The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

It’s almost impossible to find a review of The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood without the reviewer comparing* it to Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale. I’m bucking the trend and here’s why: the central premise of both novels is extraordinary – memorable, mind-bending, frightening, and thoroughly compelling.

I read The Handmaid’s Tale decades ago. I can’t remember any of the fine detail of Atwood’s writing but I do remember the horrifying world in which the characters lived. I’m quite sure that in twenty years time, I will also remember Consilience, the walled community created for The Heart Goes Last. Continue reading

Reading the Stella Prize Shortlist – The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

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Read my review of The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood here.

It’s a book that demands thought and discussion. It’s a book that is current and topical but also serves as a cautionary tale. It’s a book that is skilfully and beautifully written. It’s a book that I couldn’t put down – at the same time, I couldn’t guess where it was heading. It’s a book that I finished and thought “I need to talk to someone immediately about that last page!”.

Basically, it’s a book prize judge’s dream. And for that reason…

Will it win the Stella Prize? Yes. And I said so here and here.

Reading in the danger zone

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Do you start singing a certain Kenny Loggins hit when you hear the words ‘comfort zone’? I do. Even though comfort and danger are pretty much opposites… Anyhoo, my comfort zone is contemporary literature. I don’t stray often but there have been some notable (and excellent) exceptions in the last year or so –

Speculative Fiction Continue reading