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Book Reviews
He Wants by Alison Moore
Alison Moore’s first novel, The Lighthouse, was deservedly shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2012. In this, her second novel Moore relentlessly depicts a prim, boring England. The author spends so long describing the childhood of her character, Lewis, a retired Religious Education teacher, that by the time she links him up with his long-lost childhood friend, Sydney, it’s almost too late.
England and Other Stories, Swift
The 25 stories in Graham Swift's new collection examine England and the people who live there from quirky angles, tales that mostly engage completely from start to finish. Swift won the Booker Prize for Last Orders and the Guardian Fiction Prize for Waterland. (Both were adapted as successful films, the former starring Michael Caine.) There is something luminous and clear-eyed about Swift, he makes prose exciting. PK
Echo's Bones by Samuel Beckett
The story Echo’s Bones is too in love with its future necessity for footnotes, and is little more than a young man's creation, written under the close shadow of James Joyce. Intended for the More Pricks Than Kicks story collection, Echo's Bones failed to make the cut and was rejected in 1933. So this is its first publication, over 80 years on. Worth it for the foot-notes though. EDited by Mark Nixon. Hardback, Faber & Faber. P Kehoe
A `holloway’ is an ancient sunken path, examples of which are found in the sandstone of South Dorset in the UK. None is younger than 300 years old, and they were used as ways to market, to the sea and as routes to holy places. This short 36-page essay recalls two trips along a particular holloway, in 2004 and in 2011. A poetic, evocative report by Robert Macfarlane & Dan Richards, with line drawings by Stanley Donwood. P Kehoe
The Mighty Dead by Adam Nicolson
Homer’s epic poems, The Iliad and the Odyssey, are the oldest stories that mankind has for reading and their complex origins are explored in this fascinating book.The current orthodoxy is that The Iliad and The Odyssey are the product of the eighth century BC. After due consideration, Nicolson argues that the poems became part of the oral tradition much earlier, around 2000 BC. Scholarly yet passionate and accessible too. P Kehoe

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