful bar owner. Then his childhood sweetheart returns  weighed down with secrets. This is a rich, mysterious and moving meditation on the nature of love and in my opinion is Murakami at his best.

July 4, 2011

Acid House: Irvine Welsh

by Nicola

A disgusting, vile and vivid collection of short stories riddled with sex, drugs and insects, plus smatterings ofAmsterdamand Stoke Newington.  Very grubby, very Nineties, and very brilliant.

June 26, 2011

A Single Man: Christopher Isherwood

by Nicola

This is the tale of a day in the life of George. A British man teaching English and living inCaliforniawhose life has changed through the complex emotions grief bestows since losing his partner Jim. It’s a small book filled with subtlety. Isherwood’s prose is spare, mesmerizing: his words well chosen, succinct and meaningful. It is just brilliant.

April 8, 2011

Cathedral: Raymond Carver

by Nicola

The magic and mastery of Carver’s short story writing is nothing short of breathtaking.  Let yourself be swept away into the lives of ordinary folk facing bleak truths, disappointments and small revelations.  Be sure of a sharp jolt ending then spend the rest of the day just thinking.  You will not regret it.

March 25, 2011

Jar City: Arnaldur Indridason

by Nicola

I can’t see this series of books being endorsed by the Icelandic Tourist Board any time soon but don’t let that stop you. In this first instalment of the ‘Reykjavik Murder Mysteries’ we are introduced to troubled detective Erlendur. He’s been sent to investigate the murder of an old man in his Reykjavik flat. The only clues left are a cryptic note and a photograph of a young girls grave. Many years ago the victim was accused of a terrible crime, Erlendur must find out if it came back to haunt him. Every city in the world has a dark side and award winning author Indridason paints for us a plausible picture and will leave you begging for more!