Umberto Eco’s final novel is a fast-paced historical thriller centred on a newspaper that will never be published, and a conspiracy theory surrounding the death of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. At just under 200 pages, Numero Zero is the shortest
First published in 1975 in the midst of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, Seamus Heaney’s violent and uneasy collection, North, is a tense journey through the mind of a conflicted poet, and the history of a conflicted country. Perhaps underlining this tension,
Roberto Bolaño’s By Night in Chile is a study in unreliable narration. It tells the story of the writer/priest/critic Sebastian Urrutia Lacroix as he reflects, from his death-bed, on certain events in his life, particularly those in connection to the Pinochet regime.
Yukio Mishima was a twentieth century Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, model and film director. He was also an ardent nationalist, with extreme right wing views. His death in 1970, aged just 45, came as a result of a failed
Pond is a collection of short stories, or perhaps a fragmented novel, centred on an unnamed female narrator living alone in a cottage in Ireland. It is often written in an expansive, mock-heroic style, using elevated language to describe the
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a novel of social comedy and observation bound up in serious issues of identity, race, and culture, in a globalised world. Obinze and Ifemelu meet at high school in Nigeria and fall in love. When the
Tim Parks’ The Novel: A Survival Skill is part of Oxford University Press’ “The Literary Agenda” series, which has a rather wonderful aim: “to start reinvigorated work into the meaning and value of literary reading.” Parks’ monograph steps up to
Italo Calvino was an Italian writer associated with both neorealism and postmodernism. He published a number of works during the latter half of the twentieth century and won a number of awards including the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement.
Published in 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde forms part of the literature of the Victorian fin de siecle, literally “the end of the century”; a time of uncertainty as the current century came to an end and the
A version of this post appeared on READ, the blog from Durham University’s English department on 1st July 2016. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, anthropological and ethnographic studies of so-called “primitive cultures” were hugely popular, and there was a