Serial killers

Face facts, life has bad patches. I'm in one right now: post Italy holiday blues; Skype meltdowns in the middle of calls to the grandies; and Pneumonia. Time was I would have bounced back from all of this, but now it feels more like I am seeping . Seep-back requires that you do nothing. This is…
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Men without women

When Haruki Murakami came out of his study earlier this year and said to his wife: "I'm going to call my latest collection of short stories 'Men Without Women'", I wonder if she thought to say to him: "Hasn't that title already been used darling?" Because it has. Ninety years ago in fact, when none other than Ernest Hemingway…
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The well-mannered read

In this world of alternative truths, acts of terrorism, online dating and climate change, sometimes what one really needs is a well-mannered book. In well-mannered books there is no gratuitous swearing, sex is private, and war (a sometimes necessary evil?) is viewed from a big picture perspective. These are books in which Mr Please and Mr…
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Mothers and daughters

It's a long time since I have read a happy Mothers and Daughters book. Honestly, decades. How can this be? Most of the mothers I know have great relationships with their daughters. Yet current fiction does not support this view, and I have the books to prove it: Let's start with Vivian Gornick's biographical account…
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The chameleon reader

I am a chameleon reader. This is someone who takes on the personality of a character in their current read. In other words, a person who has porous boundaries between their real and their imaginary worlds. The person most affected by this is my husband - who has taken to tentatively entering the house at…
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