REVIEW: THE ACCUSATION, BY BANDI (2014/TRANSL. BY DEBORAH SMITH, 2017)

How do you review a book like Bandi's The Accusation? People literally risked their lives to smuggle it out of North Korea, concealing it between works by King Sung-Il, the current dictator's grandfather, who was himself the country's dictator between 1948 and his death in 1994. The author (whose true name remains unknown--"bandi" means firefly) … Continue reading REVIEW: THE ACCUSATION, BY BANDI (2014/TRANSL. BY DEBORAH SMITH, 2017)

REVIEW: VENGEANCE IS MINE, ALL OTHERS PAY CASH, BY EKA KURNIAWAN (2017)

TW: rape. Who can resist a title like Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash? What lover of silly B-movies, strange literature, and comics could pass what the book's own jacket cover describes as a "gloriously pulpy tale of bloody fists, broken hearts and duelling Javanese truckers"? How can a 200-page novel about "one of … Continue reading REVIEW: VENGEANCE IS MINE, ALL OTHERS PAY CASH, BY EKA KURNIAWAN (2017)

REVIEW: THE HISTORY OF BEES, BY MAJA LUNDE (2015)

Sichuan, 2098. Hundreds of silent workers, clad in beige, balance on the fragile branches of pear trees. They hold a plastic container in one hand, a brush in the other. The plastic container contains pollen, carefully weighed out. The brush is made out of the feathers of hens bred specifically for this purpose. Each worker … Continue reading REVIEW: THE HISTORY OF BEES, BY MAJA LUNDE (2015)

REVIEW: THE DJINN FALLS IN LOVE, EDITED BY MAHVESH MURAD AND JARED SHURIN (2017)

I have a troubled history with multi-author short story anthologies. Sometimes it's me: I can't get myself to stick with each story till the end, or I can't get myself to reach the end or even the middle if the first few stories are so-so, or I simply can't handle the frequent gear-shifts from story … Continue reading REVIEW: THE DJINN FALLS IN LOVE, EDITED BY MAHVESH MURAD AND JARED SHURIN (2017)

BOOK REVIEW: THE SILENT COMPANIONS, BY LAURA PURCELL (2017)

It's 1866. Elsie Bainbridge is a patient at St Joseph's Hospital for the Insane. She's barely survived the fire that destroyed her home of the last several months. The home that the inhabitants of the nearest village keep well away from. And where, before the fire, four people died under mysterious circumstances. Could Elsie have … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: THE SILENT COMPANIONS, BY LAURA PURCELL (2017)