Books, Fiction

452 articles

Sorted by popularity / date

Teju Cole - Every Day is For the Thief

4 Apr 20144 stars

A powerful blend of fiction, memoir and travelogue set in modern Nigeria

Returning home for the first time in 15 years, the unnamed narrator of Teju Cole's novel Every Day is for the Thief plunges into the chaos and exhausting inefficiency of a Nigeria plagued by corruption. Bribes are disguised as tips while extortion and…

Peter Buwalda - Bonita Avenue

4 Apr 20144 stars

A compelling tale that grips from its innocuous start to its pitch-black conclusion

University Rector, judo champion and famed mathematician Siem Sigerius is slowly being driven mad with suspicions that his step-daughter's boyfriend may be pimping her out on an internet porn site. The boyfriend, meanwhile, is barely managing to control…

Interview: Liam Murray Bell discusses his new novel The Busker

2 Apr 2014

The author of So It Is tackles the music industry, Occupy and homelessness in his latest novel

Would you rather be a musician or a writer? I’m happy being a writer because I don’t think I was quite cut out to be a musician to be quite honest. I was in a band as a teenager – it was myself and another singer but I was the sort of ‘Bez’ character…

Daniela Sacerdoti - Take Me Home

28 Mar 20143 stars

A predictable chick-lit romance develops into a moving study in grief

Take Me Home begins like a predictable romantic comedy: the ditzy heroine Inary, the token sensible flatmate and the best-friend love interest. Then there’s a dramatic shift: bland London is left behind for the atmospheric hills of Glen Avich and…

Keir Alexander - The Ruby Slippers

28 Mar 20143 stars

A simple message and some good characterisation survive Alexander's soap opera plotting

The seemingly unconnected cast of characters living in Manhattan in Keir Alexander's multi-narrative novel are gradually drawn together by a pair of ruby slippers. Originally worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, they are discovered in old Rosa’s…

back to top

Cilla & Rolf Börjlind - Spring Tide

28 Mar 20144 stars

An impressive thriller with sinister villains, surprising twists and likeable protagonists

When police college student Olivia Rönning is offered an old unsolved murder case as a class assignment, she can't resist it, and any plans she had for the summer break are soon put on hold as she is drawn into a complex mystery involving a pregnant…

Damon Galgut - Arctic Summer

28 Mar 20144 stars

An absorbing fictional biography of EM Forster, set around the time of A Passage to India

It's been 90 years since EM Forster – the author of classics A Room with a View and Howards End – published his final novel. Yet he remains one of the most influential and best-loved writers in the English language. Damon Galgut's new novel looks at the…

Interview: Nick Brooks, author of Indecent Acts

27 Mar 2014

The novel considers the challenge of expressing adult intelligence with limited language skills

Your new novel Indecent Acts explores the daily struggles of Grace, a semi-literate 40-something mother from Drumchapel. What inspired you to write her story? The germ of the novel came about while I was organising literacy groups around west Glasgow.

Cara Hoffman - Be Safe I Love You

27 Mar 20144 stars

A brave, intelligent and unflinching war novel told from the perspective of a female soldier

Lauren Clay returns from Iraq apparently unharmed. But while she tries to reconnect with the friends and family she left, they begin to see that something is very wrong with Lauren. Her post-combat life is balanced with memories of her childhood, which…

Louise Welsh - A Lovely Way to Burn

27 Mar 20143 stars

The first instalment in Welsh's Plague Times trilogy is a solid, pacy murder mystery

Stevie's boyfriend is dead. This in itself is not unusual: the 'sweats' pandemic is sweeping the globe and death is suddenly everywhere. What is unusual is the cryptic letter he left her in the tea caddy, and the mysterious package in the loft that his…

back to top

Tom Vowler - That Dark Remembered Day

27 Mar 20144 stars

A thoughtful and engrossing examination of war, masculinity, marriage and PTSD

Tom Vowler's third book is a thoughtful and engrossing examination of war, masculinity, marriage, and the scars that violent acts leave on a family and a community. The narrative switches between two timelines: in 2012, after a sudden violent outburst…

Samuel Best - Shop Front

19 Mar 20143 stars

A realistic if downbeat picture of aimless breadline existence, with a satisfying and plausible end

Ben had high hopes for his future after university, but as this story begins he is on a train heading to Linlithgow, facing the prospect of moving back in with his parents and paying his way with a minimum-wage job at ASDA. His rut deepens as he…

Joanna Bolouri - The List

28 Feb 20145 stars

A fearless approach to sex and romance that's a refreshing change from the Bridget Jones archetype

Move over Bridget Jones – Phoebe Henderson is in town. This fiery 30-something singleton is recently out of a relationship and has one thing in mind: sexual liberation; or more precisely, a list. A new year's resolution she intends to keep, the list…

Dan Rhodes – When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow

28 Feb 20143 stars

A broad farce focusing on an irascible character by the name of Richard Dawkins

Dan Rhodes provides several reasons as to why this, his sixth novel, is his first to be self-published. Mainly, it’s a case of speed – going down the traditional route would involve a year-long delay between completion and publication; now we can enjoy…

Adele Patrick (ed.) - 21 Revolutions

25 Feb 20144 stars

An eye-opening collection of art and writing from a who’s who of Scottish women creatives

21 Revolutions is the culmination of celebrations marking 21 years of the Glasgow Women’s Library. This ambitious coffee-table book is a success both in terms of the quality of its content and, perhaps more significantly, in the way it shines such a…

back to top

Interview: Sarah Hilary, author of Someone Else's Skin

19 Feb 2014

'I wanted to write about a crime with many witnesses, but unreliable ones'

What inspired Someone Else’s Skin? I wanted to write about a crime with many witnesses, but unreliable ones; the idea that we don’t always know what we’re seeing. For years I’ve been haunted by a wartime propaganda photograph of my family, in which…

James Scott - The Kept

12 Feb 20142 stars

Odd rhythms, unconvincing character arcs and clumsy prose let down a good 19th century revenge drama

It starts in the aftermath of a mass-murder. Midwife Elspeth returns to her homestead to find her family gunned down in cold blood, and her adopted son Caleb the lone, traumatised survivor. The remainder of the story follows their journey as they embark…

Deborah Levy - The Unloved

11 Feb 20144 stars

Levy's pivotal and subversive murder mystery is re-issued for a new generation

First published in 1994 and recently re-issued for a new generation of readers, The Unloved remains a pivotal novel in Deborah Levy’s career. The strange brilliance of her imagination permeates the narrative, maintaining the emotional experimentation of…

Frei Betto - Hotel Brasil

11 Feb 20143 stars

An occasionally laboured crime novel that will reward determined readers

Fear and paranoia thrive in the hearts of guests at a dilapidated Rio de Janeiro hotel where the brutal murder of a resident, whose body has been decapitated and mutilated, is yet to be solved by the corrupt local police force. As the twisting plot…

Simon Beckett - Stone Bruises

5 Feb 20143 stars

An atmospheric and immersive tale about a fleeing Brit's misadventures in rural France

Attempting to escape from unknown assailants for reasons initially unexplained, Sean flees from his native London to rural France. He is then forced to seek refuge on a desolate farm run by a brutish farmer and his two daughters, following an accident…

back to top

Louise Levene - The Following Girls

4 Feb 20143 stars

A high school novel full of 1970s period detail but lacking in character

Sixteen year old Amanda Baker finds school unremittingly tedious. Her only solace is her gang, The Mandies, who live off a diet of cigarettes, gossip and practical jokes. That is, until Amanda is chosen to be the confidante of golden girl with a dirty…

Tim Walker - Completion

30 Jan 20144 stars

A warm and invigorating debut novel detailing the lives of a broken family and their shared home

Completion essentially tells four stories, flitting between the lives of divorced couple Jerry and Pen Manville and their two grown children, Conrad and Isobel. Tying this broken unit together is the old family home on Highbury Hill, the setting for…

Peter Swanson - The Girl with a Clock for a Heart

29 Jan 20143 stars

A cinematic American noir that's often visceral and compelling, but feels like a lead-up to a sequel

Its title may feel like an opportunistic echo of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, but Peter Swanson's debut novel is much more American noir than Scandi thriller. There are flecks of LA Confidential in its sensuousness, and shades of Vertigo in its…

Nina de la Mer - Layla

28 Jan 20143 stars

An authentic work of modern feminism that explores London’s lap dancing culture

As a teenage mother parted from her infant son, Hayleigh has moved to London and become Layla, a lap dancer whose world is quickly consuming her. With her second novel Brighton-based Scottish author Nina de la Mer has delivered an authentic work of…

Michelle de Kretser - Questions of Travel

21 Jan 20143 stars

An intelligent novel with a sardonic bite that will crush any clichés for the romantic traveller

Questions of Travel does exactly what it says on the tin, provoking observations and philosophical musings upon the who, what and why of travelling. Beginning in the eighties and the ensuing internet boom, the story juxtaposes two characters to convey…