Author Archives: Beth Wren

Review: The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night, Jen Campbell

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 […]

The London Diaries: Barbican Conservatory

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 […]

Review: Brooklyn, Colm Tóibín

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 […]

Poem #35: Puzzle

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

Review: Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez

Fifty-one years, nine months and four days have passed since Fermina Daza rebuffed hopeless romantic Florentino Ariza’s impassioned advances and married Dr Juvenal Urbino instead. During that half-century, Flornetino has fallen into the arms of many delighted women, but has loved none but Fermina. Having sworn his eternal love to her, he lives for the […]

Poem #34: Mountains from Dust

I suppose we are all walking on a path of dust to the mountains.

Review: The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry

London 1893. When Cora Seaborne’s husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was not a happy one, and she never suited the role of society wife. Accompanied by her son Francis – a curious, obsessive boy – she leaves town for Essex, where […]