More King Kong than Kate Moss
More King Kong than Kate Moss

King Kong Theory is about being rebellious towards a system of oppression without ever considering violence against it a step too far. If anything, it’s necessary. Despentes contextualises the title by saying she’s more King Kong than Kate Moss – a woman who is still a woman outside the framework determined by men, which is of course has sex as a primary factor.

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Platon PoulasComment
In the Southern Clime, Where the Summer’s Prime
In the Southern Clime, Where the Summer’s Prime

Three girls, murdered in their own small Argentinian towns two years apart one from the other, all three cases unsolved. Years later, after the police and the courts and the newspapers, and the towns themselves, have stopped talking about them, Selva Almada begins to look closer at these murders.

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Platon PoulasComment
Old Ladies and Murder Mysteries
Old Ladies and Murder Mysteries

An old Eastern European woman living alone in a remote village where people don’t pay any attention to her becomes involved in a murder mystery somehow connected to William Blake’s poetry while at odds with the police, who don’t take her seriously.

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Book Review: The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri
Book Review: The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri

Nayeri blends memoir and reportage in beautiful, powerful prose, intertwining her own memories of fleeing Iran as a child with the more recent narratives gathered from other refugees. Timely and empathetic, The Ungrateful Refugee will force many readers to confront and re-evaluate their assumptions – even (or especially) those arising from good intentions.

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Book Review: Bindlestiff by Wayne Holloway
Book Review: Bindlestiff by Wayne Holloway

Bindlestiff presents a post-apocalyptic-looking landscape that has seen the disintegration of the federal system and of the internet, along with the socio-economic structures that held the country together. But this post-apocalyptic image is just that – an image conjured by a script written by @waynex in the process of getting the Hollywood treatment.

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Book Review: The Governesses by Anne Serre
Book Review: The Governesses by Anne Serre

In The Governesses, Anne Serre builds an enchanted, magic atmosphere where everything happens in the shadows. She employs language and imagery that bring the fairytale staples back to their dark, sexually-charged roots while at the same time exploring masculinity and gender dynamics through a feminist lens.

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The Journeys of a Europhile: Stefan Zweig
The Journeys of a Europhile: Stefan Zweig

The conditions that led to Zweig’s departure from Vienna and eventually Europe all too closely resemble the current climate. The amalgamation of rising xenophobia, Brexit, the rising popularity of the mildly-labelled “alt-right” in France, The Netherlands, Italy, and particularly in Poland and Hungary, would surely inspire the same feeling of despair in Zweig if he were living today.

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Book Review: Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo
Book Review: Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo

From the very first pages, Animalia establishes itself as a text that demands attention and rewards it with visceral prose that doesn’t simply create a world, but becomes part of its very fabric. It’s dense in a way that every page holds its own weight. The action is focused on movements rather than events – the routine is settled early on, and every activity in the characters’ lives is simultaneously mundane and vital.

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Book Review: Rilke in Paris by R.M. Rilke & Maurice Betz
Book Review: Rilke in Paris by R.M. Rilke & Maurice Betz

Rilke went to Paris in 1902 to write a monograph on acclaimed sculptor Auguste Rodin. This was only the beginning of his love affair with Paris, a city which he would leave and return to again several times between his first visit and his death in Switzerland in 1926. Rilke in Paris is the combination of his own reflections on Paris and the observations of his French translator, Maurice Betz.

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Book Review: Happening by Annie Ernaux
Book Review: Happening by Annie Ernaux

Anyone who picked up The Years last year does not need to be convinced that Happening is a memoir of the highest calibre by an author who writes with such honesty and precision about the most personal of stories. Annie Ernaux offers a glimpse into a difficult and lonely period of her life as “something intelligible and universal, causing my existence to merge into the lives and heads of other people.”

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