Review: Last Evenings On Earth by Roberto Bolaño

I’ve never read any of Chilean author Roberto Bolaño’s raved-about novels (2666 or The Savage Detectives) and yet I had already formed an opinion of what to expect from his writing.  I was anticipating heavy prose, full of political talk and a call-to-arms to rebel against authority.  However, having raced through this collection of his short stories, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not the case at all.

His writing focuses on the smaller details and issues – I would say mundane, but an exile’s version of mundane is not the same as that shared by most people – of daily life, yet the reader senses a lot more simmering below the surface.  More


Review: Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami


            “To tell the truth, I do not know this thing called ‘mind’, what it does or how to use it.  It is only a word I have heard.”

“The mind is nothing you use,” I say.  “The mind is just there.  It is like the wind.  You simply feel its movements.”

Murakami’s surreal imaginings deservedly earn him an international following.  He possesses the skill of making even his most fantastical ideas seem familiar: in Hard-boiled Wonderland we delve into an underground tunnel hidden in an office-block closet and discover mythical golden beasts, yet we don’t even flinch.


Review: Timeskipper by Stefano Benni

On a beautiful late-winter morning in the Italian mountains, Timeskipper – a boy with a vivid imagination – has a chance encounter with a god. A god with a talking dog.  More

Review of Cardiff Ghosts by Vincent Stephen: an unpublished novel

“Every cleaner in this building is black. Or every one of them that I’ve ever seen. African black. Dressed in white shirts like the one I’ve got. Pushing and pulling for the illusion of hygiene. I think these are the same men and women who keep the toilets clean. They are here when I arrive in the morning and they are here when I leave. He came around the corner and he gave me a smile. I raised my hand to him open palmed. He is half invisible here. Cardiff ghosts live in the stairwells and on the train station platforms. Under the bridges which the trains take above street height. In the lifts stuck between floors in derelict buildings. The unfinished foundations of the halls of residence.

Back on my floor I had five minutes left of my lunch and I was standing in the toilet staring at myself in the mirror. From the centre of my head, down the right hand side, between my temple and my ear, a long white hair streaked down to my chest. A single line of white in a blanket of black. Like the rings in a tree trunk. The lines around your eyes…”

Cardiff Ghosts is not a ghost story.  Or is it?  More