The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales

Review by Max Scratchmann

The Rental Heart, by Kirsty Logan, is more than just a short story collection. It is a Pandora’s box, a literary confection, a doorway to a place of magical enchantment.

These stories are flights of pure fantasy, sometimes Magical Realism, sometimes Steampunk, sometimes Fairy Tales. Most defy categorisation (more…)

January 8, 2015 at 10:59 am Leave a comment

Kirsty Logan

Kirsty Logan lives in Glasgow, a fiction writer, journalist, literary magazine editor, teacher, and book reviewer. She has an MLitt in Creative Writing from Glasgow University, and has won a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust and the Gillian Purvis Award. Her first published book was a short story collection, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales. Her second book is a novel, The Gracekeeper, due out in 2015. She regularly performs her stories at events and festivals in Scotland and performances further afield.

January 8, 2015 at 10:54 am Leave a comment

Sicilian Uncles

Review by Steve Savage

There are four longish stories in Sicilian Uncles, by Leonardo Sciascia. Until a few days ago, had you asked me what they were about, I would have said that they were all set in Sicily and were all about uncles in one way or another. Admittedly, one of the uncles was Uncle Joe, as Stalin used to be known, but there were four uncles. However, when I came to read the book a second time, I discovered that my memory was quite false. (more…)

January 8, 2015 at 10:34 am Leave a comment

Leonardo Sciascia

Leonardo Sciascia was born in Racalmuto, Sicily, in 1921. Apart from a few years in Rome, he lived most of his life in Sicily. He was on the left and wrote on political affairs. As well as the book of stories, Sicilian Uncles, Sciascia wrote a number of novels, including Salt in the Wound, The Day of the Owl, The Council of Egypt, A Man’s Blessing and Equal Danger. He died in 1989.

January 8, 2015 at 10:32 am Leave a comment

Vixen

Review by Max Scratchmann

Having particularly enjoyed Rosie Garland‘s gothic Palace of Curiosities I formed an eager queue at Waterstones for her latest opus, Vixen, but found a completely different bill of fare on offer.

One of the things I loved most about Palace of Curiosities was its sense of Victorian claustrophobia and dark urban settings, as if all the scenes took place by the light of whale-oil lamps in the dank chambers of tottering rooming-houses; but Vixen, in its early chapters at least, appears to be a bright and sunny romp through the forests and hamlets of medieval England (more…)

October 2, 2014 at 2:48 pm

The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum

Review by Steve Savage

This short novel was written by Heinrich Böll in the early 1970s, at a time when the West German authorities were confronted by the Baader-Meinhof gang, whose leaders had been arrested in 1972.

The book starts with an item of information, that one Katharina Blum has telephoned a Crime Commissioner to tell him that she has shot and killed a newspaper reporter. The narrator then investigates, in an apparently aimless and hesitant fashion, the events leading up to this dramatic turn of events. (more…)

October 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm Leave a comment

Heinrich Böll

Heinrich Böll was born in Cologne in 1917. Conscripted into the German army during the Second World War, he became a writer after the war, and was attacked by rightwingers for the views expressed in his writings. Later in his life, he left the Catholic church. Böll was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1972. His books include The Train Was on Time, Billiards at Half-past Nine, The Clown, Group Portrait with Lady and The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum. Böll died in 1985.

October 2, 2014 at 2:45 pm Leave a comment

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