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.
RNZ Nine to Noon
For fans of the great American novel, Nell Zink’s Doxology takes the reader from 1980’s New York City to the ill fated USA 2016 election.
Investigating generational shifts & responses, Doxology is a compelling, intelligent & witty observation on thirty years of history and cultural change. For fans of Franzen, Wolitzer and Tartt.
Listen to Jenna’s review below:
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.
Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a book about divorce that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Toby is handling his divorce fairly well. He’s joined dating apps, is working towards a promotion and is spending quality time with his children on the weekends. However, when his ex Rachel does not turn up to pick up the kids as planned, and just doesn’t...come back, Toby’s new life is turned upside down.
A novel with humour and depth, Brodesser-Akner’s journalistic touch explores gender roles and the expectation of working mothers. For fans of Andrew Sean Greer’s Less and Maria Semple’s Where’d you go, Bernadettte?
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!
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.
Memories of the Future explores themes of time and memory in Hustvedt’s new novel.
Tying together three threads of narrative, S.H from the past and S.H. from the present project towards each other, questioning philosophy, literature, art and feminism along the way.
Listen to Jenna’s review with Kathryn Ryan below:
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!”
The Island of Sea Woman is a gripping historical saga that follows the lives of two haenyeo (women divers) from Jeju Island, Korea. Impeccably researched and set alongside the political turmoil of Korea in the twentieth century, this is a fascinating tale about the women who undertake one of the world's most difficult careers in a unique matrifocal society.
Listen to Jenna’s review with Kathryn Ryan below:
Ali Smith is back with the third book in her Seasonal Quartet, Spring.
We are introduced to three characters that are soon to meet - Richard, an elderly film & TV director who is mourning the death of his friend, Brittany, a young, educated, security officer at a UK Immigration Removal Centre and 12 year old Florence, who is traveling on her own from London to Scotland.
Smith’s ability to form this intricate web of connections between fictional characters and current events is masterful and self aware. She’s constantly pushing the boundaries of fiction, as well as publishing. This is a modern classic that is a true joy to read. Listen to Jenna’s review with Kathryn Ryan below:
On RNZ’s Nine to Noon Kiran reviewed For the Good Times by David Keenan. Set in Ardoyne in North Belfast during The Troubles in the 1970s, it follows a group of friends who are foot soldiers in the provisional IRA. Bold and energising, it’s a novel about faith, shared identities and everyday transcendance.
Jenna popped into the RNZ studio in Wellington to review National Book Award-winning novel The Friend by Sigrid Nunez. It’s a wry and moving story of companionship based around the unlikely friendship between a woman and a Great Dane.
This image features a little secret from RNZ. As Kathryn is in Wellington, we record our book reviews from a little room at RNZ Auckland.
Sometimes, if another guest is recording a live interview with Kathryn and we don’t have time for a song, we have to creep in quietly beside them and hope we don’t give them a fright or break their flow.
Jenna crept in yesterday to review A Different Drummer. This is a new lost classic, originally published in 1962, set in 1957, in a fictional Southern USA conferate state.
An incident causes the entire black population to leave the state over a few days. William Melvin Kelley, is himself African American, tells this story from the point of view of the white characters.
With vibrant prose and rich characters, this lost classic couldn’t be more timely. Read the 2018 New Yorker article that sparked this book being republished here.
And listen below for more:
On RNZ’s Nine to Noon, Kiran reviewed one of her favourite novels of 2018 In the City of Love’s Sleep by Lavinia Greenlaw. An elegant and eloquent story of love, recovery, repair and beautiful objects.
This week on RNZ’s Nine to Noon, Kiran reviewed Human Relations and Other Difficulties by Mary-Kay Wilmers. Wilmers co-founded the London Review of Books in 1979 and has been its editor since 1992. This collection brings together 23 polished, informative and entertaining self-contained pieces which are fine examples of her wonderfully dry and brittle wit.
Jenna’s favourite novel of 2018!
It’s the year 2000 in New York, and our unnamed narrator decides to take a year off from life. By carefully mixing a cocktail of prescription medication, she will sleep through the year, emerging a new person, ready to slot back into society.
A laugh out loud, black as black comedy, that is layered, smart and sharp.
A spunky and glamorous figure of the 1960s and 70s LA counter culture, Eve Babitz was an alluring ‘It Girl’ who wrote startlingly sharp essays, memoir and fiction. Kiran reviewed the reissued edition of Babitz’s 1979 novel Sex & Rage: Advice for Young Ladies Eager for a Good Time on RNZ’s Nine to Noon.