Reading

A Literary Lockdown

As we watched COVID-19 spread across the globe, few anticipated the impact the pandemic would have on the book world. This blog casts its eye over the good and the bad of the literary lockdown, and at how we have learnt to do things differently. Literary Festivals While many literary events cancelled completely, some notable […]

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Plant Hunters

Plant hunters have been responsible for expanding our scientific knowledge, as well as introducing novel species to Europe. Many of the garden plants with which we are familiar today, came to us as a result of the intrepid explorers who ventured to the farthest and most inhospitable reaches of the Earth. The exploits of these […]

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Lost & Waiting: the Wardian Case

The plants and ecoregions of the world are under threat from urbanization, deforestation, mining, landfill, fire, climate change, plus air, water, and soil pollution. Much fine non-fiction nature writing addresses these issues, but is it preaching to the converted? What of the people for whom these concerns are too factual, too serious, too much to […]

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How to write a review

If you’re not famous for something else, if you don’t have some high profile names to spread the word, then you’re largely reliant on reviews, awards, and word-of-mouth. Tim Clare, author and poet, Three Weeks in the Life of a New Book (2019) Before you even get going, read Tim Clare’s blog on the importance […]

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Mexican Gothic

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Family bonds have never been so strong 1950s socialite, Noemí, receives a worrying letter from her recently married cousin, Catalina, and sets off to investigate. Catalina is now living with husband, Virgil, at his family home, High Place, a remote, dilapidated pile in which the family’s history and traditions are kept very […]

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Out Now…

Evangeline’s discovery of a Victorian journal sets in motion a high-octane adventure fusing past, present and myth. When Evangeline comes across a Victorian plant hunter’s journal at Kew, it is the sign she’s been waiting for. Its author, Edwin ‘Chile’ Morgan, claims to have discovered a living myth:  the World Tree. Morgan’s words share life […]

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Lost & Waiting: the Exhibition

Ten of the Best in 2019

In no particular order: Gingerbread by Helen Oyayemi. A dazzling mix of folklore, pop culture, allusions, absurdism and wit. It is Hansel & Gretel, and then some. My Review. The Ice House by Tim Clare. A rip-roaring speculative adventure with the female hero I wanted to read before she was ever written. My review. Bitter […]

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Fever Dream

by Samanta Schweblin (trans. Megan McDowell) Feverish, Argentinian horror. Lying in a hospital bed in rural Argentina, Amanda is visited by eight-year-old stranger, David. A traumatic and terrifying event has brought her to this point and the precocious David cajoles her into confronting the memory. Amanda is immobile and David explains ‘It’s the worms. You […]

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Fox

by Dubravka Ugresic Narrated as though a series of autobiographical essays, heavily footnoted with real and fictitious references, and foxtrotting across continents, cultures and history, Fox takes on the persona of its namesake to explore storytelling, to challenge the form of the novel, and to comment on human survival. Like the fox, the novel is […]

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The Society of Reluctant Dreamers

by José Eduardo Agualusa, Daniel Hahn (Translator) Surreal political fable. Angolan journalist, Daniel Benchimol, comes across a mango-yellow camera floating in the sea. The camera belongs to Moira, the Cotton-Candy-Hair-Woman. Daniel hasn’t met Moira yet, but he has been dreaming about her. They meet and become involved with a Brazilian neuroscientist creating a machine to […]

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Paradise Rot

by Jenny Hval, Marjam Idriss (Translator) Hyper-sensual, surreal and as intense as bletted fruit. Norwegian student, Jo, arrives in a new country to study biology. The strangeness of her new life becomes stranger still when she finds accommodation in a former brewery. The building is rotten to the core. Through its paper-thin, partial partitions, Jo […]

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