Jonathan Gibbs reviews books for The Independent and elsewhere. He recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at UEA and is working on a novel.
22 May 2013 07:30 PM
Get beyond the vaguer-than-vague title and this is some book: a minor-key masterpiece of restraint, invention and the fine art of keeping expectations deliberately low, then elegantly surpassing them. Nostalgia is set in the fictitious Tuscany town of Castelluccio, home to expat British painter Gideon Westfall, a successful but defiantly unfashionable exponent of neo-Neo-Classicism .
02 April 2013 12:00 AM
In the decade since his death, the books of Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño have been arriving in English translation with staggering regularity.
16 March 2013 06:00 PM
This hallucinatory historical novel brings 17th-century Florence to life – despite a macabre plot full of life-like figures and murder victims
15 February 2013 07:00 PM
This novel offers a bleak take on our appetite for celebrity and the new face of fame
20 November 2012 12:00 AM
Simon Gough calls this book a "fragment of autobiography written in narrative form", by which I think he means it is, if not fictionalised, then perhaps novelised. In his foreword he apologises to anyone who may be hurt by the book, which is always a good sign.
18 August 2012 12:00 AM
We don't just have memories; we make them. Art, as well as science, can help to understand how.
04 August 2012 12:00 AM
In its eerie fantasy, this mysterious novel explores the secrets of language, faith and family
02 May 2012 12:00 AM
Philip Sington's novel has a lot going for it: the fashionably grim setting of 1980s East Germany, with its thrillerish ambience of paranoia and Stasi informers; a love story that crosses geo-political borders; and an eye-catching plot that hangs on a novelist passing off the work of a dead rival as his own.
09 March 2012 12:00 AM
This is a novel about ordinary lives that, at times, dips – or perhaps rises – into the extraordinary. It is about an averagely muddled middle-class family, the Alldens, who live in a ramshackle three-storey house in Bath: parents Emily and Don, and children Liz, Clive, Lotte and Benjamin. The book starts in the late Sixties, with Emily pregnant with Benjamin, and ends sometime in the recent past, with the children coping, more and less well, with the deterioration and death of the older generation.
02 February 2012 12:00 AM
God knows, the mind of the average British undergraduate is a bewildering and bilious mixture of the high and the low, with gobbets of barely digested knowledge bobbing up against the vilest gutterings of the demotic. I think I would have taken Ben Masters' word for it on all of that, but here, in any case, is Noughties, his debut novel, laying out the awful, beer-soaked truth of student life.
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