Man Booker Prize 2014

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Review of

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

4.5star.jpg Literary Fiction

Dorrigo Evans was born in Cleveland, Tasmania, in the years just after the First World War, and overcame his lower-class origins to become a surgeon. In the novel's present day, he is a 77-year-old war hero writing a preface to the sketchbook a fellow POW kept on the Death Railway. 'Horror can be contained within a book, given form and meaning. But in life horror has no more form than it does meaning,' he eventually writes. Full Review



Review of

To Rise Again At A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

4star.jpg General Fiction

An identity thief is wreaking havoc in the oddest of ways and forcing a dentist to confront his online presence. This is a book like no other you’ll know.

We were having a discussion the other day about how there are lots of TV shows about doctors and lots about lawyers, but other professions, say accountants or vets or dentists, get less of a look in. Just not as sexy, we thought. Just not as funny. Then this book came along and, in an extremely timely manner, changed my mind entirely. This is the stuff sitcoms could be made of. Full Review


Review of

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

4star.jpg Literary Fiction

Rosemary's childhood is blighted by the disappearance of her sister, Fern. Rosemary went to stay with her grandparents and, on her return Fern was no longer there. Curiously enough, her mother and father don't speak of it. The knock on effect was the angry departure of Rosemary's older brother Lowell whom she also misses. As she grows to adulthood, Rosemary remembers trying to come to terms with this, the damage that being a daughter of a psychologist has wrought and the revealed secrets that will finally make sense of it all. Full Review


Review of

J by Howard Jacobson

3.5star.jpg Literary Fiction

J marks an unusual turn for Howard Jacobson. Though it seems at times like a skewed folk tale, it also bears the subtle signs of a future dystopia. It has some of Jacobson's trademark elements – odd names, humorous metaphors, and Semitic references – but felt to me like a strange departure after The Finkler Question and Zoo Time. Full Review


Review of

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

4.5star.jpg Literary Fiction

Many generations of the Ghosh family live together in a single house in 1960's Calcutta, albeit a very big single house. Life may be materially comfortable but not easy. Jealousy, in-fighting, the struggle to keep the family business going (and, for the younger family members, the struggle to lead the life they'd like) causes more than the odd sleepless night. Son Supratik has succeeded in choosing a different path though. He's tired of the endless consumption and acquisition and leaves home to follow his Marxist beliefs, exchanging family living for discomfort and danger. Full Review


Review of

How to be Both by Ali Smith

4.5star.jpg Literary Fiction

There’s something which you need to know about this book: if you decide to read it, the book you read might not be the same as the one which I’ve read and am about to review. There are, you see, two stories in each copy and half the books published will have the story of Francescho Del Cossa who worked in and around Ferrara in the fifteenth century followed by the story of George - really Georgia - who lives with her father and younger brother in twentieth century Cambridge. The other books will have the stories in reverse order. The stories are the same, but the experiences of the readers will be quite different. Full Review


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