March 2019 archive

Mar 30 2019

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

This was so great. Told in short, easily digestible chapters that skip between past and present, My Sister, The Serial Killer is narrated by Korede, a nurse in Lagos whose younger sister is developing the unsettling habit of killing off her boyfriends. The first death had a panicked Ayoola begging her meticulous older sister to …

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Mar 28 2019

Firefly: The Magnificent Nine by James Lovegrove

What a sheer delight of a book. Better even than its predecessor, Big Damn Hero, it hits all the fan favorite beats while managing to avoid more adroitly the issues I had with the first book. Captain Mal Reynolds’ annoying mouthiness gets put on the backburner, as does the glorification of the losing rebel army …

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Mar 23 2019

You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt

This is another novel whose story I could have easily wandered in and out of, with just a minor tweak or two. Sarah Zuckerman, the protagonist of You Are One of Them, works for an English-language newspaper in Moscow in the mid-1990s. My newspapers were in Budapest, and I didn’t relocate to Moscow for another …

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Mar 22 2019

Rocannon’s World by Ursula K. Le Guin

Rocannon’s World was Ursula K. Le Guin’s first published novel. It contains some of the forms of a fantasy story but takes place in a science fictional setting, part of the Hainish universe that she developed in several of her later novels, including The Left Hand of Darkness, The Word for World is Forest, and …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/03/22/rocannons-world-by-ursula-k-le-guin/

Mar 21 2019

The Awkward Squad by Sophie Hénaff

Delightful. It’s a bit as if Mick Herron’s superlative Slow Horses were instead a group of washout French cops, though with a far less bleak outlook on life. Commissaire Anne Capestan is in charge. She’s a highly competent, seemingly level-headed professional who has, unfortunately, a tendency to go homicidal when faced with criminal cruelty. Returning …

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Mar 20 2019

The Door by Margaret Atwood

Morning In The Burned House is one of my favorite collections of poetry but I took my time getting to Margaret Atwood’s latest because her recent output of fiction (i.e. pretty much everything after Alias Grace) has been not great to terrible. The Door, sadly, doesn’t reach the heights of MitBH but is still a …

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Mar 17 2019

Ruin’s Wake by Patrick Edwards

Gosh, idk why that took forever to read. I think my brain finally needed a break from the speed with which I’ve been reading lately, and took it out on this novel, which is a quite good dystopian sci-fi jam-packed with ideas that extrapolate quite beautifully from our present-day tech and, to a certain extent, …

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Mar 12 2019

The Near Witch by V. E. Schwab

V. E. Schwab’s first novel reads very much like a first novel. Her writing is terrific, as always, but eeesh, the plot. Or, rather, the insistence on using idiotic reactions to further the plot. Our heroine, Lexi, is a teenage girl in the town of Near. Her father died three years ago, leaving her, her …

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Mar 10 2019

An Interview with Simon Ings, author of The Smoke

Q. Every book has its own story about how it came to be conceived and written as it did. How did The Smoke evolve? A. The Smoke began as the first volume of a trilogy (and I’ve not entirely abandoned the idea even now) set in an alternative 1970s London. Obviously there was something in the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/03/10/an-interview-with-simon-ings-author-of-the-smoke/

Mar 09 2019

The Bridge by David Remnick

Because I am all about timely reading, I have just finished The Bridge, whose subtitle is The Life and Rise of Barack Obama, and which was published in 2010. As Remnick explains in the acknowledgments, his “hope was to write a piece of biographical journalism that, through interviews with his contemporaries and certain historical actors, …

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