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Dying for the Truth
Dying for the Truth
by Blog del Narco
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 5 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Dying for the Truth (Paperback)
The extent of violence portrayed in this book is staggering. The photos are shocking, but graded the deeper you get into this book. It is an extremely uncomfortable feeling going through the pages but the images are only one side of the story. Then, there is the narrative, the letters to the author from the criminals bragging of violence, the detailed descriptions of acts of terrorism, the history of the families, the politics of violence, the overwhelming hopelessness. The bravery of the authors to bring this narrative out is astounding. This is not something you will find in the mainstream heavily edited media.


Alif the Unseen
Alif the Unseen
by G. Willow Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very original cyber-thriller with jinn fantasy, 11 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Alif the Unseen (Paperback)
Cyber-thriller with jinn fantasy. Very original take on one's hacker activity in a fictional Arab country. It's a magical, fast-paced adventure with layers of social, religious and philosophical commentary. In way you need to let yourself go while reading this book and immerse yourself entirely in this exciting world. I will be curious to read G. Willow Wilson next novel.


Satantango
Satantango
by Laszlo Krasznahorkai
Edition: Paperback

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard work, 11 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Satantango (Paperback)
I found it very hard to read this book. I could not connect with the characters or the place and I found it very depressing. There are no paragraph breaks which makes it very difficult to read and I must admit it was hard work to follow what was going on. I eventually gave up after around 100 pages. I bought it after it was longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize but frankly, I am not sure, why it was selected, having read other longlisted titles which I must admit were much better.


The Translation of the Bones
The Translation of the Bones
by Francesca Kay
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, poetic book, 11 Jun 2013
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Beautifully written. It was such a pleasure to read this book. It's a slow, quiet, thoughtful novel about faith, love, sacrifice, doubt, despair. I found it very moving, almost poetic, and enjoyed every page of it. Though it's a short book I read it slowly, enjoying beautifully constructed sentences. It's a kind of book that you want to make time to read, to think and re-think the choices the characters made. Ultimately, to me, it was a book about what we choose to believe in and how we go on about justifying faith.


Where the Devil Can't Go
Where the Devil Can't Go
by Anya Lipska
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 11 Jun 2013
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Such a great read. Fun, fast-paced crime/thriller set in the Polish community in London with an interesting historical/political backdrop. Very original, detailed storyline with unforgettable, flawed characters - Janusz Kiszka, Detective Constable Natalie Kershaw, Kiszka's best friend Oskar. This is a kind of book that would make a great film or TV adaptation. The book was recommended by a friend and I'm definitely looking forward to reading the sequel.


Seven Terrors
Seven Terrors
by Selvedin Avdic
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and compelling with unexpected humour, 22 Jan 2013
This review is from: Seven Terrors (Paperback)
Quite unusual and compelling book. After the narrator's wife leaves him, he spends nine months in self-imposed isolation until his old friend's daughter Mirna shows up at his front door one morning with her father's diary. And so begins the narrator's search for Mirna's father and his friend. A rich and rewarding book which weaves the elements of the surreal and mythical, of one man's journey into the past to find out what had really happened to his friend. At the same time the narrator ponders the reasons why his wife had left him, and what love is about.

I was surprised by the humour in the book, considering it portrays the horrors of the war, particularly the narrator's description of the Vogue magazine and its editor-in-chief Anna Wintour is priceless. I couldn't stop from bursting with laughter.

There are seven blank pages left at the end of the book where you can add your own list of terrors which I thought was quite clever. It's a short but quite engaging book which I quite enjoyed reading (and filling the empty pages with my own terrors).


The Slynx (New York Review Books Classics)
The Slynx (New York Review Books Classics)
by Tatyana Tolstaya
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amusing and frightening book, 22 Jan 2013
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Post-apocalyptic fiction is rarely funny but this novel is quite a treat. It's both amusing and frightening, with cynical and distrustful characters, an inventive take on dystopian literature. Set in Moscow (now called Fyodor-Kuzmichsk) around 200 years after the Blast it's a primitive society of `oldeners' or the survivors born before the event and `consequences' people with deformities born after the Blast. It's the society where books and freethinking have been outlawed since the Blast, people catch mice which form staple food and a currency, half-human, four-legged Degenenerators are used to pull sleighs and almost everybody is afraid of the monster the Slynx. The novel revolves around the life of an ordinary citizen Benedikt whose job is to hand-copy the works of the current leader/dictator Fyodor Kuzmich Glorybe. On the spur of the moment Benedikt proposes to beautiful Olenka and his life transforms when he finds out his father-in-law has a room full of books. Kudos to James Gambrell, the translator.


Freshta
Freshta
by Petra Prochazkova
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable characters with some impossibly funny scenes, 22 Jan 2013
This review is from: Freshta (Paperback)
This is a very different novel to other books I read set in Afghanistan like Hosseini's The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns or Seierstad's Bookseller in Kabul. I was expecting another `brutal and heart-breaking' story but this novel was quite refreshing and surprisingly amusing with some impossibly funny scenes. Set in Kabul, the novel tells the story of one family narrated by half-Russian, half-Tadjik woman - Herra who relocates from Russia after she marries an Afghan. This book has some wonderful and memorable characters: Grandpa, a feminist who does not shy away from bashing other male members of the family for disrespecting women or insists on sending girls to school, and Mad, the disfigured boy, adopted by the family, who turns out to be very sensitive and clever.

Herra is quite critical about Western humanitarian organisations and the ignorance of Americans towards Afghan culture, language and customs. This element of the book was very enjoyable and honest, rather than the usual portrayal of Americans as the good guys who bring the Western values of democracy and freedom. This book forced me to open my eyes and introduced a different perspective to Afghanistan and ordinary people who live there. Another thing that caught my eye is the beautiful design of the book, the cover and spine are simply gorgeous.


The Buddha in the Attic
The Buddha in the Attic
by Julie Otsuka
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.30

5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable and moving book., 15 Jan 2013
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Unforgettable and moving book. A very short, under 150 pages, tightly written novel (novella?). At times the prose is very simple yet powerful and incredibly moving. There's a lot of anger and bitterness in the narrative voice as well as sadness. I quite liked the story was told from the perspective of so many women rather than a specific character which allowed the author to present multiple stories, sometimes only one sentence or a few words long. This to me is the strength of the book - the collected narrative voice. The women come from all walks of life, with their dreams, expectations, fears and hopes but everything undergoes a change after they land in the US and begin their lives alongside their American husbands. It is at times a heart-breaking read but there's resilience as well and courage.


Give Me: Songs for Lovers
Give Me: Songs for Lovers
by Irina Denezhkina
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.20

4.0 out of 5 stars A snapshot of contemporary life in Russia, 8 Jan 2013
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An interesting collection of eleven stories, a snapshot of contemporary life in Russia. One of the strongest elements of the stories is the language the characters use and the dialogue. There's a permeating feeling of sadness and a certain emotional coldness in those stories which frankly was quite refreshing. Not bad for such a young author and I will be on the lookout for Denezhkina's next book.


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