• The Sundays of Jean Dezert by Jean de La Ville de Mirmont | Book Review

    24th January 2022 by

    Jean de La Ville de Mirmont (1886 – 1914)  was killed at the age of 27 during the World War I. He was an author of a collection of poetry, short stories and a 1914 self-published novella, The Sundays of Jean Dezert. Mirmont was a close friend of another French writer and the 1952 Nobel… Read more

  • Blue Skinned Gods by SJ Sindu | Book Review

    1st December 2021 by

    Blue Skinned Gods by SJ Sindu is a compelling, thoughtful coming of age story exploring identity, belief systems, perception of the Other, sexuality, family relationships spanning across two continents, different cultures and traditions. Storytelling is beautiful, extremely moving and emphatic. The protagonist of the book is a boy with blue skin called Kalki who is… Read more

  • Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym | Book Review

    18th November 2021 by

    Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym published in 1977 (and nominated for the Booker Prize) is a poignant exploration of loneliness. This is a story of four single people in their 60s: Marcia, Letty, Edwin and Norman who have worked together for several years in an office in Central London doing unspecified clerical work. They… Read more

  • The Wheel by Jennifer Lane | Book Review

    13th October 2021 by

    “In the world we live in, we have been taught from a young age that traditionally masculine traits are what will make us succeed; intelligence is measured logically through tick-box tests, the loudest voice in the room tends to win the debate and we are told to be cruel to fight our way to the… Read more

  • No Touching by Ketty Rouf | Book Review

    4th October 2021 by

    “Today , I don’t exist. Tomorrow, I probably won’t, either. (…)Today is the first day of school.” “Exhausted. (…) Do your job. Hang on. (…) It is a truly wretched existence, one that drove me to seek stimulation by reading the great philosophers. Where the hell did I get the ludicrous idea of finding happiness… Read more

  • Invisible Ink by Patrick Modiano | Book Review

    25th September 2021 by

    “It comforted me to think that even if you sometimes have memory gaps, all the details of your life are written somewhere in invisible ink.” “I did not want to quantify my life. I let it flow by, like mad money that slips through your fingers. I wasn’t careful. When I thought about the future,… Read more

  • The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

    The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak | Book Review

    29th August 2021 by

    ‘Where do you start someone’s story when every life has more than one thread and what we call birth is not the only beginning, nor is death exactly an end?’ ‘People on both sides of the island [Cyprus] suffered – and people on both sides would hate it if you said that aloud. Why? Because… Read more

  • The Memory Monster by Yishai Sarid | Book Review

    17th August 2021 by

    The Memory Monster by an Israeli writer Yishai Sarid is an excellent novel, one of the best books I have read on the banality of evil, memory, how we process the past, how we relate to the darkest chapters of the human history, how we understand human brtutality. Do we learn from the history, especially… Read more

  • The German Room by Carla Maliandi

    The German Room by Carla Maliandi | Book Review

    15th August 2021 by

    “No matter where I go, I’m still broken. And now I’m thousands of miles from home, in a place where I barely speak the language and I have no idea what to do.”  “Even if I crossed the whole world looking for a place to feel at home, I wouldn’t belong anywhere.”  The German Room… Read more

  • The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun | Book Review

    20th July 2021 by

    “Not all disasters catch your eye. The ones that become real issues are distinct. (…) The disaster has to be on a certain scale for busy people to take the time to sympathise or pay attention. (…) The empathy can fade too. (…) If you compared several disasters that had occurred at similar times and… Read more

  • Fresh Water For Flowers by Valerie Perrin | Book Review

    14th July 2021 by

    Fresh Water for Flowers is the most extraordinary, moving tribute to the resilience of human spirit. I must admit that I don’t remember when last time I was so deeply touched by a story. This book hugs YOU, offers comfort and numerous moments of tenderness, as well as it evokes the spirit of profound emotions… Read more

  • The Last Summer of Reason by Tahar Djaout | Book Review

    4th July 2021 by

    “Books — the closeness of them, their contact, their smell, and their contents — constitute the safest refuge against this world of horror. They are the most pleasant and the most subtle means of traveling to a more compassionate planet.” Tahrar Djaout (1954 – 1993) was one of the most talented Algerian writers of the… Read more

  • North Korea Like Nowhere Else by Lindsey Miller | Book Review

    30th June 2021 by

    North Korea Like Nowhere Else is a photographic exploration of the life in North Korea from the unique perspective of the Westerner living in the capital city of Pyongyang between 2017 and 2019. Through a series of evocative as well as informative stories, anecdotes and captivating photos accompanied by the author’s very sensitive, insightful and… Read more

  • Internat [The Orphanage] by Serhiy Zhadan | Book Review

    13th June 2021 by

    Internat also published in English under the title ‘The Orphanage’ by the Ukrainian writer Serhiy Viktorovych Zhadan (Serhij Zadan) is my favourite book I have read so far this year and definitely one of the best books I have ever read. Yale University Press published an English translation of this magnificent novel in April 2021… Read more

  • A Bookshop in Algiers by Kaouther Adimi | Book Review

    5th June 2021 by

    A Bookshop in Algiers by the Algerian writer Kaouther Adimi is a literary feast. This book might be small in size, just under 150 pages, but it is dense with captivating literally anecdotes related to both Algerian and French titans of literature as well as with many unique perspectives on the history and culture of… Read more

  • A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar | Book Review

    23rd May 2021 by

    “I found something in Siena, for which I am yet to have a description, but for which I have been searching, and it came (…) at that strange meeting point of two contradictory events – the bright achievement of having finished a book and the dark maturation of the likelihood, inescapable now, that I will… Read more

  • Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman | Book Review

    9th May 2021 by

    If you are not familiar with a wonderful Dutch historian, Rutger Bregman, I would highly recommend you to watch his 2017 TED Presentation: ‘Poverty Isn’t a Lack of Character, It’ s a Lack of Cash.’ Also, I would encourage you to watch his now viral talk at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos where… Read more

  • Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri | Book Review

    8th May 2021 by

    Whereabouts was originally written in Italian by the Bengali-American writer, Jhumpa Lahiri who also translated the book herself.   “Solitude: it’s become my trade. (…) It’s a condition I try to perfect”.   Written in forty-six short vignettes, Whereabouts portrays daily wanderings and inner workings of the narrator’s mind who is a solitary unnamed woman… Read more

  • Anna Langfus | Introduction

    13th April 2021 by

    I would like to share with you a lit bit about one of my favourite writers who is almost unknown these days to the anglophone audience. I hope that some of my French followers might have read some of the books by this remarkable author of a profound sensitivity.   Her name was Anna Langfus (1920… Read more

  • Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley | Book Review

    5th April 2021 by

    Hot Stew is the second novel by Fiona Mozley whose debut novel, Elmet was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize. Hot Stew is a wonderful ode to London’s Soho providing a sharp social analysis of life in a modern metropolis. The book tackles the issues of gentrification, social class, stigmatisation, poverty, privilege, London’s housing… Read more

  • The Photographer at Sixteen by George Szirtes | Book Review

    5th April 2021 by

    “Displacement hits you later than you expect, just when you think you have settled down and become part of the world all over again. That is when it begins to ache, when a certain inarticulable desolation creeps in. Your body is not where your body ought to be (…). It is as if you had… Read more

  • El Excluido [‘The Excluded’] by David San Jose Martinez | Book Review

    29th March 2021 by

    El Excluido’ [‘The Excluded’] by the great Spanish writer, David San Jose Martinez. This book is a wonderful literary achievement, beautifully written with a very rich language, a veil of nostalgia and profound emotional sensitivity. It is a novel but its form – the collection of vignettes, somewhat separated, somewhat connected, is very innovative. El… Read more

  • In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri | Book Review

    28th March 2021 by

    “Why do I write? To investigate the mystery of existence. (…) To get closer to everything that is outside of me. (…)Writing is my only way of absorbing (…) life.”  In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri   constitutes an astonishingly beautiful discourse exploring the subjects of identity, the meaning of exile, belonging, cultural displacement, alienation,… Read more

  • Cockroaches by Scholastique Mukasonga | Book Review

    2nd March 2021 by

    “Nothing in Rwanda was left in me but a wound that could never be healed.”  “Humiliated, afraid, waiting day after day for what was to come, what we didn’t have a word for: genocide. And I alone preserve the memory of it. And that’s why I am writing this.”   “Where are they? Somewhere deep in… Read more

  • The Melancholic Soul of Fernando Pessoa | Reflections

    16th February 2021 by

    “Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.” A few thoughts from “The Book of Disquiet” by Fernando Pessoa (1888 – 1935), a Portuguese writer who is the dearest to my heart. Fernando was a Portuguese poet, considered one of the most significant literary figures of the early 20th century, and one of the… Read more

  • Medallions by Zofia Nalkowska | Book Review

    14th February 2021 by

    Medallions by a Polish novelist and essayist, Zofia Nalkowska (1884 – 1954)  Medallions is considered the masterpiece in the world Holocaust literature, deeply influences by Nalkowska’s experience as a member of the Commission for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes which was established in 1945. During that time, she visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek, Treblinka and many… Read more

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman | Book Review

    10th February 2021 by

    “If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.” “Time only blunts the pain of loss. It doesn’t erase it.” “I… Read more

  • The Readers’ Room by Antoine Laurain | Book Review

    9th February 2021 by

    “Marcel Proust, Iike all writers of genius, had succeeded – and he more than any other – in this transmutation which is the very essence of literature: a spirit and soul embodied in a rectangle of bound paper, living on after them.” “The Readers’ Room” by Antoine Laurain This little mystery book serves as a… Read more

  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri | Book Review

    10th January 2021 by

    “𝑺𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆𝒔 𝒘𝒆 𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒆 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒑𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒇𝒖𝒍 𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔, 𝒔𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒘𝒆 𝒅𝒐 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒈𝒆𝒕 𝒍𝒐𝒔𝒕 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒅𝒂𝒓𝒌𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔.” The Beekeeper of Aleppo is beautifully written, but it should be mainly read for its subject matter. Christy Lefteri portrays the journey of Syrian refugees in a realistic, emphatic, and respectful manner. The Beekeeper of Aleppo tells a story… Read more

  • Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland | Book Review

    13th December 2020 by

    My stress levels have been skyrocketing over the last weeks and months due to the current situation related to pandemic. For that reason I have been in need of reading something heartwarming, soul-healing, soul-soothing and gentle. And, this little gem of a book, Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland brought me solace, so needed moments… Read more

  • The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel | Book Review

    13th December 2020 by

    “At night, here in the library, the ghosts have voices. (…) But at night, when the library lamps are lit, the outside world disappears and nothing but the space of books remains in existence. ” – The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel is one of the greatest… Read more

  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid | Book Review

    29th November 2020 by

    This book offers beautiful writing and delights with a very sharp approach to the question of identity, “cultural power”, cultural clash between the West and the East in a context of the dominance of one powerful country such as the United States (US) prior and after the attacks on the World Trade Centre on 11… Read more

  • Anita Brookner | Introduction

    8th November 2020 by

    Let me introduce you to one of my favourite writers, Anita Brookner (1928 – 2016)  Anita Brookner was an English novelist and art historian, born into the Polish – Jewish family in North London. She was appointed as Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Cambridge in 1967 and was the first woman… Read more

  • London | An Autumn Visit to West Highgate Cemetery

    1st November 2020 by

     I hope you are all well and enjoy the autumn if you are based in the Northern hemisphere. A few weeks ago I went to visit West Highgate Cemetery in North London to roam the leafy, ancient avenues of this Victorian cemetery. The cemetery opened in 1839 and there are many well-preserved graves dated back… Read more

  • The Distance by Ivan Vladislavić | Book Review

    31st October 2020 by

    The Distance by a wonderful South African novelist, Ivan Vladislavic is a magnificent and stunning literary achievement. This is a remarkable, thoughtful read and a real feast for all the bibliophiles. This book is both, global and local; universal and South African – Praetorian; ordinary and surreal; alien and familiar. The ‘distance’ in the book is… Read more

  • Madonna in a Fur Coat by Sabahattin Ali | Book Review

    16th October 2020 by

    ‘When we walked side by side, did I not feel his humanity most profoundly? Only now did I begin to understand why it was not always through words that people sought each other out and came to understand each other.’ I was profoundly moved by this gem of a book. In ‘Madonna in a Fur… Read more

  • 6 Compelling Autumn Reads

    16th October 2020 by

    A Start in Life by Anita Brookner (‪1928 – 2016‬) “Dr. Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature” is one of the boldest opening sentences I have ever read. The main protagonist, Ruth, turns to books for comfort while navigating through many ambiguities in her daily life such as taking… Read more

  • Amour | How the French Talk about Love by Stefania Rousselle | Book Review

    12th September 2020 by

    “I am single today, and I have been struggling with my thoughts. And after so many years, I want to know what it is just to be two. United. One. I’ve never had that experience. People say they ‘fall’ in love. That word is so negative. I want to ‘rise’ into love. That’s exactly what… Read more

  • Returning to Reims by Didier Eribon | Book Review

    17th August 2020 by

    ‘Returning to Reims’ by Didier Eribon moved me profoundly. This book is about suffering, pain and shame related to one’s social background. Through showing his personal story of social exclusion, cutting ties with his working class origins, Eribon explores a number of important themes including the history of France over the last 100 years, how… Read more

  • This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun | Book Review

    16th August 2020 by

    “For a long time I searched for the black stone that cleanses the soul of death. When I say a long time, I think of a bottomless pit, a tunnel dug with my fingers, my teeth, in the stubborn hope of glimpsing, if only for a minute, one infinitely lingering minute, a ray of light,… Read more

  • Distant View of A Minaret by Alifa Rifaat | Book Review

    16th August 2020 by

    “Distant View of A Minaret” by Alifa Rifaat (1930 – 1996) is a collection of fifteen short stories depicting lives of women within a traditional Muslim society.Rifaat shows Muslim women who wish to adhere to strict religious teachings and they see men as the ones who do not follow their religious obligations towards women. She… Read more

  • The Black Notebook by Patrick Modiano | Book Review

    6th July 2020 by

    “Many years later I tried to find that hotel I hadn’t recorded its name or address in the black notebook, the way we tend not to write down the most intimate details of our lives, for fear that, once fixed on paper, they’ll no longer be ours”. I read Patrick Modiano‘s books whenever I feel… Read more

  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff | Book Review

    25th May 2020 by

    This a little uplifting book recommendation from my side for anyone in need of magical and cosy stories. “84 Charing Cross Road” by Helene Hanff provides one of these pleasant reading experiences. It is a true story written by real life events; this tale is both life-affirming and sad but still a real treat for… Read more

  • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid | Book Review

    24th May 2020 by

    “(…) but that is the way of things, for when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind”.  “(..) to love is to enter into the inevitability of one day being able to protect what is most valuable to you”. “We are all migrants through time”.   “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid… Read more

  • A House of My Own: Stories from My Life by Sandra Cisneros | Book Review

    16th May 2020 by

    “I feel fortunate at least to open books and be invited to step in, if that book shelters me and keeps me warm, I know I’ve come home”. “I’m fascinated with how those of us who live in multiple cultures and the regions in between are held under the spell of words spoken in the… Read more

  • French Lessons by Alice Kaplan | Book Review

    10th February 2020 by

     “I have been willing to overlook in French culture what I would not accept in my own for the privilege of living in translation”. French Lessons by Alice Kaplan is an interesting book. The author elaborates on such themes as living life through an acquired language and its impact on one’s course of life; the… Read more

  • The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov | Book Review

    2nd February 2020 by

    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov is one of my favourite books I have ever read. This book holds a special place in my heart as it depicts beautifully with all the necessary nuances the most important characteristics related to Russia and Eastern Europe during the course of the tragic 20th century. Having an… Read more

  • Honeymoon by Patrick Modiano | Book Review

    6th December 2019 by

    ‘Honeymoon’ by Patrick Modiano is an evocative, melancholic tale, and, at times, it resembles a frame from “film noir” of the 1950s. Modiano presents the lives of the protagonists from the point of an observer, never depicting the reality in a straightforward manner, but rather showing different angles, playing with the memory, the passage of… Read more

  • Melmoth by Sarah Perry | Book Review

    24th November 2019 by

    Melmoth by Sarah Perry is a tale of moral complexity related to the human condition. Perry’s book draws upon Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin written in 1820 which once was a well-read book with a greater significance. Perry retells the legend of Melmoth, the loneliest being in this world who wanders across the… Read more

  • London | 10 Literary Places to Visit

    1st October 2019 by
  • An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine | Book Review

    24th July 2019 by

    “I would be reading at my desk, something she deemed part and parcel of my job, and considerate as she was, she kept me company but left me undisturbed. We were two solitudes benefiting from a grace that was continuously reinvigorated in each other’s presence, two solitudes who nourished each other.” “I identify with outsiders,… Read more

  • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak | Book Review

    20th July 2019 by

    “The possibility of an immediate and wholesale decimation of civilization was not half as frightening as the simple realization that our individual passing had no impact on the order of things, and life would go on just the same with or without us.” “We must do what we can to mend our lives, we owe… Read more

  • Reunion by Fred Uhlman | Book Review

    14th July 2019 by

    Reunion by Fred Uhlman is such a little book, and depending on the edition, over ninety pages long. It is a story about friendship between two young boys, Konrad and Hans, growing up in Germany of the 1930, where a political landscape was changing drastically. Hans was born into an assimilated Jewish family.

  • Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier | Book Review

    5th July 2019 by

    “We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” Mercier, P., Night Train to Lisbon, London: Atlantic Books, 2009

  • No Place to Lay One’s Head by Françoise Frenkel | Book Review

    30th June 2019 by

    “It is the duty of those who have survived to bear witness to ensure the dead are not forgotten, nor humble acts of self-sacrifice left unacknowledged.  (…) I dedicate this book to the MEN AND WOMEN OF GOODWILL who, generously, with unfailing courage, opposed the will to violence and resisted to the end.” Françoise Frenkel,… Read more

  • The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak | Book Review

    30th June 2019 by

    “The path of fiction could easily misled you into the cosmos of stories where everything was fluid, quixotic, and as open to surprises as a moonless night in the desert” Shafak, E., The Bastard of Istanbul, Penguin Random House UK, 2015, pp. 96 – 97

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