This seems like a good time to recap on the first year of this blog, and give a few pointers to anyone wading through it looking for something interesting to read.
Please feel free to share your own read(s) of the year in the comment box below.
1. James Salter: Light Years. “So relentlessly seductive … that each time I returned to it I felt like a teenage suitor: giggling, nervous, hot-faced with intimidation.”
2. Salman Rushdie, Shalimar the Clown. “A typically dense multicultural circus, written with verve and vivacity. … Like an eight hundred page book squeezed to half the size.”
3. Indra Sinha, Animal’s People. “A meaty, joyful, feast of a novel, filled with violence, energy and humour.”
4. Brian Moore, The Emperor of Ice Cream. “A perfect amalgam of multi-faceted subject and unfussy form, keeping numerous plates spinning at once. … Elevates Moore into the twentieth century greats.”
6. Patrick Hamilton, The Slaves of Solitude. “Pretty much flawless … Simultaneously horrible, very funny and eventually highly involving.”
7. Peter Ho Davies, The Welsh Girl. “A slow burn triumph … has all the qualities necessary to make it a sure fire modern classic.”
8. Philip Roth, Exit Ghost. “A filling and mature book … elegiac and moving.”
9. Jill Dawson, Watch Me Disappear. “A quite fascinating and subtly horrifying story of girlhood and sex … makes thrusting three-dimensional life from the black-and-white page.”
10. Gore Vidal, Point to Point Navigation. “If it doesn’t move you to weeping then you should have your tear ducts checked by a qualified professional. … A perfect valediction for Vidal.”
11. Stefan Zweig, Twilight/Moonbeam Alley. “Bleak and ironic … one of the finest stories I have ever read.”
12. Jeanette Winterson, The Stone Gods. “Fits so much into 200 pages that I kept checking back to make sure the book was numbered properly.”
Which leaves no room for Don DeLillo’s Falling Man, Gerard Woodward’s I’ll Go to Bed at Noon, Roddy Doyle’s Paula Spencer, Charlotte Mendelson’s When We Were Bad, or J.R. Ackerley’s We Think the World of You…