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Book Reviews
Noontide Toll by Romesh Gunesekera
Romesh Gunesekera has eight works of fiction to his name and his debut novel, Reef, published in 1994, made the Booker Prize shortlist. His new stories are narrated by a taxi-van driver as he ferries passengers through Sri Lanka. These twelve stories conjure that country's efforts to recharge tourism and investment. The author's love for his native place is never in doubt, despite the laconic, acerbic touch. P Kehoe
Experiencing Nirvana ****1/2
The stuff of legend even while it was taking place, the Heavier than Heaven tour saw Nirvana and Sub Pop labelmates Tad bulldozing through Europe in the winter of 1989.
Joining them for the tail end of the trek was Bruce Pavitt, Sub Pop's co-founder, and his photos make up the majority of this beautifully produced book.
Pavitt's mix of tour diary and travelogue is both wistful and matter-of-fact, with anyone who bought Nirvana or Sub Pop releases sure to find nuggets. Thanks for the memories. Harry Guerin
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

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