Review: CN Lester and Juno Dawson, EIBF 2017

I’ll admit that, as a trans person myself, I might be just the smallest bit biased when choosing a rating, for what may be the first event at Edinburgh International Book Festival to feature two trans people on the same stage. As I sit waiting for the talk to begin, I’m finding it really heartening to see so many older people in the audience. I get chatting to the woman next to me, who looks about sixty. She feels the same way.

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Review: Ever Dundas and Hwang Sok-Yong, EIBF 2017

Hwang Sok-Yong is the author of Familiar Things, which tells the story of Bugeye, a child forced, along with his mother, to live on the outskirts of a society poised for economic and social change. They make a living picking useful objects out of the vast landfill that is also their island home. The book deals with themes of ostracism, and the destruction and waste engendered by capitalism.

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Review: The North Water by Ian McGuire

The North Water (Simon & Schuster, 2016) chronicles the fall of Patrick Sumner, an Irishman of tragic past and lacklustre present, and a man in thrall to the consequences of a mistake he made before the story began. Told in gripping present tense, The North Water bears the reader along on a story as bleak as the Arctic landscape and as inexorable as the tide.

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Review: Tristimania by Jay Griffiths

In Tristimania (Hamish Hamilton, 2016/Penguin 2017) Jay Griffiths recounts a year-long episode of manic depression. The narrative proceeds quickly, condensing a year’s time into a slim paperback and focusing on instances of particular violence, tempered with flashes of unexpected light and beauty: the fear and isolation in the quiet of night, but also the poetry, the stars. 

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