Kiran reviewed Booker Prize shortlisted novel 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak. The publication of this brave novel has seen Shafak come under investigation by the Turkish government for her unflinching but compassionate look at violence against women in her homeland. This is a profound story of friendship, love and Turkish history, told through the eyes of its marginalised people.
On RNZ’s Nine to Noon, Kiran reviewed our Book of the Month, Girl by Edna O’Brien. O’Brien is an important writer who has long given a voice and created a space for girls and women in crisis. This novel tells the story of Maryam, one of a group of schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria. Girl will rip your heart out, but you won’t be able to put the book down. What a writer!
On 95bFM’s Loose Reads, Kiran reviewed New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino’s piercing collection of essays Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self Delusion. It dives deep into the evolution of the internet, the effects of late capitalism, the definitive scams of the millennial era, and the diminishing gap between personal and political delusion. These perfectly pitched essays also come with an endorsement from Rebecca Solnit so what more could you ask for?
On RNZ’s Nine to Noon Kiran reviewed Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss who will be appearing in conversation at Time Out in October and Verb in November. It’s an atmospheric novel about 17-year-old Silvie who goes on an excursion with her mother and father to live on an archeological replica of an Iron Age settlement with the goal of living like ancient Britons did for a flavour of Iron Age life. This is a very mesmerising novel. It’s an exquisite novel, a tremendous mood piece with a heck of an impact.
On 95bFM’s Loose Reads Kiran reviewed our Book of the Month The Man Who Saw Everything by one of her favourite writers Deborah Levy. An intriguing and expertly plotted novel abut politics, history, surveillance, beauty and envy, this book shows Levy is a clever writer of immense control and clarity.
On RNZ’s Nine to Noon Kiran reviewed Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry which has been longlisted for the Booker Prize. Charlie and Maurice are two ragged Irish gangsters from Cork who are waiting at a Spanish port for a night boat from Tangier. This is a dark novel about crime and its effects, but it’s also very funny and touching, and beautifully deals with love, loss, ageing, parenthood and the fraternity of male friendship.
You all know and love the iconic 95bFM logo (you’re not allowed to change it, bFM!) and today Kiran was lucky enough to be joined on Loose Reads by the man who designed it, John Pain, who listeners will also know from Hallelujah Picassos. They talked about his debut novel The Golden Sword published by local outfit Dunbar Noon who describe it as “Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness via Lee Falk’s The Phantom.”
Just in time for National Poetry Day, Kiran spoke about Wild Honey: Reading New Zealand Women’s Poetry by Paula Green. Compiled with an attentive care, it’s a beautifully structured and presented book which celebrates New Zealand’s women poets, bringing some out of obscurity and into the limelight they deserve.
Tatau: A History of Sāmoan Tattooing by Sean Mallon and Sebastien Galliot published by Te Papa Press cleaned up at the PANZ Book Design Awards last week, picking up awards for Best Illustrated Book, Best Typography, Best Book and the People’s Choice Award. Our Kiran was a judge at the awards and spoke about this triumph of a book on 95bFM’s Loose Reads.
On 95bFM’s Loose Reads Kiran reviewed Sweet Home by Wendy Erskine. It’s a collection of ten quietly powerful, poised and beautifully observed short stories set in East Belfast. If you usually love short stories, read this collection. If you don’t usually read short stories, read this collection!
On RNZ’s Nine to Noon, Kiran reviewed Sinead Gleeson’s Constellations. This striking collection of essays is a wise, diagnostic and generous look at trauma, the body, illness, pain, faith, pregnancy and motherhood, with brilliant flashes of art criticism and political commentary. Nuanced, rich and rewarding, this is a tremendously great book!
Our Book of the Month for July is Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi which has won the Man Booker International Prize. It’s a powerful saga about three sisters living in al-Awafi, an Omani village on the brink of change. Exploring themes of slavery, urbanisation, women’s wisdom, patriarchy and masculinity, it’s a beautiful read. Celestial Bodies is also our Lit Reads title for July.
Click here to hear Kiran’s review on 95bFM’s Loose Reads.
On 95bFM’s Loose Reads Kiran reviewed our July Book of the Month and Lit Reads title Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi which has won the Man Booker International Prize. It’s a powerful saga about three sisters living in al-Awafi, an Omani village on the brink of change. Exploring themes of slavery, urbanisation, women’s wisdom, patriarchy and masculinity, it’s a beautiful read.
The short story is enjoying a resurgence and this new anthology which Kiran reviewed on 95bFM’s Loose Reads Being Various: New Irish Short Stories edited by Lucy Caldwell brings together 24 vibrant and fresh pieces by Irish authors including Sally Rooney, Sinead Gleeson, Wendy Erskine, Nicole Flattery, Lisa McInerney and Eimear McBride. The short story is in fine form!
On RNZ’s Nine to Noon, Kiran reviewed Annie Ernaux’s collective history The Years, which was shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker International Prize. A generous and attentive book, it is where autofiction, biography and sociology intersect. A radical approach to the memoir, Kiran says The Years is extraordinary, a treasure and a tonic.
On 95bFM’s Loose Reads Kiran reviewed Merchants of Truth by Jill Abramson who was just here for the Auckland Writers Festival. It’s a great book for anyone interested in the changing landscape of journalism, and scrutinises four news outlets - the old guard of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and the “disruptive mavericks” Vice and Buzzfeed.
On RNZ’s Nine to Noon Kiran reviewed Saltwater by Jessica Andrews. A superb work of autofiction about fragility, place, the mother/daughter relationship and the body.. Kiran says, “It’s intoxicating. It absolutely knocked me for six!”
It was a bittersweet Loose Reads today as it was our last slot with dear Mikey Havoc who is leaving this week. Kiran spoke about America is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo who will be appearing in conversation with Kiran at the Auckland Writers Festival. It’s an extraordinary novel about three generations of Filipina women in San Francisco’s Bay Area.
On 95bFM’s Loose Reads, Kiran reviewed The New Me by Halle Butler, a book she thinks people are going to love! It’s a fresh, modern, dark and cynically funny novel about a 30-year-old temp named Millie. A sharp and sometimes abject look at social mores, neoliberalism, anxiety, female friendship and the modern workplace.