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Showing posts from March, 2016

The Making Of Zombie Wars by Aleksandar Hemon

Forgiveness please for the ongoing tardiness of my updates. This is due in part to an ongoing proofing commitment (which is proving diverting) and also because I'm all turned around by Laird Hunt's Indiana, Indiana, of which more anon.

I'm an advocate, a fan, of Aleksandar Hemon. His Chicago-based Liverpool Football Club affinity aside, his writing, even short stories (or perhaps especially short stories) has always filled me with wonder and excitement and pathos and joy. There is a hard-earned, droll, dry stoicism even as he delivers tales of the horror of the Balkans war. But in trying to cultivate that drollness into a full-blown comic novel I wonder if he's not overreached. 

Joshua 'Jacky' Levin (wait, I'm having Jacky flashbacks) is a struggling screenwriter and uncommitted teacher of English-As-A-Foreign-Language in Chicago. His ideas fill digital note books as evidenced by their liberal seasoning of the novel in attempts to shoe-horn in more absurd lev…

Embassytown by China Miéville

Forgive me, dear readers, for opening yet again with a craven apology, but I am hamstrung with admiration for this book, tongue-tied by its completeness, and ill-equipped to do it justice. First the history. Searching for a book the buying of which would calm some forlorn disquiet brewing in me, I took my son to The Cowbridge Bookshop (don't bother with its website, the domain licence has lapsed, but do patronise) and chanced upon Embassytown. The owner talked at length about The Scar and The City & The City (funny, because purchasing Peridodo Street Station recently from Goliath Books–I mean Waterstones in town the bookseller made the same pitch) while my son was gentle molested by two overly aggressive terrier-crosses, and I walked out marginally less disquieted but also anxious to get stuck in. True to form it was three or four books later before it bubbled to the surface of my to-be-read pool. 

I'd always assumed Miéville was sci-fi. Or horror. Covers hinted at both, at…

Superabundance by Heinz Helle

This advance reading proof was sent to me courtesy of the lovely social media people at Serpent's Tail, whose generosity I immediately abused by relegating it in the TBR list to position three behind The Mule and the long-overdue-for-a-read and tantalisingly whimsical Escape Everything, which meant of course that I was unable to finish it in time to add heft and fizz to the pre-publication literati-media frenzy, surely the main reason such generosity is exhibited by major publishing houses. For that, I'm sorry. So, late to the party as ever, I shout my opinion into the mirror seeing all the while fellow guests and my hosts move behind me to fetch their coats and tidy up spilled hors d'oeuvres and aperitifs.

For such a svelte little piece, this ass certainly has a kick to it. To boil it down, a young man, a research philosopher, moves from his girlfriend and life in Germany to the city of New York, to work for a famous philosopher on problems relating to consciousness and ex…