Reviews


Reviews that do not appear in the magazine... Watch this space- It is regularly updated!

The Brethren (Robert Merle) (Issue: 105)NEW

The legacy of Flaubert’s perfectionism and attention to detail is present in this well-researched 1977 French historical novel by Robert Merle set in the thirteenth century
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So Many Moving Parts (Tiffany Atkinson) (Issue: 105)

A mastery of juxtaposition, suspense and the non sequitur is at the heart of Tiffany Atkinson’s success in this her third poetry collection, writes Jonathan Edwards
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Miners at the Quarry Pool (Nigel Jarrett) (Issue: 105)

Michael Nott admires the wit and remarkably sustained musical ear present in this debut collection of poetry on underground spaces
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The Hunting Gun (Yasushi Inoue) (Issue: 105)

An astonishing debut from one of Japan’s most prolific and respected authors is, at once, a haunting story of love and loneliness and a meditation on how we reach out through writing, Dan Bradley writes.
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Half Plus Seven (Dan Tyte) (Issue: 105)

Megan Jones enjoys Dan Tyte’s raw and impressive debut novel centred around alcohol
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When the Roads Meet (Dan Llewelyn Hall) (Issue: 105)

Cardiff-born Dan Llewelyn Hall was the youngest artist to be commissioned to paint the Queen – a painting as controversial as his later depiction of Prince William. He won the Sunday Times Young Artist of the Year and was twice shortlisted as Welsh Artist of the Year. Ellen Bell, reviewing his exhibition catalogue, finds a deftly produced series of works that reflects a bountiful history of great painting but fails to communicate an authentic, genuinely felt, vision.
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Short Days, Long Shadows (Sheenagh Pugh) (Issue: 105)

Sheenagh Pugh’s twelfth poetry collection is her response to the landscape of Shetland, and always leaves the door open for hope
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The Poet and the Private Eye (Rob Gittins) (Issue: 105)

Naomi Garnault enjoys a novel, based on a true story, about a detective hired by Times magazine to track Dylan Thomas in order to defend his libel case against them.
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Tonypandemonium (Rachel Trezise ) (Issue: 105)

Jonathan Edwards admires Rachel Trezise’s debut play, set in her native valley but focused on a mother-daughter dysrelationship and the tragedy of time. Trezise is, he argues, as much post-Tarantino as she is post-Dylan Thomas

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Lighthouses (Allison McVety) (Issue: 105)

Claire Pickard is moved by a third poetry collection, inspired by Woolf, where bereavement is a collective emotion.
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Rhys Davies: A Writer's Life (Meic Stephens) (Issue: 105)

In this category winner at the Book of the Year, Harri Roberts observes that in death as in life, Rhys Davies continues to evade the snares of definition.
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Taking Mesopotamia & The Story of Gilgamesh (Jenny Lewis & Yiyun Li) (Issue: 105)

Jane Fraser assesses two books inspired by the Epic of Gilgamesh.
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The Ghost of Dylan Thomas & The Mythic Death of Dylan Thomas (Ruthven Todd & Robert Minhinnick) (Issue: 105)

Amy McCauley uncovers pamphlets shedding light on the old myths of Dylan Thomas’ life and
New York City death.
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The Road to En-Dor (Issue: 105)

Paul Cooper finds that a Turkish-set wartime memoir about trickery and resistance to tyranny still has relevance in the age of Derren Brown.
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Dark Actors: The Life and Death of Dr David Kelly (Robert Lewis) (Issue: 105)

How did a quiet young Rhondda scientist join the dark actors of war games? Chris Moss admires this gripping and formidable book’s attempts to find out.
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Mapping the Roads (Mike Parker) (Issue: 105)

Kat Dawes enjoys a delightful world of tarmacadam, Belisha beacons and thatched petrol pumps.
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Marlford (Jacqueline Yallop) (Issue: 105)

Stevie Davies considers Wales’ second Gothic fable of the Big House published by a woman this year.
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My Family and Other Superheroes (Jonathan Edwards) (Issue: 105)

João Morais finds it impossible to dislike these warm, moving and confessional poems about family, warts an’ all.
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Talking to Ourselves (Andrés Neuman (trans Nick Caistor & Lorenza Garcia)) (Issue: 105)

Michael Nott loves this novel on illness, grief, sex and literature by a Foreign Fiction Prize nominated team.
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The Bad Doctor: The Troubled Life & Times of Dr Iwan James (Ian Williams) (Issue: 105)

Ellen Bell assesses a graphic novel offering catharsis to jaded medics, and enjoys encounters with an amateur taxidermist, a syphilitic JP and Dr Iwan’s OCD.
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The North (And Almost Everything In It) (Paul Morley) (Issue: 105)

On the eve of the Scottish independence referendum, this ‘cut and paste’ job, for Ted Parry, singularly fluffs the opportunity to offer the north of England a unifying myth.
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The Time Regulation Institute (Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar (trans Maureen Freely & Alexander Dawe)) (Issue: 105)

Caroline Stockford presents Turkey’s Proust and his timely novel of bureaucracy, misplaced progress and lost time.
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Ugly Bus (Mike Thomas) (Issue: 105)

For Chris Moss this Cardiff-set crime novel by an ex-cop rings true, offering something akin to a new brand of working-class fiction bridging the televisual and the literary.
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Water (Lloyd Jones (trans Lloyd Jones)) (Issue: 105)

While Angharad Penrhyn Jones urges authors to explore the problems of climate change within a Welsh context, for her this novel beats the drum of protest at the expense of structure, viewpoint and characterisation.
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Winter Moorings (Andrew McNeillie) (Issue: 105)

Vicky MacKenzie applauds a poet dedicated to land- and sea-scape, climate and ecosystem.
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Sunbathing in Siberia, A Marriage of East & West in Post-Soviet Russia (MA Oliver-Seminov) (Issue: 104)

Phillip Clement enjoys Mao Jones’ debut memoir, especially the author’s ceaseless ability for honest and frank prose
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A Gift of Sunlight: The Fortune and Quest of the Davies Sisters of Llandinam (Trevor Fishlock) (Issue: 104)

This biography of Wales’ and Europe’s major art collectors and philanthropists, Margaret and Gwendoline Davies of Llandinam, explores them as individuals, according to reviewer Michal Nott
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The Hospital (John Davies) (Issue: 104)

In John Davies’ debut publication set in a Cardiff hospital, procedures seem almost designed to frustrate patient and staff care
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Boom! (Carolyn Jess-Cooke) (Issue: 104)

Boom!, Carolyn Jess-Cooke’s second poetry collection, digs into the blood, guts and heart of life at its very beginning, according to Georgia Carys Williams

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Openings: A European Journal (Jeremy Hooker) (Issue: 104)

Ellie Rees enjoys a book in which an English poet feels hiraeth for the south of England
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The Third Tower: Journeys in Italy (Antal Szerb) (Issue: 104)

Jemma L King enjoys a ‘perfect’ book by Antal Szerb, both in terms of content and aesthetics, and is enlightened by its first-hand account of Mussolini’s Italy
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The Undressed (Jemma L King) (Issue: 104)

These poems of a cache of antique pornography are haunting, distinctive and sensual, marking Jemma L King out as poet with considerable range, argues Phillip Clement
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Shine (Candy Gourlay) (Issue: 104)

Now school’s out here’s our summer book reading recommendation from teenager book blogger Maya Wood
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His Last Fire (Alix Nathan) (Issue: 104)

Emma Whitney is intrigued by a confident, learned and engaging debut collection set in post-Enlightenment England
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Elder (David Constantine) (Issue: 104)

For Éadaoín Lynch, David Constantine's tenth collection, on themes of nature and artifice, beauty and austerity, and reality and the supernatural, is masterful.
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Subtly Worded (Alicia Byrne Keane) (Issue: 104)

Alicia Byrne Keane find that this prose collection is important as a contribution to the Russian classics – while there is something of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina in Teffi’s nuanced depictions of family life, the author offers a new and hitherto un
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Keith Vaughan, Figure and Ground (Simon Pierse, Harry Heuser, Robert Meyrick) (Issue: 104)

Amy McCauley admires this book on an overlooked aspect of Keith Vaughan's work on the male form: his photography, prints and draughtsmanship.
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Six Pounds Eight Ounces (Rhian Elizabeth) (Issue: 104)

In her debut novel, Rhian Elizabeth’s precocious five-year-old protagonist showcases a narrative voice that is beautifully self-assured, coaxing the reader into the growing pains of a girl experimenting with truth, fiction and Tonypandy.
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A Pearl of Great Price: The Love Letters of Dylan Thomas to Pearl Kazin (Jeff Towns (ed & intro)) (Issue: 104)

Vicky Mackenzie concludes that while a slice of Thomas’ and Kazin’s private life is here made public for the first time and although the letters offer some new gems for fans, it’s doubtful whether they offer a significant contribution to our underst
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Graham Sutherland – From Darkness Into Light (Paul Gough, Sally Moss, Tehmina Goskar) (Issue: 104)

João Morais welcomes a new book on influential British landscape and portrait artist Graham Sutherland’s war years in south Wales and Cornwall
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Ibrahim and Reenie (David Llewellyn) (Issue: 104)

Megan Jones enjoys David Llewellyn's novel from Seren, Ibrahim and Reenie.
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Rarebit, New Welsh Fiction (Susie WIld (ed)) (Issue: 104)

Despite some rough edges, this short fiction anthology captures the rich variety of human experience, writes Anna Scott.
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The Claims Office (Dai George) (Issue: 104)

Rob A Mackenzie admires an ambitious and consistently impressive first collection in which satire, elegy and a poetry of ideas are fused.
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The Dig (Cynan Jones) (Issue: 104)

Anna Scott finds this novella spare, rich and deeply felt, combining a visceral emotional punch with a beautifully detailed sense of place.
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American Sycamore (Karen Fielding) (Issue: 104)

For Tristan Hughes, this novel takes its cues from riverine writing and the American tall tale but ends in a muddied muddle.
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Down to the Sea in Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men (Horatio Clare) (Issue: 104)

This account of merchant shipping is most engaging when relating relationships with overworked and underpaid sailors, argues Megan Welsh.
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Gretel and the Dark (Eliza Granville) (Issue: 104)

Alan Bilton asks whether taste is transgressed in this fairy-tale reworking of the Holocaust.
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Moscow Tales (Helen Constantine (ed) Sasha Dugdale (trans)) (Issue: 104)

From Lefortovo prison to ‘The Lady with the Little Dog’, this varied collection captures the city’s mutability, writes Eluned Gramich.
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Over the Line (David Lloyd) (Issue: 104)

Will Slocombe finds that this novel in favour of heroes is too stylised to convince.
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Powys: Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire & Breconshire (Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of Wales) (Robert Scourfield & Richard Haslam) (Issue: 104)

Mike Parker, guided by a learned ghost, believes in the new Powys Pevsner.
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Recovery Position, Minim, The Paradise Commissionaire, and Lime & Winter (Deidre Shanahan, Hazel Frew, William Palmer and Samantha Wynne Rhydderch) (Issue: 104)

Oliver Dixon assesses contrasting poets of raw emotion, minimalism, worldly humour and plaintive brooding.
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Sugar Hall (Tiffany Murray) (Issue: 104)

Eluned Gramich greatly admires a ghost story, of deeply and sympathetically imagined characters, that captures the reader’s attention and never lets go.
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The Visitations (Kathryn Simmonds) (Issue: 104)

Oliver Dixon enjoys this collection on motherhood but finds it falls short of Simmonds’ Forward-winning debut.
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Wingspan (Jeremy Hughes) (Issue: 103)

Jeremy Hughes' second novel is ambitious, intriguing and enigmatic, writes Suzanne Beynon
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The Good News (Rob A Mackenzie) (Issue: 103)

The joy in reading Rob A Mackenzie's second collection is found in riddling your own perspectives on fate, faith, travel, death and Scottish independence
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Crossing the North Sea (Susanna Roxman) (Issue: 103)

Pippa Marland finds that the cumulative effect of this collection is powerfully unsettling, offering a potentiality always destined to be unachieved.
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Division Street (Helen Mort ) (Issue: 103)

The real focal point of Helen Mort’s work is a poetry of place: the north of England, writes Michael Nott

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Florilingua (Shani Rhys James (Paintings); Gillian Clarke, Pele Cox, Carol Ann Duffy, Jasmine Donahaye, Menna Elfyn, Patrick Kavanagh & Amy Wack (Poems)) (Issue: 103)

Ellen Bell argues that the coming together of verse and image in this collection is a success
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Florilingua (Shani Rhys James (Paintings); Gillian Clarke, Pele Cox, Carol Ann Duffy, Jasmine Donahaye, Menna Elfyn, Patrick Kavanagh and Amy Wack (Poems)) (Issue: 103)

Ellen Bell argues that the coming together of verse and image in this collection is a success
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The Known and Unknown Sea (Paul Cooper) (Issue: 103)

Paul Cooper admires Alan Bilton's surreal, dark latest novel
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Spool by Robert Cole (Robert Cole) (Issue: 103)

Jake Oliver claims that the poems in Robert Cole’s latest collection, Spool, are the genuine article, whatever their subject
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Hatchet Job (Mark Kermode) (Issue: 103)

In his latest book, Hatchet Job, film critic Mark Kermode turns a critical eye towards film criticism itself, asking whether it has any value, or indeed, a future
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Word on the Street (Romy Wood) (Issue: 103)

‘Tramp Flu’ seizes Cardiff in Romy Wood’s new dystopian novel, rich with aphorisms and grumpy observations
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Drysalter (Michael Symmons Roberts) (Issue: 102)

Victoria Mackenzie admires the latest Forward winner, a formally ambitious tribute to The Book of Psalms, poems on subjects from karaoke booths, motorways, the Garden of Eden and the nature of the soul
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American Smoke, Journeys to the End of the Light (Iain Sinclair) (Issue: 103)

Paul Cooper considers the Hackney Laureate’s latest nonfiction title a beautiful failure.
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Amy Dillwyn (David Painting) (Issue: 103)

Claire Pickard questions whether this foundational biography of a Swansea lesbian industrialist and author hasn’t been overtaken by recent scholarship.
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Athene Palace: Hitler's 'New Order' Comes to Rumania (RG Waldeck) (Issue: 103)

Steven Lovatt welcomes back into print a stylish account of pre-Holocaust Bucharest by a contemporary American eyewitness.
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Everything I Have Almost Forgotten (Owain Hughes) (Issue: 103)

Tristan Hughes assesses a memoir, rich in anecdote, by Richard Hughes’ son.
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Mistaken for Art or Rubbish (Has Doubts, Vol 1) (Alexander Velky) (Issue: 103)

Despite neat aesthetic packaging, Joâo Morais is unconvinced by this debut poetry volume from a Pembrokeshire publisher.
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Poetry, Geography, Gender: Women Rewriting Contemporary Wales (Gender Studies in Wales) (Alice Entwistle) (Issue: 103)

Literary criticism is rarely called beautiful, Steven Lovatt argues, but the analysis here of certain poets merits the name
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Red Eye (Iain Sinclair) (Issue: 103)

Paul Cooper on a 1973 poetry resurrection that shows one of our most interesting writers at a remarkable intersection in his career.
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Relationships with Pictures: An Oblique Autobiography (Peter Lord) (Issue: 103)

Artful detachment frames this memoir of cultural identity by one of Wales’ leading art historians, finds Anna Kiernan.
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The Colour of Dawn (Yanick Lahens (trans Alison Layland)) (Issue: 103)

Suzy Ceulan Hughes congratulates publisher and translator for bringing the work of a significant Haitian, indeed, international author to an English readership.
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The Shape of a Forest (Jemma L King) (Issue: 103)

The author of this powerful poetry debut, Paul Cooper claims, is one to watch closely.
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The Tip of My Tongue (And Some Other Weapons As Well) (Trezza Azzopardi) (Issue: 103)

Cathryn A Charnell-White admires a modern heroine of feisty voice in 70s multicultural Cardiff.
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Your Brother's Blood (The Walkin' Trilogy) (David Towsey) (Issue: 103)

Gee Williams finds that the author of this zombie-Western debut novel has set himself a massive challenge.
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Crown of Thorns (Bethany W Pope) (Issue: 102)

Jonathan Doyle is highly impressed both by the technical ambition and the emotional rawness of this collection by Bethany W Pope
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Poetry and Privacy (John Redmond) (Issue: 102)

John Redmond champions introverted poems by the likes of Seamus Heaney, John Burnside and Robert Minhinnick, arguing that to yoke works to themes of broad public interest is not always in the poems’ interest
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Dream On (Dai Smith) (Issue: 102)

Ffion Lindsay highly recommends this novel to anyone with an interest in Welsh history, but beware: this novel will demand your full attention
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America’s Mistress: The Life and Times of Eartha Kitt ( John L Williams) (Issue: 102)

Amy McCauley is disappointed by this impressionistic account of diva Eartha Kitt.
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The Story of Antigone (Ali Smith (retelling of classical myth)) (07/01/2014)

Ali Smith retells the Greek classic Antigone in beautiful picture book format from Pushkin Children's Books
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All the Truth That’s In Me (Julie Berry) (Issue: 102)

Our teenage reviewer recommends Young Adult title, All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry: perfect Christmas present for the teen in your life
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Claudia Williams: An Intimate Acquaintance (Harry Heuser and Robert Meyrick ) (Issue: 102)

Coherent but unambitious book on painter Claudia completes a pair of monographs on the artist-couple Claudia Williams and Gwilym Prichard
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Disturbance (Ivy Alvarez ) (Issue: 102)

Disturbance is a precisely constructed, unflinchingly observant, heartbreaking and terrifying novel of poems, a powerfully delivered and devastating firestorm of words.
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The Witch Doctor of Umm Suqeim (Craig Hawes) (Issue: 101)

Matthew Tett assesses this Dubai-set short story collection about patriarchy, displacement and a Middle Eastern Banksy
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Awakening (Stevie Davies) (Issue: 102)

For Suzy Ceulan Hughes, this novel of religious revival is awe-inspiring, confirming its author’s reputation as a political writer with her finger on the contemporary pulse
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Clever Girl (Tessa Hadley) (Issue: 102)

Laura Wainwright admires an intimate and compelling coming of age novel on female agency
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Small Scale Tour (Caroline Ross) (Issue: 102)

Penny Simpson finds a corner-shop walk-on character steals the show in this keen observational comedy about artists fighting for the spotlight
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The House on the Cliff (Charlotte Williams) (Issue: 102)

Francesca Rhydderch admires the humour and irony of this entertaining, well-written novel

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The Visitor (Katherine Stansfield) (Issue: 102)

Jeremy Hughes is moved by this debut novel of Cornish small-town prejudice, superstition and pilchards
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Welsh Gothic (Jane Aaron) (Issue: 102)

Mary-Ann Constantine is impressed by this study of modern literature’s dark underbelly, where grievances of Welsh identity are embodied, and disembodied
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Bert: The Life and Times of AL Lloyd & The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (Dave Arthur; Steve Roud & Julia Bishop (eds)) (Issue: 102)

John L Williams explores AL (Bert) Lloyd's contribution to the English folk song tradition
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Hook, Line & Singer, A Sing-along Book (Cerys Matthews) (Issue: 102)


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Later (Philip Gross) (Issue: 102)

Tony Brown lauds a collection that consistently grips, involves and challenges, confirming its author as one of our most consistently interesting and skilful poets
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The Drive (Tyler Keevil) (Issue: 102)

Alan Bilton finds an author whose charm is set to stun in this hilarious and engaging anti-Kerouac road novel
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Enemy of the Ants (Stephan Valentin, translated from the German by Moira Kerr) (Issue: 101)

Stephan Valentin’s first novel, Enemy of the Ants, is a first-person, minute-by-minute account of three days in the life of Jonas, an alienated, friendless child with a mother full-term with his sibling, 'the football'.
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The North End of the Possible (Andrew Philip) (Issue: 101)

The North End of Possible, by Andrew Philip, gives us possible answers to the big questions through poetry that is politically charged, linguistically rich and varied and emotionally engaging
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That Burning Summer (Lydia Syson ) (Issue: 101)

Our teenage reviewer recommends Young Adult title, That Burning Summer, by Lydia Syson: perfect Christmas present for the girl in your life
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The Forgetting and Remembering of Air (Sue Hubbard) (Issue: 101)

Hubbard, a poet envious of the artist, tries ‘to write a line of colour’. And she does, masterfully, in her collection The Forgetting and Remembering of Air
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A Kingdom (James Hanley) (Issue: 101)

This new edition of A Kingdom brings a neglected work of lyrical prose to light, one that explores the complexities of two estranged sisters coming to terms with the loss of their overbearing father, and the author’s experiences of home and attachment.
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Mother Departs (Tadeusz Różewicz, trans Barbara Bogoczek) (Issue: 101)

Mother Departs is a collection of poems, diary entries, photographs and prose fragments loosely organised by Tadeusz Różewicz around the life of his mother, Stefania (1896-1957).
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Literature, Ecology, Ethics: Recent Trends in Ecocriticism (Timo Müller and Michael Sauter (Eds) ) (Issue: 101)

An impressive and far-reaching collection about the vital matter of addressing our relationship with the environment.
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Muscovy (Matthew Francis) (Issue: 100)

Muscovy delights in the forgetting and re-remembering or re-imagining of the world – in daring the reader to look at the world afresh and wonder ‘How had I lived there?’
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Gwilym Prichard: A Lifetime’s Gazing (Harry Heuser and Robert Meyrick ) (Issue: 100)

The art of Gwilym Prichard comes leaping off these pages with all the relentless energy of the artist himself, and for that reason alone this book is an absolute delight.

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Speak, Old Parrot (Dannie Abse) (Issue: 100)

Abse crams his poetry with humour, grief, and the awed contemplation of the ‘beautiful side-effect’ of 'his Earth unbalanced and spinning among the stars.’
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A Great Big Shining Star (Niall Griffiths) (Issue: 101)

This author rightly has a lot to say on this cyberstate we're in, argues Gee Williams.
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Call Mother a Lonely Field (Liam Carson) (Issue: 101)

Amy McCauley discovers language is sanctuary in this memoir nominated for the Ondaatje Prize.
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Cosmic Latte (Rachel Trezise) (Issue: 101)

Despite its strengths, Penny Simpson finds this short-fiction follow-up to the Dylan Thomas prizewinning Fresh Apples slightly overburdened by research.
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David Jones in the Great War (Thomas Dilworth) (Issue: 101)

Anne Price-Owen is excited by this remarkable book about the poet and the artist's experience as foot soldier.
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Intermission (Owen Martell) (Issue: 101)

Peter Finch lauds this meditation on the life of one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century.
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Red Devon (Hilary Menos) (Issue: 101)

These rural poems of irresistibly coarse vitality comprise a collection that is dark, taut, crafty and entirely compelling, enthuses Steven Lovatt, heralding an unmistakable voice in contemporary poetry.
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RS Thomas, Uncollected Poems (Tony Brown & Jason Walford Davies (eds)) (Issue: 101)

Patrick Crotty concludes that this Uncollected does less to extend that to confirm our sense of the richness and narrowness of Thomas' gift.
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RS Thomas: Poems to Elsi (Damian Walford Davies (ed)) (Issue: 101)

Tony Brown explores the paradox of this 'unloving' man, author of some of the greatest love poems written since WWII.
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The Answer & Other Love Stories (Rebbecca Ray) (Issue: 101)

Huw Lawrence enjoys a novella of emblematic London existences.
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The Rice Paper Diaries (Francesca Rhydderch) (Issue: 101)

Suzy Ceulan Hughes enjoys a stylish debut of alienation and homecoming.
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The Rivalry of Flowers (Shani Rhys James (with others)) (Issue: 101)

Anne Price-Owen explores these wars of the posies where the enemy of woman is a flower, her mother or the wallpaper.
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The Scattering (Jaki McCarrick) (Issue: 101)

Nigel Rodenhurst is disappointed by this short fiction collection by an award-winning Irish author.
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Between Two Rivers (Dorothy Al Khafaji) (Issue: 100)

Memoir of two decades of marriage and life in Iraq by British-born writer
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Air Histories (Christopher Meredith ) (Issue: 100)

Air Histories connects our own lived histories with moving stories of humanity drawn in a weathered landscape of changing horizons and shifting air.
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The Messenger (LM Shakespeare ) (Issue: 100)

The Messenger is a novel which will divide readers, with some appreciating its heartfelt values and others feeling a lack of sophistication.
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God Loves You (Kathryn Maris ) (Issue: 100)

Most impressive in God Loves You is Kathryn Maris’ exploration of our fraught emotional lives which yields a poetry of pathos, irreverence and humour; this is a surprising post-confessional voice
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The Moss Gatherers (Tia Jones) (Issue: 100)

Megan Jones reviews a novel set in a Welsh farming community which dissects manipulative marital relationships.
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She Inserts the Key (Marianne Burton) (Issue: 100)

Forward Best Collection contender She Inserts the Key by Marianne Burton, reviewed by Kittie Belltree
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The Crawshay Portraits exhibition at the National Museum of Wales (Issue: 100)

The Faces of Wales are Hidden, exhibition review, Crawshay Portraits, National Museum of Wales until 22 September 2013
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Other Harbours (Anna Lewis ) (Issue: 100)

Anna Lewis’ Other Harbours is an act of blithe daring
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This is How You Lose Her (Junot Diaz) (Issue: 100)

You put down This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz, the winner of the Sunday Times EDF Private Bank Short Story Award, awarded this spring.
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The Vanity Rooms (Issue: 100)

It is easy to see why Y Lolfa has dubbed Luther ‘The Welsh Dan Brown’as the book is full of the same sort of riddles and pseudo-historical scenery as Brown’s novels.
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Coleshill (Fiona Sampson) (Issue: 100)

Fiona Sampson’s latest poetry collection, Coleshill, is a powerful, brooding portrait of a landscape both real and imagined; Kittie Belltree reviews.
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A Welsh Witch, A Romance of Rough Places (Allen Raine) (Issue: 100)

Steven Lovatt assesses a dramatic genre novel with a warm and unsentimental depiction of the Welsh landscape.
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All the Souls, Stories of the Living and the Dead (Mary-Ann Constantine) (Issue: 100)

Jemma L King enjoys the drunken mood of stories coloured by nature, tragedy and superstition
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Baader-Meinhof and the Novel, Narrative of the Nation/Fantasies of the Revolution, 1970-2010 (Julian Preece) (Issue: 100)

Chris Keil admires a book on German terrorism that has topical and international resonance.
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Bird, Blood, Snow (Cynan Jones) (Issue: 100)

Cathryn A Charnell-White admires this new take on Peredur, Don Quixote and A Clockwork Orange.
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Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape (Jay Griffiths) (Issue: 100)

Jem Poster explores a cri de coeur that we protect a threatened world.
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My Heart on My Sleeve, 14 Stories of Love from Wales (Janet Thomas (ed) & Cathryn A Charnell-White (trans & ed)) (Issue: 100)

Suzy Ceulan Hughes admires a romantic collection in which a new translation shines.
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RS Thomas, Serial Obsessive (M Wynn Thomas) (Issue: 100)

John Barnie admires one of the most penetrating studies of RS Thomas to date.
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Say Goodbye to the Boys (Mari Stead Jones) (Issue: 100)

Crystal Jeans enjoys this forties-set whodunit, once she realises that’s what it is.
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Séan Tyrone: A Symphony or Horrors (Mark Ryan) (Issue: 100)

Niall Griffiths assesses a novel of uncooked charm in the Celtic epic tradition.
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Snowdon, The Story of a Mountain (Jim Perrin) (Issue: 100)

Jem Poster assesses an authoritative, intimate and wide-ranging account.
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The Museum of Disappearing Sounds (Zoë Skoulding) (Issue: 100)

Kym Martindale finds this poet the best kind of curator.
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The Village (Nikita Lalwani) (Issue: 100)

This novel, on the filming of an Indian open prison, successfully unpicks liberal and aesthetic anxieties, Rachel Stenner argues.
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Warriors (David Lloyd) (Issue: 99)

Warriors is a poetry collection by David Lloyd that is preoccupied with the fights faced by all, be they grand or subtle, physical or psychological.

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Welsh Periodicals in English, 1882-2012 (Malcolm Ballin) (Issue: 100)

Alyce von Rothkirch admires Ballin’s dedication but wonders whether this study will find a new audience.
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Then Spree (Nia Davies) (Issue: 99)

Sheffield-Welsh poet Nia Davies' debut collection acts as a versifying ear, nose and throat doctor, peering into the head’s cavities and inner organs for inspiration, claims Dai George
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Beyond the Pampas, In Search of Patagonia (Imogen Rhia Herrad) (Issue: 99)

German author explores ideas of community and self among the Welsh and indigenous peoples of Patagonia (Y Wladfa).

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Patagonia – Byd Arall/Otro Mundo/Another World (Ed Gold) (Issue: 99)

Patagonia is a compilation of photographs taken between 2006 and 2008, documenting Welsh history and cultural life in Argentina.
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Astonishment (Anne Stevenson) (Issue: 99)

Seldom, in the everyday world of poetry, is a collection as astonishing as this.

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A Hunger Artist and Other Stories (Franz Kafka, trans. Joyce Crick) (Issue: 99)

Amanda Hopkinson concludes this great author merits a translator who meets the needs of each new age
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A Radiance (Bethany W Pope) (Issue: 99)

Sarah Coles admires an original, rich and deeply felt poetry collection
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After Brock (Paul Binding) (Issue: 99)

Jeremy Hughes enjoys a novel of parallel worlds, both paternal and environmental
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Black Skin, Blue Books: African Americans and Wales, 1845-1945 (Daniel G WIlliams) (Issue: 99)

Carl Plasa lauds an authoritative, dazzingly erudite major addition to black Atlantic studies
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Cardiff After Dark (Maciej Dakowicz) (Issue: 99)

Kaite O'Reilly admires a photographic Gin Lane with fewer clothes, more jokes, and no proselytising.
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Flirting at the Funeral (Chris Keil) (Issue: 99)

Katherine Stansfield praises a Portuguese-set novel of materialism, memory and the financial crisis
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Ice (Gillian Clarke) (Issue: 99)

The rural of these poems is no country Jasmine Donahaye recognises
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Murmur (Menna Elfyn (trans. Elin ap Hywel, Paul Henry, Gillian Clarke)) (Issue: 99)

Menna Elfyn's latest bilingual collection proves this poet's continuing exploration of dualities, writes Rhiannon Marks
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P L A C E (Jorie Graham) (Issue: 99)

Jem Poster assesses a flawed collection by a serious literary talent
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Poet to Poet: Edward Thomas' Letters to Walter de la Mare (Judy Kendall (ed)) (Issue: 99)

This correspondence reveals a literary relationship which was slightly out of sync, argues Jem Poster
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The Ninjas (Jane Yeh) (Issue: 99)

Sarah Coles believes in this unsettling, funny and wonderful collection
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The Roaring Boys (John Barnie) (Issue: 99)

Kym Martindale enjoys a poetry collection of exquisite irony and pathos on death, air guitar and other life-changing matters
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Scars (Juan José Saer, Translation, Steve Dolph) (Issue: 98)

This is a book that demands to be re-read. And because it is – for the most part – a brilliant piece of writing, I’ll probably acquiesce.
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Loudness (Judy Brown) (Issue: 98)

This poetry collection, shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection, 2011, and the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, 2012, is set amid grey concrete, city streets and close rooms, where human contact is often ‘wedged into narrow space
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You, Me and the Birds (Alan Kellerman) (Issue: 98)

There is excellence in You, Me and the Birds, plenty of it, and some truly gorgeous moments.
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Camelion (Richard Poole) (Issue: 98)

Gods, vampires and animals all make an appearance in this ambitious amalgam of verse.
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Beasts of the Southern Wild, Film Review (Issue: 98)

This Academy Award- nominated film tells the story of Hushpuppy, a five-year old girl growing up on a small island known as The Bathtub, which is under constant threat of flooding and where the people are happy despite being poor.
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Bistro (Kate North) (Issue: 98)

Bistro, Kate North’s debut collection of poetry, invites the reader to embark on a unique journey through her world.
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The Mind-Body Problem (Katha Pollitt ) (Issue: 98)

Reading this collection left reviewer Pippa Marland with the lingering feeling of having been on a journey from which she emerged subtly changed – sadder, wiser, but somehow ‘lit within’.
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Ras Olaf Harri Selwyn (Tony Bianchi ) (Issue: 98)

Ffion Lindsay reviews prizewinning author Tony Bianchi's fourth Welsh-language title about pensioners, running and the Mau Mau war.
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Knock ’em Cold, Kid (Elaine Morgan) (Issue: 97)

Elaine Morgan’s remarkable success in overcoming barriers of class, national and gender discrimination, and her willingness to polemicise on behalf of the Aquatic Ape Theory, suggest a degree of travail and a steely side to her character that this her a
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Leaving the Atocha Station (Ben Lerner) (Issue: 97)

Leaving the Atocha Station has earned praise from Paul Auster, Hanri Kurzu and Jonathan Franzen. Perhaps what makes this novel timely is its charm, intelligence and humour.
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The Bridle (Meryl Pugh) (Issue: 97)

The twenty-four poems in Meryl Pugh’s The Bridle are centered on themes of storytelling, memory, myth, the juxtaposition of body and mind and what it means to have been born female.
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Cheval 5 (Aida Birch, Alan Perry (eds)) (Issue: 97)

An anthology of poetry and prose submitted for the 2012 Terry Hetherington Award.
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Aria/Anika (Sudeep Sen) (Issue: 97)

Despite its preoccupation with categorisation and precision, Aria/Anika comes across as a mishmash, a casting of sticks all higgledy-piggledy, a complex arrangement, but at its best it is a work of startling beauty and will add lustre to the career of one
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Thrown into Nature (Milen Ruskov) (Issue: 97)

With a wonderful carefree nature to its voice and a fantastic economy of prose, Thrown into Nature is a lucid mirror to money, evil and charlatanism from one of Bulgaria’s greatest living writers.

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Homuncular Misfit (David Greenslade) (01/11/2012)

David Greenslade has lived a varied and unorthodox life, and his latest collection of poems, Homuncular Misfit, shows it. Subjects vary from Welsh valleys to Tibetan humming bowls, and descriptions of the Severn Bridge juxtapose with Jabal Ahkdar (a mount
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Married Love (Tessa Hadley) (Issue: 97)

Hadley’s technical skill is matched by her style, which is delicate yet assured, complex yet beautifully incisive.

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The Marriage Plot (Jeffrey Eugenides) (Issue: 97)

Jeffrey Eugenides has cultivated a reputation as one of the safest hands in modern fiction, and his new novel The Marriage Plot topped international best-seller lists and won the 2011 Salon Book Award.
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When I Was A Child I Read Books (Marilynne Robinson) (Issue: 97)

Pulitzer prizewinner Marilynne Robinson, in her latest collection of essays, warns against ‘retreating from the cultivation and celebrating of learning and of beauty, by dumbing down....'
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This September Sun (Bryony Rheam) (Issue: 97)

A unique insight into a post-colonial country, personalising a political struggle from the perspective of three generations of Rhodesians and capturing the fractious nature of life in decline.
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Clueless Dogs/White Walls (Rhian Edwards/Herbert Williams) (Issue: 97)

While Clueless Dogs, despite its nomination, did not win the recently announced Forward Best First Collection prize, this is hardly likely to stall Edwards’ promising career.
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Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam (Eds Todd Swift and Kim Lockwood ) (Issue: 97)

Lung Jazz is certainly a book with ambition coming out of its ears: 153 poets; 153 poems.
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Here and the Water (Sarah Coles) (Issue: 97)

I loved this book; I read it from start to finish, sometimes rereading a poem three or four times before turning to the next.
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Chinaman (Shehan Karunatilaka) (Issue: 97)

Winner of the Commonwealth Book Prize 2012, this fictional autobiography follows WG Karunasena, a retired Sri Lankan sportswriter, as he nears the end of his life.
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The Red House (Mark Haddon) (Issue: 97)

Family from hell on holiday in the Welsh Marches
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The Prince of Wails (Stephen Knight) (21/08/2012)

Stephen Knight’s latest collection of poetry is strung between these themes: the loss of the poet’s father and the former’s own late parenthood...
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The Coward’s Tale (Vanessa Gebbie) (14/08/2012)

It is a paradox of Welsh writing in English that the person arguably considered the greatest of our writers, Dylan Thomas, is the one whose influence everyone tries to shake off...
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The Life of Rebecca Jones (Angharad Price trans. Lloyd Jones) (07/08/2012)

Angharad Price’s acclaimed novel of 2002, O! Tyn y Gorchudd, is here given to readers of English in the translation of Lloyd Jones as The Life of Rebecca Jones.
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Conquest (Zoë Brigley) (31/07/2012)

‘[They beg me to recount it all – / to tell their stories, my story, and I do.’]
This is Zoë Brigley, setting herself a poetic quest, whilst on a residency at the Brontë parsonage.
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Regeneration (Meirion Jordan) (24/07/2012)

Regeneration is a work based on Llyfr Coch Hergest and the White Book of Rhydderch along with the Tales of Arthur and his court as recounted by Mallory...
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Jonah Jones, An Artist’s Life (Peter Jones) (17/07/2012)

Biography of Jonah Jones, sculptor, engraver, essayist and novelist.
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Poets from Sardinia (Michele Pinna (ed)) (09/07/2012)

Diarmuid Johnson concludes that 'compromise is a lesser sin than imperialism in this volume of translation of poetry from Sardinia from Cinnamon.
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The Happy-go-lucky Morgans (Edward Thomas) (20/06/2012)

Edward Thomas' 'lopsided', Laugharne-set novel was among the prose extracted for use in his poetry, on the advice of Robert Frost
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The Sister of the Artist (Dai Vaughan) (18/06/2012)

Last fiction title by the late Dai Vaughan.
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The Man Who Rained (Ali Shaw ) (24/05/2012)

Elsa comes to Thunderstown and falls in love with Finn Munro, a man whose body is made out of weather.
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Funderland (Nigel Jarrett) (11/05/2012)

An excellent first offering, giving a thought provoking series of wry, often wistful fresh angles on the fragility of relationships.
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The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals (Wendy Jones) (30/04/2012)

A young undertaker in 1920s Narberth makes the foolish mistake of asking a woman he does not love to marry him....
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Swamplandia (Karen Russell) (25/04/2012)

Ava is the youngest member of the famous Bigtree alligator wrestling dynasty....
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The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen (Lindsay Ashford) (17/04/2012)

Was Jane Austen murdered? Novel by crime author unearths research to investigate her claim that Austen was poisoned by arsenic
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The Beautiful Indifference (Sarah Hall) (28/03/2012)

Debut short story collection by Man Booker and Orange nominee Sarah Hall
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The Best British Poetry 2011 (Ed Roddy Lumsden) (13/03/2012)

Salt's selection by Roddy Lumsden of the best British Poetry of 2011 published in magazines and webzines
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The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge (Patricia Duncker) (12/03/2012)

This literary crime thriller of ideas is sharply written but overloaded with description.

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Far South (David Enrique Spellman) (05/03/2012)

Beautifully written in the lucid, direct style that has become the hallmark of some of the best crime fiction...
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The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern) (01/03/2012)

Review of The Night Circus
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Selected Unpublished Blog Posts of a Mexican Panda Express Employee (Megan Boyle) (31/01/2012)

Megan Boyle's debut poetry collection
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Tair Rheol Anrhefn (Daniel Davies) (11/01/2012)

Daniel Davies's fifth book and winner of the 2011 Daniel Owen Memorial Prize
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Midwinterblood (Marcus Sedgwick) (10/01/2012)

This latest Young Adult novel from Marcus Sedgwick has a most unusual plot construction...
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Blow on a Dead Man's Embers (Mari Strachan) (09/12/2011)

Mari Strachan's second novel, is set in a quiet Welsh village just after the First World War.
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The Meeting Point (Lucy Caldwell) (05/12/2011)

The winner of this year University of Wales Dylan Thomas prize, announced last month, is an old-fashioned book. This was my first impression of Lucy Caldwell's The Meeting Point, which the novelty of it being my first novel on an e-reader (Sony)
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Dark Matter (Michelle Paver) (30/11/2011)

Having never actually read a contemporary ghost story, I wondered whether people's assertions that 'books are scarier than films' was in fact true.
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And God Created Burton (Tom Rubython) (16/11/2011)

This latest biography by Tom Rubython attempts to delve into the life of arguably the most successful Welsh actor of all time. And God Created Burton takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride through history...
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The City With Horns (Tamar Yoseloff) (08/11/2011)

This review focuses on the main sequence in this collection. Several poems in The City With Horns explore the literal and metaphorical ways we grasp at understanding.
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The Sense of an Ending (Julian barnes) (21/10/2011)

The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes' latest novel and the book that (finally) this week won him the Man Booker Prize, is a thin book impregnated with fat ideas....
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Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-personality (Elias Aboujaoude) (12/10/2011)

The internet has been in popular use in the UK for 20 years. Now that is has, essentially, come of age, a string of books has been released examining the effects of the internet on humanity.
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Love Child (Herbert Williams) (09/09/2011)

There has never been a more apt time than now to read Herbert Williams' most recent novel :Love Child.
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The Empty Family and Touchy Subjects (Colm Tobin, Emma Donoghue) (19/08/2011)

On paper, Colm Toibin and Emma Donoghue are writers working very much in the same style..
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The Tiger's Wife (Téa Obreht ) (11/08/2011)

As I went to Waterstone's to ask for a copy of the 2011 Orange Prize Winner, the shop assistant rather anxiously informed me that they only had three copies to begin with and that these copies had all sold out within a day...
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The Captain's Tower, Seventy Poets Celebrate Bob Dylan at Seventy (edited by Phil Bowen, Damian Furniss and David Woolley) (06/08/2011)

I jumped at the chance to review The Captain's Tower: Seventy Poets Celebrate Bob Dylan at Seventy (edited by Phil Bowen, Damian Furniss and David Woolley). Who wouldn't?
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A Visit from the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan) (23/07/2011)

Much has been made of the structure that author Jennifer Egan employs in her Pulitzer- Prizewinning and Orange-nominated novel A Visit from the Goon Squad...
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Un Ddinas Dau Fyd (Llwyd Owen) (30/06/2011)

As a confirmed Llwyd Owen addict, I was gagging for this latest offering, Un Ddinas Dau Fyd...
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The Psychopath Test (Jon Ronson) (24/06/2011)

There are three easy steps to falling into the psychopath trap...
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Moor Music and Zen Cymru (Mike Jenkins, Peter Finch) (15/06/2011)

Moor Music by Mike Jenkins and Zen Cymru by Peter Finch, two volumes put out by Seren last year, share a lot in common...
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Grace Williams Says it Loud (Emma Henderson) (13/06/2011)

Grace Williams is keeping me from sleeping...
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Africa Junction (Ginny Bailey) (07/06/2011)

Even those Westerners who have 'lived in Africa on and off for most of [their] lives,' like Ginny Bailey's character Louis are 'wary of talking politics'...
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The Breaking of Eggs and A Kind of Intimacy (Jim Powell, Jenn Ashworth) (19/04/2011)

The Culture Show recently declared twelve novelists as the ‘Best Newcomers of 2011’...
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The Woman who Thought too Much (Joanne Limburg) (27/03/2011)

This memoir deserves much more space..
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Help me, Jacques Cousteau and True Things about Me (Gil Adamson and Deborah Kay Davies) (21/03/2011)

Voice-driven narrative is what I thought I liked. It's what Alcemi, my fiction imprint, was seeking among the writers of Wales...
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The Fluorescent Jacket (Roshi Fernando) (10/03/2011)

There are several moments in Homesick , Fernando's composite novel in which this story was orginally published, where tables turn...
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