Review: A Manual For Heartache by Cathy Rentzenbrink

Cathy Rentzenbrink’s first book The Last Act of Love was a heartbreaking story of how her family came to terms with the tragic events that left, her brother Matty in a coma. After eight years, the family arrive at the unimaginably hard decision to let him go. Told with compassion and honesty, it is an unflinching look at grief, loss and strength.

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Review: Rosemary Goring Introduces… Hannah Kohler & Nadim Safdar, Aye Write 2017 

Debut novelist events are often the best bet at any literary festival, not only is there an element of surprise when you discover new and interesting writing, but there is also a sense of nervous excitement when you stumble upon authors who, having not yet settled into their literary persona, explore what it is they want to say and how much they are willing to reveal to their readers. 

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Review: Moonglow by Michael Chabon

In an age of fake news, ‘alternative facts’ and political entrenchment, Michael Chabon’s quasi-biography is a welcome invitation to question the boundaries of truth and fiction. Ostensibly a biography of Chabon’s grandfather, who, just days before his death, tells his life story to his grandson, Moonglow becomes a peon to fiction itself, to the power of storytelling and memory. 

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Review: Joana Serrat, Celtic Connections

Celtic Connections is widely known as a festival renowned for its collaborative spirit celebrating cultural exploration, and in that vein this was a gig that did not disappoint.
The evening began with sweet, melancholic Scottish ballads from Aberdeenshire folksinger Iona Fyfe, who, although wryly remarking at one stage that you’d think that she would run out of sad, long wistful songs to play, sang beautifully and soulfully throughout. While it’s true that we may never run out of ballads, we do not always hear them as beautifully performed. This was followed by Noah and his backing band who channelled the sun-drenched Americana of old with tales of heartbreak, pain and the lost romanticism of youth that brought to mind Ryan Adams’ early material. Next up was Scottish singer songwriter Mark McGowan, all swagger and flat cap, whose voice was like a young Fionn Regan mixed with Tallest Man on Earth and who played the guitar with a kind of wilful defiance that produced a captivating set full of humour and energy.

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