Spotlight | Forgotten Women Writers: Ethel Mannin, Colin MacInnes & the Young Adult Novel in 1950s Britain

How many of you have heard of Ethel Mannin (1900-84)? She wrote over a hundred books, including novels, political reflections, autobiographical memoirs and travel-writing, but she has received precious little attention since her death. To my knowledge, in the past fifteen  years, writing about her has been limited to two short studies, a publication of an extract, and the posting of two PDFs (see Notes at the end of this article). Why hasn’t some post-grad seized the opportunity to study Mannin? Too much reading already? She seems perfect for an independent publisher like Persephone Books to pick up and reissue. But perhaps she is too radical, or there are myriad complex copyright issues to be resolved.

Continue reading Spotlight | Forgotten Women Writers: Ethel Mannin, Colin MacInnes & the Young Adult Novel in 1950s Britain

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

Guest Review | Turf Wars (2) Olivier Norek trs. Nick Caistor | MacLehose Press

Turf Wars is the second of Olivier Norek’s Captain Coste trilogy, set in the banlieues of Paris.

Spiralling Upwards

Norek has an unusual C.V. Born in Toulouse in 1975, he worked for a humanitarian charity in in the 1990s, and contributed to the re-construction of hospitals and refugee camps in Guyana and the former Yugoslavia. He then joined the French marines for two years, before becoming a policeman in 1997. After working in the police force in Paris for eighteen years, he started his fourth career: crime writer. To date, he’s published six novels and he was one of the writers for the sixth series of  Engrenages (Spiral).  Continue reading Guest Review | Turf Wars (2) Olivier Norek trs. Nick Caistor | MacLehose Press

Guest Review | Sharif Gemie | The Dawn of Language: Axes, lies, midwifery and how we came to talk – Sverker Johansson | MacLehose Press

Sverker Johansson’s The Dawn of Language, adroitly translated by Frank Perry, weighs in at over 400 pages. We’re in the age of Great Simplifiers: each month produces a new crop of hefty volumes.

The Great Simplifiers
Each new volume aims to survey and simplify complex, important scientific arguments for a fairly well-educated reading public. These tomes resemble each other in their ambitions: they review tons of recent research; they give their readers an impression of the intensity and importance of debates; they’re stuffed with colourful examples to hold their reader’s attention; and
– usually – they conclude on a vaguely re-assuring, half-optimistic note. As you look closer, differences become apparent.
Continue reading Guest Review | Sharif Gemie | The Dawn of Language: Axes, lies, midwifery and how we came to talk – Sverker Johansson | MacLehose Press

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