The family moved into post-kreppa (crisis) Iceland, and this bright and engaged book details a year of living there as foreigners. The distinction between “Icelander” and “foreigner” is very clear in Icelanders’ minds. Though the title mentions the sea, the book is a refreshing antidote to wrestling-with-the-landscape travel writing. Moss’s two small children need schools, […]
Reading Shuggie Bain entails a kind of archaeology, sifting through the rubble of the lives presented to find gems of consolation, brief sublime moments when the characters slip the bonds of their hardscrabble existence. That the book is never dismal or maudlin, notwithstanding its subject matter, is down to the buoyant life of its two […]
Seven months after Yiyun Li published her 2017 memoir of suicidal depression, Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life, Li’s 16-year-old son, Vincent, killed himself; Li’s short novel of 2019, Where Reasons End, took the form of a bereaved mother’s dialogue with her teenage son, who has taken his own […]
With its focus on illness and uncertainty, it would have been easy for The Tidal Zone to drift. But Adam’s father’s unconventional backstory provides intrigue, and the history of Coventry Cathedral’s rebuilding, told in parallel, lends momentum. Raised from the ruins, its reconstruction also echoes Adam’s efforts to create a new normality for his family, […]
Sarah Moss’s last novel, Bodies of Light, ended in the 1880s with its heroine, Ally, qualifying as one of the first generation of female doctors and marrying Tom, an engineer specialising in the construction of lighthouses. Signs for Lost Children picks up the story weeks later. The young couple have moved to Cornwall, where Ally […]
For anyone finding conversations about the coronavirus pandemic extremely anxiety-inducing, this is not a show to distract you. But Blindness is an exquisitely told story of resilience, violence, and hope. Stevenson’s narration is so vivid, and the tech design so atmospheric, that you’d almost swear you could see each scene playing out in front of […]
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By instinct, I bridle at the frictionlessness of it all. But there’s no gainsaying O Briain’s comic aptitude, while his material is often refreshing in its intelligence, its scepticism of convention and easy simplifications. I enjoyed his scorn for the cult of high-end telly (Breaking Bad; Nordic noir) – even if the interactive routine assembling […]
And we revealed how Prince Harry and Charles’ unbreakable bond means the door is still open for a return to royal life.
When I spent a week with the Hadza tribe in Tanzania, the last hunter-gatherers of East Africa, I was surprised. They seemed to be as lazy as us Westerners. They usually have a lie-in and go only as far as they need to get food, which, as most of the year it is plentiful, is […]