Review: Find Me by André Aciman

Find Me is not your normal sequel. It does not carry on a single narrative thread, started in Call Me By Your Name, instead it ties together multiple threads from the same fabric that Call Me By Your Name is a part of. (I am assuming here that you have read Call Me By Your Name, or at least seen the film, for without this you will not understand Find Me, nor this review of it.) For the first hundred pages, Elio is scarcely mentioned, Oliver not at all; yet without a doubt, Find Me is heavily predicated on the events of Call Me By Your Name. As such, one waiting to know what happened in the immediate aftermath of the previous book will be sorely disappointed, however if they give the novel the time it needs, they will come to understand the importance of time, and what has happened as time progressed for Elio, Oliver, and Elio’s father Samuel. Continue reading Review: Find Me by André Aciman

Bookstagram: Is There Purpose Behind the Pictures?

Say Instagram, and the first things that comes to mind are the influencers, advertisements and ‘perfect’ body aspirations. Yet, there is a new emerging corner that combines our aesthetically obsessed culture with the art of reading: bookstagram. Bookstagram is a relatively recent phenomenon which refers to accounts creating weird and wonderful displays of books they are reading and enjoying surrounded by an assortment of objects such as candles, feathers and the odd cup of artisan coffee. However, is this new facet of Instagram really worth your time? Continue reading Bookstagram: Is There Purpose Behind the Pictures?

Should Literary Prizes Privilege Authors Tackling Current Social Issues?

There have never been so many books published and sold as in today’s world. Books are seen as a hobby, or a pastime, something to enjoy and embrace. But as Mario Vargas Llosa reminds us, they are occasionally seen as a dangerous “vehicle of subversive ideas”, and their writers feared as criminals. Sometimes amid the whirlwind narratives of the latest best-seller, readers can forget the power of literature as a political tool. Continue reading Should Literary Prizes Privilege Authors Tackling Current Social Issues?

Review: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

“Fail [the test] and your commitment to the one true way would be voided. Pass it, and the blood was on your hands. As someone once said, We must all hang together or we will all hang separately.”
-Margaret Atwood, The Testaments

 Normally hearing that your train is being held at a red signal for the foreseeable is the last thing anyone wants to hear, but not if you are halfway through The Testaments and are dreading having to get off the train before finishing it. As with Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments is one of those rare books that offers chilling commentary of society and politics yet compels you to read it in one sitting – and at 415 pages this is an achievement. Continue reading Review: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Review: Heat Wave by Penelope Lively

Reading this extraordinarily perceptive novel in my garden during the July heat wave, the cover gradually fading in the sunlight and the pages getting crumpled by my fingers greasy with sun cream, I was absorbed into the world of Penelope Lively’s book: one simmering with barely contained emotions and the heat of an extreme English summertime. At just under 200 pages this book is no … Continue reading Review: Heat Wave by Penelope Lively

Review: Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of the rare pieces of literature that sits in the Venn diagram overlap of edgy teens and Romantic scholars. A tale of creation and loss, ambition and remorse, love and grief, Shelley remains the queen of innovative paralleling, not just in themes but in her characters. Her unique frame narrative of letters, stories, and even her preface never ceases to impress me with its clever overlapping and, while some parts of the tale are so implausible as to seem ridiculous, her intricacy and exquisite language rightly puts Frankenstein in the literary canon.
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Review: Jack by Shane Moore O’Sullivan

“The boys laughed and whispered to me that they were called the Lounge Cats, or something like that, and that they were quite famous. I replied that so was I.” (193)

The taxi driver known as Jack the Hat is undoubtedly a local celebrity in Exeter and its surrounding areas, and had been since long before the publication of this book. This quasi-mythical figure was made known to me before my first year had even started, when a fourth-year friend encouraged me to save the number of his taxi service in my phone. She told me a story of how Jack had helped her friend recover a misplaced credit card, and, in the following months, I heard more and more tales of Jack’s unprecedented kindness and heroism. Continue reading Review: Jack by Shane Moore O’Sullivan