Russian Émigré Short Stories at @shinynewbooks @Bryan_S_K


I have a new review up at Shiny New Books today that I wanted to share with you, and it’s of a wonderful chunky volume of stories which has been involving me for a few weeks.

“Russian Émigré Short Stories from Bunin to Yanovsky” is a landmark collection from Penguin. Skilfully collected, edited, annotated and mostly translated by the talented Bryan Karetnyk, it collects together a wonderful array of works by authors who were exiled from their homeland by the Russian Revolution and the Civil War 100 years ago.

Translator and all-round clever person Bryan Karetnyk

Some authors are well-known (Nabokov, Bunin), some recently rediscovered (Teffi, Gaito Gazdanov) but many new to me and newly translated and quite marvellous.

You can read my review here – and I can’t recommend this collection highly enough.


Jane Austen week at #ShinyNewBooks


Tomorrow is the 200th anniversary of the beloved English author, Jane Austen, and Shiny New Books is hosting a week of posts celebrating her life and work.

I spent some happy hours encountering Austen’s juvenilia recently, courtesy of a beautiful review copy from Oxford University Press, and my review is up on Shiny today. Do go and check it out here, and also keep an eye on their posts for the week – there’s bound to be some fascinating reading!

A Poet’s Legacy – #ShinyNewBooks #SylviaPlath


A quick heads-up about a review I’ve done for Shiny New Books which is now live. The book this time is a fascinating volume which looks at the archival legacy of Sylvia Plath, one of my favourite authors, and it’s an intriguing and involving read.

Plath’s archive is vast and very spread out, and following the adventures of the authors as they explored the many aspects of it was a wonderful experience. You can read my full review here.


Dark and unsettling… #ShinyNewBooks


I have a new review up on Shiny New Books today, in the form of a new collection of short stories by the American author, Joyce Carol Oates.

Oates is a remarkably prolific author, and I had previously reviewed one of her books, so I was keen to explore more when I had the chance to review this collection. It’s entitled, rather chillingly, DIS MEM BER, and the stories are certainly unsettling to say the least – but highly recommended.

(Photo by Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty Images)

My review is here, so do pop over and have a look! More

Meeting Letty Fox #shinynewbooks


You might have noticed me mentioning in a few places recently that I had been reading a rather large review book. That volumes was “Letty Fox: Her Luck”, a long, interesting and in some ways frustrating read!

This was my second encounter with Christina Stead, who certainly can write although seems to me to be in need of an editor! The book is another lovely reprint from Apollo, and they certainly do produce some lovely editions.

My review is here – do go and check it out, as well as all the lovely bookish things on Shiny New Books!

Surrealism on Shiny


Today I have another review live on Shiny New Books, and this time it’s non-fiction for a change. The book in question is a fascinating one about a fascinating artist; entitled “The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington”, it’s authored by a relative of the artist, Joanna Moorhead, and she offers an intriguing perspective on her cousin.

I’ve written about Carrington’s work before, when I reviewed “The Hearing Trumpet“; and I’ll be covering the new NYRB edition of “Down Below” soon. Meanwhile, you can read my review of “The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington” here – it’s an excellent book!


A Review for Shiny – reinventing some Soviet authors!


If you’re a regular reader of the Ramblings, you’ll be aware of my love of every kind of Russian literature; and also of my great fondness from the marvellous Mikhail Bulgakov, author of “The Master and Margarita” amongst others.

So it was a given that I’d be keen on reading a new book from Europa Editions, “Mikhail and Margarita” by Julie Lekstrom Himes, which takes the lives of Bulgakov and his fellow author Mandelstam and constructs a fascinating fantasia, creating an alternative version of their lives which draws in Bulgakov’s great work.

The book is not without its flaws, but it captures marvellously the tense atmosphere of being an artist living under a totalitarian regime – and you can read my full review over on Shiny New Books here!

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: