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Author: Alyson Coombes

Review of ‘A Devil Comes to Town’ by Paolo Maurensig

Review of ‘A Devil Comes to Town’ by Paolo Maurensig

Paolo Maurensig’s novel A Devil Comes to Town is an eerie tale of literary ambition and an exploration of the perils of narcissism and vanity. When an author receives an anonymous manuscript, he finds inside the story of a madness that once descended on a small, tightknit village in the Swiss mountains. Everyone in the village – which is given the name of Dichtersruhe, or ‘poet’s repose’ – is an aspiring writer, and when a top-class publisher comes to town…

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Review of ‘Tiger’ by Polly Clark

Review of ‘Tiger’ by Polly Clark

Polly Clark’s Tiger is a sweeping tale of survival that travels from a small zoo to the wild expanse of the Siberian taiga. The brilliant cast of characters includes Frieda, a primatologist struggling to overcome her drug addiction following a violent attack; Tomas, a tiger conservationist in Siberia; Edit and Zina, an Udeghe huntress and her daughter who are living alone out in the wilderness; and the Countess, a majestic tiger feared and revered by conservationists and desired as the…

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Review of ‘The Storyteller’ by Pierre Jarawan

Review of ‘The Storyteller’ by Pierre Jarawan

#BlogTour #Review #TheStoryteller @pierre_jarawan @WorldEdBooks The Storyteller by Pierre Jarawan (@pierre_jarawan) was translated from German into English by Sinéad Crowe and Rachel McNicholl and published by World Editions on 4 April 2019. It is available as a paperback, priced at £11.99. Find out more on the World Editions website. ABOUT THE BOOK Samir leaves the safety and comfort of his family’s adopted home in Germany for volatile Beirut in an attempt to find his missing father. His only clues are…

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Book launch: ‘City of Jasmine’ by Olga Grjasnowa

Book launch: ‘City of Jasmine’ by Olga Grjasnowa

On Tuesday 2 April 2019, the library at the Goethe-Institut London filled up to celebrate the launch of Olga Grjasnowa’s third novel Gott ist nicht schüchtern (‘God is not shy’), now translated into English by Katy Derbyshire and published by Oneworld Publications as City of Jasmine. The event was chaired by New Books in German editor Charlotte Ryland, with Olga Grjasnowa and Katy Derbyshire on the panel along with writer and editor Malu Halasa. Malu writes exclusively about the Middle East, and her debut…

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‘Everything is Broken’ by Jessica Stevens

‘Everything is Broken’ by Jessica Stevens

In June 2015, Jessica Stevens was turning out of her road when she was hit by a car travelling towards her at more than twice the speed limit. Having taken almost the full force of the impact, she was airlifted to hospital, put in an induced coma and didn’t wake up for six weeks. In fact, doctors told her family she would probably never wake up – and if she did, she would certainly never go home again. Four years…

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Review of ‘The Pine Islands’ by Marion Poschmann

Review of ‘The Pine Islands’ by Marion Poschmann

Translated by Jen Calleja and published in the UK by Serpent’s Tail, The Pine Islands has been longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2019. I read The Pine Islands in two sittings; at under 200 pages it’s not a long book, and was in fact the perfect afternoon read. The opening grabbed me right away. I love stories that dive right in to the action, and The Pine Islands does just that. The protagonist, Gilbert Silvester, wakes up from…

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Review of ‘Wo wir zu Hause sind’ by Maxim Leo

Review of ‘Wo wir zu Hause sind’ by Maxim Leo

I think I should start this review with a very brief explainer. I didn’t set out to review German books that haven’t yet been translated into English, but I completely fell in love with this book and just felt I had to write about it. So if you don’t read German, apologies for that – but fingers crossed this will find its way into translation very soon! You may actually be familiar with Maxim Leo from his previous book Red…

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Reading Women in Translation: Ten Tips

Reading Women in Translation: Ten Tips

The past week has been quite an exciting one, what with World Book Day and International Women’s Day (not to mention Pancake Day)! My social media feeds have been filled with inspirational and interesting posts about women and books, with countless pictures of kids dressing up as their favourite characters and generally getting very excited about books and reading, which has been great to see. This week has also brought the positive news that translated fiction from Europe is enjoying…

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A brief guide to the London Book Fair

A brief guide to the London Book Fair

Olympia London, 12–14 March 2019 It’s nearly that time again! In just over a week, we’ll all be cramming ourselves back into the Olympia Exhibition Centre opposite Kensington Olympia station for the London Book Fair. This will be my fifth year at LBF, and although I’m probably still fairly new to it compared to many publishing veterans, I’d like to think I’m starting to get the hang of things a bit! So I’ve put together some tips for translators and…

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Review of ‘Home Fire’ by Kamila Shamsie

Review of ‘Home Fire’ by Kamila Shamsie

I picked up Home Fire in my local library, quite a while after it was first published (in 2017) and several months after it won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2018. But there was (and is) still plenty of hype surrounding this book, which meant that it was still on my radar, and when it was recommended to me by a friend on Twitter who I know has a similar taste to me I decided it was time to…

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