Reviews


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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Clever Girl (Tessa Hadley) (Issue: 102)

Laura Wainwright admires an intimate and compelling coming of age novel on female agency
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Hook, Line & Singer, A Sing-along Book (Cerys Matthews) (Issue: 102)


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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The Answer & Other Love Stories (Rebbecca Ray) (Issue: 101)

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

Suzy Ceulan Hughes enjoys a stylish debut of alienation and homecoming.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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The Museum of Disappearing Sounds (Zoë Skoulding) (Issue: 100)

Kym Martindale finds this poet the best kind of curator.
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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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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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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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Snowdon, The Story of a Mountain (Jim Perrin) (Issue: 100)

Jem Poster assesses an authoritative, intimate and wide-ranging account.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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A Radiance (Bethany W Pope) (Issue: 99)

Sarah Coles admires an original, rich and deeply felt poetry collection
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The Ninjas (Jane Yeh) (Issue: 99)

Sarah Coles believes in this unsettling, funny and wonderful collection
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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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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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P L A C E (Jorie Graham) (Issue: 99)

Jem Poster assesses a flawed collection by a serious literary talent
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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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Ice (Gillian Clarke) (Issue: 99)

The rural of these poems is no country Jasmine Donahaye recognises
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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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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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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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Salacia, The Museum of Truth & Ling di Long (Mari Ellis Dunning, Nicholas Murray & Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch ) (Issue: r28)

Vicky MacKenzie on a poet drawn to the shoreline who is one to watch; a second, veteran of the publishing world who is as at home with personal despair as he is with political satire, and a third, an acclaimed poet of technical adroitness as well as origi
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A Perfect Mirror & Oedipa (Sarah Corbett & Amy McCauley) (Issue: r28)

Vicky MacKenzie is delighted by the mature voice of Sarah Corbett, in conversation with past and present, and the original and startling voice of Amy McCauley, which inhabits a mythic time and space which are at the same time extremely specific
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Dirty Laundry (Deborah Alma) (Issue: r28)

Vicky Mackenzie lauds highly a feisty first full-length collection (from a notable Emergency Poet known for dispensing poetry from a refitted ambulance), and finds attitude, wisdom, humour, razor-sharp observations and a sense of hard won pleasure
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The Way Out (Kate North) (Issue: r28)

Suzannah V Evans writes that this poetry collection offers a way in through the body, sustains us through images of devouring, but that at times it lacks bite
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Feral (Kate Potts) (Issue: r28)

Resistance to labelling people is at the heart of this poetry collection on a superficially topical theme, Garry MacKenzie finds, but it also moves into a world which feels like a selkie’s take on a story by Ovid
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Indifferent Cresses & An Almost-Gone Radiance (Holly Corfield Carr & Autumn Richardson) (Issue: r28)

Garry MacKenzie is transported by two exquisitely produced and invigorating poetry collections exploring intersections between human and non-human
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Things that Make the Heart Beat Faster (João Morais) (Issue: r28)

Suzy Ceulan Hughes concludes that this ‘slick’ debut short-story collection is packed with social commentary, biting humour and sharp observations, as well as being sparkling with distinctly urban energy and contemporary cosmopolitanism
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Hometown Tales: Wales (Tyler Keevil & Eluned Gramich) (Issue: r28)

Suzy Ceulan Hughes is charmed by two single stories about home, displacement and identity confusion
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That Lone Ship (Rhys Owain Williams) (Issue: r28)

This accessible, not always congruent, collection explores the ghostly ripples that are cast out by everyday happenings, writes Eleanor Howe
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The Tyranny of Lost Things (Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett) (Issue: r28)

This debut novel's marketing hook is a generation’s preoccupation with bygone times, but the glib self-awareness its characters fall into is sometime a trap for the author herself, Eleanor Howe concludes
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Try the Wilderness First: Eric Gill and David Jones at Capel-y-Ffin (Jonathan Miles) (Issue: r28)

While a borderland hamlet may seem a useful site to locate contradictory morality, Kieron Smith writes, this book focussing mainly on Gill the artist who designed the BBC logo’s typeface, does not deal with the extent to which British entitlement can hi
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Mostyn Thomas and the Big Rave (Richard Williams) (Issue: r28)

Alex Diggins enjoys a novel that spikes Pembroke’s natural beauty with 90s race culture to punchy – if not entirely convincing – effect
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The Light in the Dark (Horatio Clare) (Issue: r28)

The perfect cure for winter blues, is Suzy Ceulan Hughes’ assessment of a celebration of this season as ‘part of a sacred cycle in a post-sacred world’
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Blood & Other Elements, Inside the Animal House and Sherpas (Dawn Morgan, Kathy Miles & John Barnie respectively) (Issue: r28)

Assessing these three poetry pamphlets from Rack Press, Suzannah V Evans is struck by a shared fascination with the intricacies of bone and body
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The Killing of Butterfly Joe (Rhidian Brook) (Issue: r28)

John Barnie finds this plot-driven narrative of vitality and momentum to be a collection of eccentrics, with antecedents in road trips, satires of the American Dream and in American Gothic
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Icebreaker: A Voyage Far North (Horatio Clare) (Issue: r28)

John Barnie follows the author along Finland’s north-west coast on the Otso (a floating high technology palace whose job it is to clear ports and cut ships free of ice) and revels in how he communicates the physicality of this unfamiliar environment, fr
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Floating: A Return to Waterlog (Joe Minihane) (Issue: r28)

‘Skin alight’, having joined the swimming revolution, the author, in this homage to Roger Deakin, fails to cure his own anxiety, writes Jane MacNamee, but all the same makes a heartfelt account to resist the pale shadow of virtual reality
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Dusty Cut’s Hawaii (Issue: r28)

Nathan Llywelyn Munday is swept away by an album about friendships, fights and the sea
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Double Review: Brief Lives: Six Fictions and Christopher Meredith (Writers of Wales) (Christopher Meredith (stories) and Diana Wallace (monograph)) (Issue: r26)

Though the sweep of time is a universal experience, Prof Tony Brown writes, in Meredith’s beautifully achieved fictions it becomes acute, textured, made emotionally resonant by personal and local factors
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Staring Back at Me (Tony Bianchi) (Issue: r26)

Suzy Ceulan Hughes is struck by the emotional paralysis the characters in these stories display, alongside warmth, humour and tenderness
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Arrest Me, for I Have Run Away (Suzy Ceulan Hughes) (Issue: r26)

Suzy Ceulan Hughes hails the debut short story collection of one of our finest contemporary authors, where wisdom and empathy shine
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No Good Brother (Tyler Keevil) (Issue: r26)

Un-put-downable, is Suzy Ceulan Hughes’ verdict on this Canadian-Abergavenny writer’s hybrid homage to the Western, the thriller, the comedy and the psychological novel
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The Golden Orphans (Gary Raymond) (Issue: r26)

No one in this spy-themed page turner is quite what he or she seems, as a myriad of plot twists and characters lead a failing artist into the mystery of the ‘golden orphans’: John Barnie investigates
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The Snow Leopard, The Ice Bear, Tell Me A Dragon (Jackie Morris Retrospective) (Jackie Morris) (Issue: r26)

Eleanor Howe reports that these striking, fable-like picture books, published by Graffeg in a large format-edition, are to curl up with and savour, and that they forge connections between nature and people in the one instance, and detailed diverse worlds
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Creed (Honno Welsh Women’s Classics Series) (Margiad Evans) (Issue: r26)

Ed Garland concludes that this is a brilliant novel, brimful of clamour, unease, nature and murky, feverish characters
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Up Top: From Lunatic Asylum to Community Care: A Century of the Mid Wales Mental Hospital (Hugh Purcell, with Margaret Percy) (Issue: r26)

Perusing what he finds to be a fine history of Talgarth mental asylum, John Barnie is fascinated by the hospital’s symbiotic relationship with the town’s economy across the decades, as well as the ways in which treatment of patients changed with chang
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The Wolf Tattoo (Issue: r26)

Nathan Llywelyn Munday, though saddened by the experience, enjoyed how this playwright explores toxic masculine gang culture with an approach that is all at once animalistic, primordial, and scarily current
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To Môn not Mölma: Feature review of Craith/Hidden (Issue: r25)

Gwen Davies writes that Craith/Hidden adds feminism and social conditioning to the big themes tackled by Welsh rural noir as well as asserting that individuals are not dispensable
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Breakage (Nia Williams) (Issue: r25)

Eleanor Howe judges this to be a well-constructed, gripping narrative of fractured relationships, art and society, dovetailing in an amalgamation made lovely by Williams’ elegant and poetic turn of phrase
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Ironopolis (Glen James Brown) (Issue: r25)

The breakdown of a fictional community based on the Middlesbrough council estate is explored in this compelling and convincing novel haunted by an incident at the waterworks, a freak storm and the toilet-tweaking river-witch Peg Powler, writes Eleanor How
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Ground Work: Writings on People and Place (Tim Dee (ed)) (Issue: r25)

The ideal essay collection, Alex Diggins argues, would be an ecology of stories feeding off and contributing to a common humus of argument and design, but this book does not quite meet that ideal
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Rocking the Boat: Welsh Women Who Championed Equality 1840–1990 (Angela V John) (Issue: r25)

A narrow reading of national identity that disregards exiles has made the pioneering feminists in this rigorous, readable group-biography, doubly invisible within Welsh historiography, writes Liz Jones
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The Magpie Tree (Katherine Stansfield) (Issue: r25)

Steven Feeney writes that this novel is everything a good sequel should be, daring to challenge its established formula without losing its identity
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Mama Amazonica (Pascale Petit) (Issue: R23)

Katherine Stansfield studies the complex imagery of Pascale Petit's new poetry collection revolving around the trauma caused by abuse and a mentally ill mother
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Life? Or Theatre? (Charlotte Salomon) (Issue: r22)

Amy McCauley is immersed in this prototype of the graphic biography, an unputdownable, extraordinary, multi-faceted work of poetry, art, autobiography, music and performance.
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Risingtidefallingstar (Philip Hoare ) (Issue: r22)

Alex Diggins claims that this prose writer, incorrigibly hybrid, captures better than anyone except Melville, the ungovernable plurality of the ocean
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Better Houses (Susie Wild) (Issue: r22)

C M Buckland notes the fun, immediacy, precision and restlessness of a debut collection aligned to quickfire modern reading habits
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The Old Red Tongue: An Anthology of Welsh Literature (Gwyn Griffiths & Meic Stephens (eds)) (Issue: r22)

Dewi Huw Owen hails this anthology of translations and source texts as a true statement of bilingualism, and a mammoth achievement in pinning down a millennium and a half of Welsh-language literature under two covers
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The Mother of All Questions: Further Feminisms (Rebecca Solnit) (Issue: r22)

Jennifer Wong enjoys this essay collection about resisting misogyny and building solidarity online
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ergasy (Christopher Cornwell) (Issue: r22)

This is a joyful and exuberantly excessive, polyvocal poetry collection, is Amy McCauley’s conclusion as she assesses this experimental debut book connected to The Lonely Press magazine
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Some Kind of Immortality (Tony Curtis) (Issue: r21)

Taken with the author’s latest poetry collection, Suzy Ceulan Hughes writes, these stories provide an overview of a writing life

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My Life with Eva (Suzy Ceulan Hughes) (Issue: r21)

Suzy Ceulan Hughes thinks highly of a wise and gently entertaining short story collection reflecting an author of eclectic taste and erudite interests
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The Chicken Soup Murder (Maria Donovan) (Issue: r21)

Confident, wonderful and warm hearted, is Eluned Gramich’s verdict on this short-story writer’s novel debut
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Bad Ideas/Chemicals (Lloyd Markham) (Issue: r21)

Eluned Gramich has no reservations in her praise for this proudly weird debut novel, full of delights and surprises
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The Haunting of Henry Twist (Rebecca F John) (Issue: r21)

Julia Forster finds this Costa-shortlisted debut novel on a widower’s grief to be well judged and expertly crafted
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The Second Body (Daisy Hildyard) (Issue: r21)

Lis Jones admires an open discussion on the concept of our politically and environmentally engaged ‘second body’
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A View from the Bed & Other Observations (Jenny Diski) (Issue: r21)

Ellen Bell recommends these essays for their clean prose and acerbic take on subjects from misogyny to masturbation
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Notes of a Native Son (James Baldwin) (Issue: r21)

Caroline Stockford recommends this essay collection documenting the beginnings of the US civil rights movement
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Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (David Sedaris) (Issue: r21)

Fo Orbell recommends an essay collection that teaches ‘these people’ how to lose and how to laugh

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Holy the Firm (Annie Dillard) (Issue: r21)

Ashley Owen recommends an essay collection that is ‘treacle slow’ and ‘hyperobservant’
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The Greatest Need: The Creative Life and Troubled Times of Lily Tobias, a Welsh Jew in Palestine (Jasmine Donahaye) (Issue: r1)

Eluned Gramich sings in praise of readers of unkosher novels and among them, Lily Tobias, the subject of Jasmine Donahaye’s expert biography in Honno’s popular biography series
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I Saw a Man (Claire Pickard ) (Issue: r1)

Less a thriller than a novel of ideas, is Claire Pickard’s conclusion about Owen Sheers’ novel with its central preoccupation with turning experience into words and the potential for evasion and deceit that process creates
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New Welsh Short Stories (Francesca Rhydderch & Penny Thomas, eds) (Issue: r1)

Vicky MacKenzie finds internationalism, diversity, a beating heart, the rush of blood, and the zing of energy in a collection that proves the health of contemporary Welsh writing in English
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Goldfish Memory (Monique Schwitter, trans Eluned Gramch ) (Issue: r1)

Suzy Ceulan Hughes praises the rare and wondrously imperceptible translation of Schwitter’s German in a dual debut of translated stories about loneliness and missed connection
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A Life’s Work: The Art of Evelyn Williams (Anthony Perry (ed) ) (Issue: r1)

Collated during the last year of this resonating, neglected artist, ‘skinned of pretence’, this monograph is superbly designed and a fitting tribute, writes Penny Simpson
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The Crocodiles (Youssef Rakha, trans Robin Moger) (Issue: r1)

It began appallingly – with the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia – but the reforming hope that rose, phoenix-like, from those awful flames was spectacular
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When Young Dodos Meet Young Dragons (Barlen Pyamootoo, Alan Perry & Sachita Samboo (eds)) (Issue: r1)

Mauritian slums; trustafarian students at Welsh universities and a Vancouver ski lift: Alicia Byrne Keane enjoys a poetry and prose anthology that celebrates the differences and parallels of two cultures on different stages of routes to independence
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Four Pamphlets from Rack Press (Issue: r1)

Phillip Clement enjoys Presteigne-based Rack Press’ latest pamphlets in which Adam is destalked; chimneys are weapons of subterfuge; Spanish minerals are magnified, and bodies, stone or flesh, have ‘supple heft’
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Tilt (Rosalind Hudis ) (Issue: r1)

For Alicia Byrne Keane, Rosalind Hudis’ debut collection, with its themes of disability and loss, is tinged with fairy-tale and reveals an artist’s eye for painterly detail, photographic precision and control of perspective
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A Fold in the River (Philip Gross/Valerie Coffin-Price) (Issue: r1)

Liza Penn-Thomas finds a page-turner in this collection of poems and images where poet and the Taff become rival protagonists and the river is the vehicle for tackling the huge subject of being
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The Actaeon Tide (Tom Anderson) (Issue: r1)

Travel writer Tom Anderson’s debut novel is a skilled and original supernatural whodunit crossed with horror story and gritty portrayal of suburban Wales, writes Chris Moss
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The Dead City Rollers (RT Stroud) (Issue: r1)

Ffion Lindsay cannot imagine RT Stroud’s cinematic debut novel being set anywhere other than Swansea, a place where according to her personal experience, melodrama rings true as documentary
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The Book of Tokyo: A City in Short Fiction (Michael Emmerich, Jim Hinks and Masashi Matsuie (eds)) (Issue: r3)

Chopsticks and cherry blossom are banned in this anthology presenting contemporary Japanese writers new to English until now, as well as both new and emerging translators, Eluned Gramich writes
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Paga (Maria Apichella) (Issue: r3)

Sophie Baggott is rewarded by a collection in pursuit of anchorage
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Gwalia Patagonia (Jon Gower) (Issue: r3)

This is an important, accessible, warm, human and wide-ranging history of the Welsh colony in its 150th centenary, but it’s marred by a rambling structure, concludes Jonathan Edwards
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Morlais (Alun Lewis) (Issue: r3)

An overwritten trial novel and yet a literary event on which the simultaneous publication of Lewis’ second biography sheds light, argues John Barnie
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Limestone Man (Robert Minhinnick) (Issue: r3)

Chris Moss admires a novel – compelling, assured and profoundly meditative – of life on the fringes, where civilisation gives over to geology and raw nature
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The Art of Falling (Kim Moore ) (Issue: r3)

Samantha Hunt falls in love with this musical and beautiful accomplishment about falling, in its best and very worst senses
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The Blue Cell and Soft Mutation (Anna Lewis and Nicky Arscott respectively) (Issue: r3)

Éadaoín Lynch enjoys a powerful simplicity and feminism in these respective Rack poetry pamphlets set among Welsh saints and North American abuelas
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The Poetry of Dylan Thomas: Under the Spelling Wall (John Goodby) (Issue: r3)

Amy McCauley review
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Contemporary Welsh Plays (Issue: r3)

Sophie Baggott finds that microcosm and macrocosm work equally well in dramas about identity, independence, family and inheritance
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David Tress (Andrew Lambirth) (Issue: r3)

Art history, methodology, studio life and field trips are all covered in this landmark monograph of the Pembrokeshire artist, writes Celia Lyttelton
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Catch of the Day and Other Stories (Deborah Kay Davies, Cynan Jones & Rachel Trezise (eds)) (Issue: r3)

Deborah Kay Davies, Cynan Jones & Rachel Trezise (eds)
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Alun, Gweno & Freda (John Pikoulis) (Issue: r3)

A flawed poet but an even more flawed man is John Barnie’s conclusion on reading this fascinating account of the mediation between a poet’s biographer and his wife and former lover
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A DYLAN ODYSSEY: Fifteen Literary Tour Maps (Literature Wales (various contributors)) (Issue: r3)

Jackie Hayden enjoys a fascinating anthology of places accociated with Dylan Thomas and the 2014 centenary
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Liberating Dylan Thomas: Rescuing a Poet from Psycho-sexual Servitude AND Notes from the End of History: A Memoir of the Left in Wales (Rhian Barfoot, Philip Bounds) (Issue: r3)

Helen Pendry review
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What a Way to Go (Julia Forster) (Issue: r5)

Comparing this upbeat debut novel of two funerals and a wedding with Joe Dunthorne’s Submarine, Gwen Davies spots themes of terminality, true value, individual potential and facing eventualities
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In Another Country: Selected Stories (David Constantine) (Issue: r5)

Gwen Davies admires a superb selection on ice, passion v habitude, the human right of imagination, the right to retreat into an attic and inappropriate erections
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Y Bwthyn (Caryl Lewis) (Issue: r5)

Y Bwthyn (The Cottage) was a Christmas treat,far better than the tub of Heroes and Celebrations I devoured. An exquisite Thorntons of a novel to be savoured by word, sentence, paragraph and chapter.
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The Road to Zagora (Richard Collins) (Issue: r5)

For Jamie Harris, this book’s strengths and weaknesses lie in its prioritising subjectivity and narrative shape so that the travelogue genre is stretched to its limit
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Spindles: Stories from the Science of Sleep (Penelope Lewis & Ra Page (eds)) (Issue: r5)

Vicky MacKenzie assesses an anthology that explores the ways in which sleep enriches writers and discovers that science and literature are mutually enriching
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Meet Me There: The Cinnamon Press Anthology of Writing & Place (Gail Ashton (ed)) (Issue: r5)

A writer must earn the right to depict a place, is Jamie Harris’ take-home message from this anthology of prose and poetry
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Edward Thomas: From Adlestrop to Arras (Jean Moorcroft Wilson) (Issue: r5)

This first lifespan-biography since 1985, Jem Poster writes, highlights his Welsh ancestry and early imaginative development, as well as challenging the poet’s simplification and romanticising in the public imagination
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Dwy Farwolaeth Endaf Rowlands (Tony Bianchi) (Issue: r5)

Comparing Bianchi to authors Patrick Süskind and John Williams, Nathan Llywelyn Munday writes that this ultrasonic novel of a young man’s continual quest for structure and silence is represented by symphonies of failure broken by movements of love
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Star-shot (Mary-Ann Constantine ) (Issue: r5)

Despite fantastical elements including the animation of buildings, this part-ecological fable, set in a disconcertingly strange modern Cardiff, is wholly about relationships, Claire Pickard notes
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Alternative Values: Poems and Paintings (Frieda Hughes) (Issue: r5)

Only by writing explicitly about the public experience of losing her parents, as well as mourning her brother, can the artist and poet assert her existence beyond grief, writes Claire Pickard
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Love Songs of Carbon (Philip Gross) (Issue: r5)

A quality of acceptance and curiosity about the body’s ageing, underscored by love, is what Ashley Owen gains from the 18th collection of this TS Eliot-prizewinning Penarth poet
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Over the Line: An Introduction to Poetry Comics (Issue: r5)

Nicky Arscott admires a book that is a visually exquisite, intellectually stimulating introduction to a new genre, rebranding poetry as playful and comics as heavyweight
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The Way the Crocodile Taught Me (Katrina Naomi) (Issue: r7)

The Way the Crocodile Taught Me opens on an image of the marks careless people leave behind.
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The Tradition: A New History of Welsh Art 1400–1990 (Peter Lord (ed Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan)) (Issue: r7)

The Tradition attempts to condense three previous volumes, collectively titled The Visual Culture of Wales (now out of print) by Peter Lord
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The Boy Who Drew the Future (Rhian Ivory) (Issue: r7)

This haunting Young Adult book is a complex and moving novel that would appeal to children aged eleven and up
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Scattered Light (Jeremy Hooker) (Issue: r7)

I read Scattered Light while in Venice and it surprised me how, given that Jeremy Hooker’s poetry is rooted in the landscapes of Wales and southern England, the city was the ideal place to encounter his work.
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Ritual 1969 (Jo Mazelis) (Issue: r7)

What will a little girl be when she grows up? Will she learn to escape into a world with ‘no hands to catch her’, or has her education ended before it has even begun?
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Late Love Poems (Steve Griffiths) (Issue: r7)

Begun roughly nine years ago at the outset of a third relationship with the woman who later became his wife...
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Girl in Profile (Zillah Bethell) (Issue: r7)

Zillah Bethell is the author of two adult novels and one children’s novel. She has also written a number of short stories for Honno anthologies.
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Equivocator (Stevie Davies) (Issue: r7)

To equivocate, states the Oxford English Dictionary, is to prevaricate; to deviate from straightforwardness; to speak or act in an evasive way.
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Crowd Sensations (Judy Brown) (Issue: r7)

Crowd Sensations, Judy Brown’s second full-length poetry collection, is far quieter and more probing than perhaps its title implies.
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Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot (Horatio Clare) (Issue: r7)

I loved this unique and enchanting story: Horatio Clare has a gift for language and offers a philosophical tale that remains with you long after you have put the book down.
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Animal People (Carol Rumens) (Issue: r7)

The last review I wrote was on Tony Bianchi’s novel, Dwy Farwolaeth Endaf Rowlands, which gave us a better insight into some of the effects of ASD (Autism spectrum disorder), especially in males.
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Hometown by Carrie Etter, Çekoslovakyalilaştiramadiklarimizdanmisiniz or Long Words by Nia Davies and More Weight by Michael Conley (Carrie Etter, Nia Davies , Michael Conley) (Issue: r9)

Vicky MacKenzie assesses three offbeat pamphlets of poetry and prose, including Conley’s poem on the topical theme of a ministry dedicated to whether or not ‘things have gone too far’
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The Shut Eye (Belinda Bauer ) (Issue: r9)

This dark yet humorous story of everyday alienation delivers at the levels of both crime and psychological thriller, writes Linda Ruhemann
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Slowly Burning (Nigel Jarrett) (Issue: r9)

Despite demonstrating a good ear, vivid detail and humour, its timeworn news-hack subject and plot mars this debut novel, writes Dan Bradley
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Old Soldier Sahib (Frank Richards) (Issue: r9)

Drinking, whoring, gambling, racism and reading Balzac: John Barnie finds ‘extraordinary’ this memoir of a soldier’s life in the Raj
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Wicked Game (Matt Johnson) (Issue: r9)

Chris Moss rates very highly this Raglan-based self-publishing discovery, a former soldier and Met police inspector, a CWA Dagger nominee who has the ring of authenticity and has mastered the crime thriller genre
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Under the Tump (Oliver Balch) (Issue: r9)

Belonging is a deep and complex affair, Chris Moss reports from this journal of incomers and locals on the Radnor- Herefordshire border
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Mametz (Aled Rhys Hughes) (Issue: r9)

Loss, memory, remembrance and landscape resound in this photobook making tribute to the battle and In Parenthesis, David Jones’ lyrical recreation of it, according to Michael Nott, and yet it still manages to look forward
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Addlands (Tom Bullough) (Issue: r9)

Liz Jones finds mesmerising this meditation on the natural world told through sophisticated family saga, arguing that it is richer in grandeur than grand gesture
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Ghosts (Anna Wigley) (Issue: r9)

Vicky MacKenzie admires a lyric poet distinguished in her boldness and originality, a poet ‘worthy of the word’ who is committed to ‘sacrosanct precision’
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In the Orchard: Poems with Birds (Anne Stevenson) (Issue: r9)

Stevenson ascribes a new and figurative language to certain birds in this collection, concludes Garry MacKenzie
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Scrambled (Huw Davies) (Issue: r9)

Fo Orbell enjoys a fast-paced and funny coming of age story for nine to elevens about bullying and parental expectations starring Davidde with three ‘d’s
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Jumpin’ Jack Flash: David Litvinoff and the Rock ’n’ Roll Underworld (Keiron Pim) (Issue: r9)

Faithfull, Clapton and Lyn Ebenezer are among sources for this extensively researched and gripping biography
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Crossings: A Journey Through Borders (Nicholas Murray) (Issue: r12)

In the opening essay of his collection, Crossings, Nicholas Murray, as a method of interrogating the existence of borders,introduces Foucault idea of the heterotopia, a space of otherness, full of things that have little or no connection with one another.
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My Falling Down House (Jayne Joso) (Issue: r12)

My Falling Down House is the critically acclaimed third novel from writer and artist Jayne Joso.
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What It’s Like to Be Alive (Deryn Rees-Jones) (Issue: r12)

Deryn Rees-Jones’ anthology What It’s Like to Be Alive is a carefully curated museum of poetry.
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The Alexandra Sequence (John Redmond) (Issue: r13)

Jack Pugh admires a poetry collection which views contemporary urban life through the lens of British folk-theatre’s ‘mummer-play’, and highlights the protean nature of myth and reality.
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Garden State (Corinne Silva) (Issue: r13)

Jack Pugh discusses Garden State, looking at its engagement with art, colonisation, Palestine, gardening, and how all of these elements work together
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Cheval 9 (Jonathan Edwards, Rose Widlake (eds)) (Issue: r13)

Jack Pugh looks at Cheval 9, a collection of the best work submitted to the Terry Hetherington Award.
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Byw Celwydd, the Bay’s answer to Borgen (Issue: r13)

Dewi Huw Owen wishes, in this political drama, for less family angst, more policy, a greater trust in the audience’s emotional antennae, and a greater commitment to stories of democratic significance
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Ariel: A Literary Life of Jan Morris (Derek Johns) (Issue: r13)

Chris Moss reads this short biography by the travel writer’s former agent which, while sometimes deferential, avoids cosiness and exudes a spirit that is warm-hearted, respectful and forgiving
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What I Know I Cannot Say (Dai Smith) (Issue: r13)

Huw Lawrence reflects on this enlightening account of individuality and communal belonging in Wales
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The Other Tiger: Recent Poetry from Latin America (Richard Gwyn’s ) (Issue: r13)

Suzy Ceulan Hughes admires Richard Gwyn’s impressive anthology of translations from containing 155 poems by 96 poets from 16 countries of Latin America
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Owen Rhoscomyl (John S Ellis) (Issue: r13)

Chris Moss looks at the colourful past of Owen Rhoscomyl and its depiction in John S Ellis' literary biography
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Ugly, Lovely (Ethel Ross (Hilly James, ed)) (Issue: r13)

Dylan Thomas was only intermittently a poet of place. His guiding notions about the natural world were holistic, metaphysical, even quasi-mystical.
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The Doll Funeral (Kate Hamer) (Issue: r16)

Jem Poster is mainly impressed by Hamer’s follow up to The Girl in the Red Coat, a complex exploration of ancestry and inheritance enriched by a shadowy supernatural dimension
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Ancestral Lines (Jeremy Hooker) (Issue: r16)

Jack Pugh enjoys a poetry collection inspired by family photographs that attempts to reconcile the grittiness of ‘place’ with its memory
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Falling Creatures (Katherine Stansfield ) (Issue: r16)

Falling Creatures, published in March 2017 by Alison & Busby, is the second novel from author Katherine Stansfield, but the first instalment in her new historical crime series.
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Hummingbird (Tristan Hughes) (Issue: r16)

Tristan Hughes’ author biography states that he was born in Atikokan, ‘a small town in northern Ontario’.
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The Nine Lives of John Ogilby (Alan Ereira ) (Issue: r16)

Unusually, this is a book born in a remote Welsh ditch. Alan Ereira was producing a 2008 BBC Wales series about the road maps of John Ogilby in his 1675 atlas, Britannia.
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Who Killed Emil Kreisler? (Nigel Jarrett) (Issue: r16)

Jack Pugh writes that this noirish and bleak short story collection, influenced by music in its subject, cadence and pacing, is best listened to with, or as, jazz.
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Light Switches Are My Kryptonite (Crystal Jeans) (Issue: r16)

The story at the heart of Crystal Jeans’ second novel, Light Switches Are My Kryptonite, is deceptively simple: a father and son are struggling to mourn the loss of a wife and mother.
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Rebel Sun (Sophie McKeand) (Issue: r19)

Suzannah V Evans on an otherworldly collection bound by place, as political as it is lyrical
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Blue Self-Portrait (Noémi Lefebvre, trans Sophie Lewis) (Issue: r19)

Alicia Keane on a modernist prose-poem that is an engaging inner monologue taking place on a flight from Berlin to Paris
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Memoir and Identity in Welsh Patagonia Enterprises. Voices from a Settler Community in Argentina (Geraldine Lublin) (Issue: r19)

A standout title, writes Chris Moss, about four Patagonian diarists of the twentieth century, and the need for critical distance when reflecting on the alluring mythologies nurtured in, and exported from, distant lands
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A Bright Acoustic (Philip Gross) (Issue: r19)

In his latest poetry collection, Suzannah V Evans writes, the poet presents the act of listening and auditory perception as a corrective to our extremely visual culture
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All Fours (Nia Davies) (Issue: r19)

Suzannah V Evans is charmed by this peculiar and witty poetry debut on the body, sound and gender
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All That Is Wales: Collected Essays (Writing Wales in English) (M Wynn Thomas) (Issue: r19)

John Barnie enjoys a collection that is a pleasure to read and deserves a readership beyond academia
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Essayism (Brian Dillon) (Issue: r19)

John Barnie applauds this extended essay on the form and meaning of a genre declared to be dead yet still reinventing itself
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George Borrow’s Second Tour of Wales in 1857 (Ann M Ridler (ed)) (Issue: r19)

Derek Turner salutes the publication of this new edition recording myriad small meetings that evoke an age
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Red Roses for a Blue Lady (Christine Harrison) (Issue: r19)

Suzannah V Evans writes that unspoken urges in these stories linger long in this unsettling and memorable collection
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Welsh Folk Tales (Peter Stevenson) (Issue: r17)

Ceredigion based Peter Stevenson is known for his activism as a story-teller and folk-lorist, and for his prolific and distinquished published work, which includes both collections of folk tales, and illustration.
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The Sorrowful Putto of Prague - Webcomic (James Stafford) (Issue: r17)

Webcomics have gained a great deal of popularity in recent years, partly because of their accessibility. New stories can be made immediately available, usually free of charge, to an international readership
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Guests of Time: Poetry from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (John Holmes (ed.)) (Issue: r17)


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This is Not a Rescue (Emily Blewitt) (Issue: r17)

Although poets rarely trumpet the fact, every book of poems - from Harmonium to Acrimony from The Nightfishing to Citizen - is a selfie.
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Three Japanese Novellas (Issue: r17)

Dan Bradley reviews Slow Boat by Hideo Furukawa, Spring Garden by Tomoka Shibasaki & Record of a Night Too Brief by Hiromi Kawakami (all published by Pushkin)
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Diary of the Last Man (Robert Minhinnick) (Issue: r17)

His new poetry collection is a hymn to ‘this world’, as well as a warning about what might happen if we continue to abuse our natural surroundings.
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Celtic Myth in Contemporary Children's Fantasy: Idealization, Identity, Ideology (Dimitra Fimi, 2017) (Dimitri Fimi) (Issue: r17)

Although the title of the book refers to 'children's' literature, many of the books Fimi analyses could more accurately be labelled as 'young adult' due to the inclusion of teenagers as protagonists.
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No Man's Land (Eula Bliss) (Issue: r17)

This collection of essays, writes Ashley Owen, is a topical, frank, informed, lyrically poignant and at times deeply personal exploration of racial tension in the US
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Brood by Rhian Edwards, Translating Mountains by Yvonne Reddick and A White Year by Anna Lewis (Issue: r18)

Vicky MacKenzie assesses three poetry pamphlets on the sudden loss of family members, the indifference of the natural world to human life, and the precariousness of existence
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David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet (Thomas Dilworth) (Issue: r18)

Suzannah V Evans enjoys an erudite and spirited biography which explores the question of why David Jones appears to be a ‘lost great modernist’
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Two Reviews: My Body Welsh & Wear and Tear (Issue: r18)

Reviewing two books on and of performance, storytelling and self-esteem, Sophie Baggott finds the play My Body Welsh to be electrifyingly unpredictable and grippingly current, while the memoir Wear and Tear, by Kenneth Tynan's daughter, is funny, poignant
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Discovering Dylan Thomas (John Goodby) (Issue: r18)

Amy McCauley thoroughly recommends Goodby’s commitment, demonstrated here, to a re-assessment of Thomas’ work, method and ‘process poetic’ celebrating jouissance, hybridity, proliferation and excess
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Deaths of the Poets (Paul Farley & Michael Symmons Roberts) (Issue: r16)

Do poets have a special, secret knowledge of death before it strikes them? How much do readers of poetry want their poets to be death-prone
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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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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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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 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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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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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 Woman who Thought too Much (Joanne Limburg) (27/03/2011)

This memoir deserves much more space..
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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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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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Grace Williams Says it Loud (Emma Henderson) (13/06/2011)

Grace Williams is keeping me from sleeping...
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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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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 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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The Psychopath Test (Jon Ronson) (24/06/2011)

There are three easy steps to falling into the psychopath trap...
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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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Midwinterblood (Marcus Sedgwick) (10/01/2012)

This latest Young Adult novel from Marcus Sedgwick has a most unusual plot construction...
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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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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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The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern) (01/03/2012)

Review of The Night Circus
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