The Silent Patient: Great book; mediocre writing?

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

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?

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 [...]

African Mr Darcy meets Jewish sex shop worker – love at first sight?

African Mr Darcy meets Jewish sex shop worker – love at first sight?

Extract from ONCE UPON A THOUSAND HILLS.  Tense interview between sex shop worker Naomi Lieberman and Rwandan Director of a London refugee centre.   I step inside the room, closing the door behind me. “Hello, I’m –” And suddenly, I stop. I’m lost for words. Even though only two words need follow. “Naomi Lieberman?” I nod. [...]

Forget the Maldives – come to Rwanda!

Forget the Maldives – come to Rwanda!

If you hear the name Rwanda, most people will either: associate it with the mountain gorilla; recall the appalling genocide of 1994 that swept across the country with devastating speed, claiming a million lives in the process; ask you: “Rwanda? Who’s that?” (which is precisely what a young shop assistant said when I enquired about [...]