Ecstasy of a Feminist Tragedian in New York

The New York Stories by Elizabeth Hardwick My rating: 4 of 5 stars For me this collection divides along a line between story-driven episodes that unfold ideas & characters from a narrative, and pieces that dissolve these elements in a diffuse, intensely poetic, emotionally charged meandering. But perhaps I’m being overly convergent in seeing a… Continue reading Ecstasy of a Feminist Tragedian in New York


Three torments

Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye My rating: 3 of 5 stars Three abrasively unpleasant stories snagged on overlapping locations, like Khady’s torn leg and torn ear, snagged and then torn loose by impersonal brutality, a world that wounds. NDiaye’s style reminded me of other extremely ‘interior’ texts, in particular The Hour of the Star.… Continue reading Three torments

Books · Colonisation · history · Political · Whiteness & racism

Dreams & Nightmares of Al-Andalus

Granada by Radwa Ashour My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is my second Ashour and takes its place beside The Woman from Tantoura as one of my favourite books. Once again, the author deals with tantalising and difficult material with poetic and thematic subtlety and affectionate warmth for her characters. It opens with a… Continue reading Dreams & Nightmares of Al-Andalus

Books · Colonisation · Gender · Whiteness & racism

The Pickup: a few unfinished thoughts

The Pickup by Nadine Gordimer My rating: 4 of 5 stars 3.5 stars New millennium, new rhythm. I think that’s what’s going on here. South Africans walking to the beat of hyphenated identities, flow and stutter, bounce and glide, at the mercy of beauty and ruthlessness… Gordimer’s ear to the ground heard this as it… Continue reading The Pickup: a few unfinished thoughts