This month’s book haul

First up is ‘rest and be thankful’ by Emma Glass. I loved her last novel, ‘Peach’, which was a disturbing look at a disturbed life. This new novel couldn’t be more pertinent for the times we are living in: ‘Laura is a nurse on a paediatric unit. On long, quiet shifts, she and her colleagues, clad in their different shades of blue, care for sick babies, handling their exquisitely frangible bodies, carefully calibrating the mysterious machines that keep them alive. Laura may be burned out. Her hands have been raw from washing as long as she can remember. When she sleeps, she dreams of water; when she wakes, she finds herself lying next to a man who doesn’t love her anymore. And there is a strange figure dancing in the corner of her vision, always just beyond her reach…’

‘Modern Times’ is a collection of short stories (‘snapshots of an unsettling, dislocated world‘) by someone unknown to me: Cathy Sweeney. However, it has been published by ‘The Stinging Fly’, an wonderful Irish publisher who  published my beloved Claire Louise Bennett as well as Colin Barrett: a sign of quality (fingers crossed!)

The Stinging Fly connection continues with Naoise Dolan‘s ‘Exciting Times’, part of which was originally published in the magazine of the same name. Described by Hilary Mantel as ‘Droll, shrewd and unafraid‘, ‘Exciting Times’ concerns the relationships and situations ensuing from a 22 year old’s gap year. Comparisons to Sally Rooney have been made…

The final novel of the month is Garth Greenwell‘s follow up to ‘What Belongs to You’, a book I had very mixed feelings about. ‘Cleanness’ comes from the same world as ‘What Belongs…’ (gay relationships in a former Eastern Block country) and I thought I would give Greenwell a second chance…and the book a SO lovely, a solid block of orange with grey edging to the pages. Let’s hope the insides match up…

Finally, another photographic piece of joy from the Hoxton Mini Press. Over the past couple of years this small, London based press have been producing photographic books, not least their ‘Vintage Britain’ series, each with a specific theme or artist. The latest is ‘Butlin’s Holiday Camp 1982’ and delivers just what it says on the tin. A cheery slice of homely fun with a slight edge of melancholy. I can’t recommend these books highly enough (especially ‘Paradise Street’ which collects photos of children at play in the street, and ‘Dog Show 1861-1978’ which focusses on a lesser known works of the great Shirley Baker, more famous for her street photography)


This entry was posted in Cathy Sweeney, Emma Glass, Garth Greenwell, Naoise Dolan and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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