Guest Review | Vladimir Sharov, Be As Children (trs. Oliver Ready) | Dedalus Books

Poetry and fiction by Vladimir Sharov, a medieval historian by education, was first published in the late 1970s. Be Like Children was a finalist for the Russian Booker and Big Book awards.

“My own experience has taught me that being at the centre of events makes you the worst possible witness,” writes the main character of Be As Children (p. 39), introducing a sense of uncertainty and improbability that permeates this long, rambling, immersive novel. Continue reading Guest Review | Vladimir Sharov, Be As Children (trs. Oliver Ready) | Dedalus Books

Review | Stranger to the Moon, Evelio Rosero | Mountain Leopard Press

Evelio Rosero’s chilling dystopian parable, Stranger to the Moon, is like the detailed, imaginative nightmare of a fantastic surrealist painting by Max Ernst, populated by the bizarre and often monstrous figures of a creation by Hieronymous Bosch. From the start, the reader is sucked into the mind of one of the undesirable Naked Ones exiled in a wardrobe in a vast but cramped house.

They’re organized, and everything suggests an important part of that organization lies in their resolve to keep us locked inside this house, for all eternity. Because those who have had to leave our house (and managed to return to tell of it) don’t wish to go back outside.”  Continue reading Review | Stranger to the Moon, Evelio Rosero | Mountain Leopard Press

Interview | Justin David and Nathan Evans, Directors, Inkandescent | Indie Publisher of the Week

Continuing BookBlast’s series of interviews with the founders of independent presses, we catch up with Justin David, the publisher at www.inkandescent.co.uk and author of The Pharmacist and Kissing the Lizard ; and Nathan Evans, the editor at www.inkandescent.co.uk and author of Threads and CNUT. His forthcoming novella, One Last Song, is due for imminent release. 

Are (were) your parents great readers? What were the books that made you fall in love with reading?

JUSTIN: Both of my parents are avid readers. As a child, I always saw my whole family with books in their hands. I wouldn’t say they exactly read widely but the act of reading was popular. Dad was always a fan the Douglas Reeman novels about Richard Bolitho and mum was much more of a Catherine Cookson and Mills and Boon type so I wasn’t exactly inspired to go and read the Canon as it were. Though both of them now read my own work.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t enjoy reading, so it’s difficult to say when and which book made me fall in love with the act of reading. What I can say is that I became more excited about reading was when I was allowed to choose my own books at the library and then when I got to secondary school we were made to read an awful lot of apocalyptic dystopian novels like John Wyndham — The Triffids, The Chrysalids, The Midwich Cuckoos. And then later on I got into horror and science-fiction which meant Stephen King and J.G. Ballard, back then. I don’t think I realised there was such a thing as queer literature though it would’ve been helpful in those days to have been introduced writers like Jeanette Winterson and Patrick White. Truth be told, it was when I was at art school that I started reading the children’s fiction of Philip Ridley and his adult plays like The Fastest Clock in the Universe and the Pitchfork Disney. The college library was full of this stuff and I just swallowed it all up. That’s when I realised that there was so much more to be explored.  Continue reading Interview | Justin David and Nathan Evans, Directors, Inkandescent | Indie Publisher of the Week

BookBlast® Discoveries | Top 5 Reads for Independent Minds from Inkandescent

East London-based independent publisher Inkandescent “was ‘founded by outsiders for outsiders’ to celebrate original and diverse talent and to publish voices and stories the mainstream neglects – specifically those of the working class and financially disadvantaged, ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ+ community and, crossing the Venn diagram, those with physical disabilities and mental health issues,” write Justin David and Nathan Evans in their introduction to MAINSTREAM Continue reading BookBlast® Discoveries | Top 5 Reads for Independent Minds from Inkandescent

Review | Sarajevo Firewood, Saïd Khatibi (trs. Paul Starkey) | Banipal Books

Saïd Khatibi’s polyphonic novel, Sarajevo Firewood, pays homage to the victims of civil war in Algeria and Bosnia in the 1990s, and gives the survivors a voice. Scarred by erratic memories and traumatic recall – indicative of the psychological wounds of war – writing is a way to come to terms with what happened.

“We might find a mass grave with a café or restaurant in front of it, which changed at night into a dance floor, on which the living took turns to move their bodies while the dead opposite them looked on silently.” Continue reading Review | Sarajevo Firewood, Saïd Khatibi (trs. Paul Starkey) | Banipal Books