A cult heroine among many of my generation, I recently decided to plunge back into Woolfian waters, in which I had not dipped my toes since my undergraduate studies. Having read (and attempted to analyse) Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse what now feels like many years ago, I was surprised at just how different Orlando is to Woolf’s other works. […]

An eighteen-year-old Irish girl arrives in London to study drama and falls violently in love with an older actor. This older man has a disturbing past that the young girl is unprepared for. The young girl has a troubling past of her own. This is her story and their story. The Lesser Bohemians is about sexual […]

In a busy and chaotic world, sometimes it takes a quiet novel about a man and his mountains to knock you off your feet. A Whole Life is short and simple, translated from the German into wonderfully unfrilly prose by Charlotte Collins. I think sometimes it’s too easy to be impressed by the grand and […]

Autumn is upon us and nothing seems more apt than to settle down with this collection of magical short stories by masterful storyteller Jen Campbell (and a nice cup of green tea in my new favourite mug). I read The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night on several train journeys, relishing the short […]

Hidden in the depths of an iconic Brutalist architectural structure in the centre of London is a jungle. The Barbican conservatory is the second largest conservatory in London, and is a veritable tropical oasis. It’s only open on Sunday afternoons, and some at that as it gets booked up in advance for weddings. The perfect […]

Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America — to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood “just like Ireland” — she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister […]

We are all messes of ourselves, and yet somehow the pieces always make a puzzle.