Members' book reviews

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Max approx 350 words, as a doc not pdf. Photos and graphics will be added. 

An Odyssey

AFather, a Son and an Epic

By Daniel Mendelsohn

Review by Jean Hilder

By award-winning memoirist and critic, and bestselling author of The Lost: a deeply moving tale of a father and son's transformative journey.

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams

By Richard Flanagan

Review by Jean Hilder

Set in Tasmania and Australia, Flanagan juxtaposes his story of climate chaos with the tale of an elderly woman at the end of her life, but kept alive by the artifices of medical science

The Coffin Maker's Garden

By Stuart MacBride, and other recent books about crime and espionage

Review by Sam Laird

The Coffin Maker’s Garden relates the tracking of a long-term brutal serial killer near a fictional town, Oldcastle.  As a cliff-top house slides into the sea in a fierce storm, a number of skeletons appear, setting off the chase.  

Minor Detail

By Adania Shibli

Review by Moira John

This novella is set in the year 1949 in the aftermath of the period, known by Palestinians as the “Nakba” or “Catastrophe,” when hundreds of thousands were driven from their homes in the Palestinian Mandate into exile.

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Love After Love

By Ingrid Persaud

Review by Jean Hilder

A first novel, which won the Costa 1st novel prize in 2019, this book is set in Trinidad , and written in the Trinidadian dialect.  This sets the tone and atmosphere of the book perfectly.

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Sonny's Blues

By James Baldwin

Review by Erica Meltzer

This short story from 1957 is Baldwin at his rawest, most lyrical, most devastating best. A tale of two brothers in Harlem, it packs the trauma of racism and drug addiction.

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Instruments of Darkness

By Imogen Robertson

Review by James Hodgkinson

A detective story: The setting is in the late 18th century and Thornleigh Hall, seat of the Earl of Sussex, dominates its surroundings. Its heir is missing.

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Life After Life

By Kate Atkinson

Review by Hilary Sepahy

If you have ever wondered what your life would have been like if you’d taken a different decision at certain points in your life, then this is Atkinson’s key idea. 

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Fugitive Pieces

By Anne Michaels

Review by Jean Hilder

To say this is a book about the Holocaust is to diminish its scope. 

The richness of the prose envelops you as you read. 

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The Evening And The Morning

By Ken Follett

Review by Sam Laird

Follett’s latest epic novel is the prequel to the highly successful trilogy that began with the best-selling Pillars of the Earth, set in the Middle Ages. 

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The Beekeeper of Aleppo

By Christy Lefteri

Review by Dodie Hodgkinson

The story of the flight of two refugees from Syria to Europe during the Syrian

civil war.

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Girl, Woman, Other

By Bernadine Evaristo

Review by Jean Hilder

Written in a conversational style that is sometimes lyrical, it tells the story of 12 women of colour in the U.K. 

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Un Juif pour l’exemple

(A Jew Must Die)

By Jacques Chessex

Review by Erica Meltzer

This slim, grim and riveting novella is based on a true story, about a Swiss Jew who was brutally murdered by Nazi thugs in 1942.