Naomi Lieberman has flown the nest of her hometown in Liverpool to seek the bright lights of London. Despite having a degree in forensic science, Naomi finds herself working as a sales assistant at a sex shop in Soho. This is just one of many shameful secrets she has to hide from her Orthodox Jewish [...]
Ten Suggestions for Summer Reading
New Year’s Eve
It’s New Year’s Eve in Kraków, 1992. Club-footed photocopyist Leo has allowed his homeless friend Ania to share the evening with him in the warmth of his post-communist bachelor pad. But what he longs to do, once Ania finally goes, is to continue reading the diary of the mysterious Tamara, who left her book in his [...]
Beneath a Scarlet Sky – unsung hero or oversung novel?
The other day I found myself on a Ryanair plane to London, with two and a half blissful hours of peace in front of me. Yippee! - I thought giddily to myself. No internet to interrupt the long, imminent reading session that lay ahead! I snuggled down in my seat (‘snuggling’ is something that’s pretty [...]
The Silent Patient: Great book; mediocre writing?
I thought I’d have a blog-chat about something completely different this week. Namely, about a novel that everyone in the bookish world appears to be talking about of late: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelikes. I’ve read a lot of books this summer holiday, but The Silent Patient is one that I have found almost impossible [...]
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely … Lost for Words? Great vs Mediocre Writing
I’ve been thinking lately, as we all do. But I’ve been thinking specifically about what makes a great book, as opposed to merely a mediocre book. I won’t bother conjecturing about what makes a bad book, even though lots of those get published as well and sometimes even acclaimed as bestsellers. In my opinion, the [...]
Self-harm, heartache or toothache – which is worse?
I’ve just come back home from a minor operation, and the memory of the surgeon’s knife cutting through flesh, sinews and bones has set my brain neurons hurtling all asunder. Of course I didn’t feel any pain during the actual operation itself, thanks to the sweet liberation of anesthesia. But the very mention of the [...]