The cover description of Gerard Reve’s The Evenings proclaims “the most exhilarating novel about boredom ever written.” As exhilarating as boredom can be, presumably. Translated from its original Dutch to English for the first time since its 1946 publication, The Evenings is the story of Frits, a young office worker who lives, not altogether happily it seems, with his parents. The action – though I use this word loosely – takes place in the evenings of the title, over ten days during the Christmas period, because Frits’s days are simply occupied by work. It is the hours after he leaves the office and before he arrives again that concern us. Although not much really happens then either. He eats dinner, visits people, goes to the cinema, and has nightmares, and that’s about it.Read More
A few pages into the reading of this book I had to pause to Google “Whatever happened to the speech mark?” This ever-increasing trend seems difficult to avoid, and Bloomsbury are right on it throughout this latest offering from the publishing giant. (Incidentally, Google came up with the answer that forfeiting inverted commas makes the speech more immediate and direct. Whatever, I’m just going to make this sentence more direct by leaving out the full stop)Read More
John Boyne is angry with the Catholic Church. His latest offering – the mighty tome that is The Heart’s Invisible Furies – feels like a cathartic exploration of that anger. He gets to it right away too, emphasising the often-cited hypocrisy of the church in his brutal opening sentence: “Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women… Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore.”Read More
In an age where time seems to race past, hurrying us towards the future, Matt Haig’s imaginative new novel How to Stop Time dares us to revel in the moment and to question the meaning of the past relationships which build our characters.Read More
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