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Modern Fiction

The Brandy of the Damned by JMR Higgs

The Brandy of the Damned by JMR HiggsThose of you who have visited this blog previously, may have noticed that I do like an occasional dose of the unusual or off-beat in my reading. I jump between styles and genres as the mood takes me, but every so often I just feel the need for something that makes the brow furrow, makes you flip back a page to see if you actually read that bit correctly. The Brandy of the Damned certainly fits the bill in that respect, because although it made easy reading it was also deliciously unconventional.

Read on for a full review…

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Man Booker Prize Long List 2012

Man Booker Prize 2012This has got to be my most eagerly awaited event of the literary year — the announcement of the authors and books who have successfully fought their way onto this year’s Man Booker Prize long list. The publication on the 25th July of the long list for the 2012 Man Booker prize will, as ever, cause much discussion and controversy — does the list follow mainstream trends too much? Is it brave enough? Is it too predictable? — these are generally the type of arguments that rage across the blogosphere and social media sites as soon as the list is released.

As usual, I don’t intend to slavishly read the entire list. My current TBR pile is growing ever larger anyway so, as usual, I will probably pick out several of the titles that most grab my imagination.

This years judging panel was chaired by Sir Peter Stothard, ably assisted by Dinah Birch, Amanda Foreman, Dan Stevens and Bharat Tandon, who have had to make their selections from a total of 147 submitted novels.

Read on to see the full 2012 Man Booker Longlist

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Hemispheres by Stephen Baker

Hemispheres by Stephen BakerDo you ever get that glorious feeling of connecting with a book — like it was personally written just for you? Stephen Baker’s excellent first novel Hemispheres hit me just like that. Even from the moment I first saw the cover, as a keen bird watcher myself, I just had a feeling it was going to be right up my street.

But whilst there is a strong birding theme which runs throughout the book, and without doubt it will delight the bird watching fraternity, there is so much more to it than that. It really is a cauldron of human relationships and experience, which the author has cleverly woven into a highly exciting and beautifully intricate storyline.

Read on for a full review…

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The Realm of the Hungry Ghosts by Gary William Murning

The Realm of the Hungry Ghosts by Gary MurningI actually read an earlier draft of Gary William Murning’s latest novel The Realm of the Hungry Ghosts last year (earning myself a kind mention in the acknowledgements into the bargain, cheers Gary!) and have been looking forward to getting my hands on the final published version ever since.

This marks another departure from the tone and subject matter of his previous novels, and perhaps straddles the boundary between Literary Fiction and Horror (but more on that matter below). It is certainly one more piece of evidence which demonstrates this writer’s breadth and adaptability.

Read on for a full review…

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