What is Jott, exactly? It’s the title of the new novel by Sam Thompson, of course, but it’s also the title of a novel within the novel and an all-purpose allusion to the spirit of “the Beckettian”: the double consonants at the end of the word call to mind some of Samuel Beckett’s best-known characters — Hamm, Krapp — and the whole word is an echo of the names of both Watt, from Watt (1953), and his demanding employer Mr. Knott. Open the novel and you’ll find Beckett there between the covers, too.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes a short story by Helen McClory so distinctive, but without fail you’ll know it when you find yourself reading one.
“Constellation” is the word that kept popping up in media coverage of Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights (trans. Jennifer Croft) earlier this year, especially after the novel won the Man Booker International Prize. Flights is narrated by a middle-aged Polish woman who leads an unashamedly itinerant lifestyle, a wanderer whose “energy derives from movement — from the shuddering of buses, the rumble of planes, trains’ and ferries’ rocking” — and her story is interspersed with depictions of other people in similar states of perpetual transit.
Paperback, £7.99 plus postage(UK: £1.99, International: £4.99).Pre-order this book now! Michael Conley’s collection of short stories, Flare and Falter, will be published by Splice on July 30 and is available for pre-order now. It’s a collection with an unusual genesis. One of Michael’s stories was shortlisted for the 2016 Manchester Writing Competition. It seemed…
Consider the poetry of the tarn. Does it even exist? Glaciers, waterfalls, windswept moors: these are the features of landscape typically taken up for romanticisation. Tarns tend to be disregarded, ugly black pools fringed with reeds, or else construed as the dwelling places of demons, hags, Grendel’s mother.
Egress is an ambitious new literary journal that arrives with the explicit aim of capturing attention… opening onto literature whose particular use of language requires concentration, demands a reader’s unwavering focus.
John Edgar Wideman’s “American Histories” might be the best novel I’ve read so far this year. I want to make that clear up-front, because Wideman’s publishers at Canongate appear to be having some difficulty persuading readers that the book is worth anyone’s time.