Jonathan Gibbs reviews books for The Independent and elsewhere. His novel Randall, about the contemporary art world and the fate of the YBAs, is published by Galley Beggar Press. He blogs on this aspect of his writing at tinycamels.wordpress.com
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.
16 December 2011 12:00 AM
The problem with State of the Nation novels is that, if you're going to be fair to all your characters and not just satirise them into the ground, and you're also hoping for a decent amount of dramatic intensity, then you're going to have a very delicate task in terms of making things happen.
12 December 2011 12:00 AM
In terms of sheer audaciousness there will have been few novels this year to match The Tragedy of Arthur, which includes - as its greater or lesser portion, depending on your tastes - an entire "lost" Shakespeare play.
22 November 2011 12:00 AM
It's a paradox of translated fiction that, the better the translation, the less foreign the book can feel. Settings aside, your Jo Nesbos and Roberto Bolaños sometimes read like they were written in English. Not so with Jean-Philippe Toussaint. His strange, spare novels are Gallic through and through, teasing in their philosophical play, and pointedly cavalier with regards to such solid Anglo-Saxon notions as plot and narrative point of view.
03 April 2009 12:00 AM
If ever there was a book of two halves, it is this, Geoff Dyer's first novel for over a decade. His last fictional excursion (though for Dyer the division is largely artificial) was Paris, Trance, a druggy elegy for 90s romanticism that was partly a reworking of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster