Posted on 2nd October 2012

Posted by Sophie

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Mick Flynn’s wife Cathy has died of cancer. To compound his already acute grief, he feels guilt over her passing. He knows now that during his many years as a shipbuilder on the Clyde, he was inadvertently exposing them both to asbestos and that this conceivably contributed to Cathy’s death. His grief is punctured with…

Posted on 30th August 2011

Posted by Sophie

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Butterfly’s Shadow

Butterfly’s Shadow could be described as a steady accumulation of late-realised truths, which leave the protagonists with the painful sense of arriving at knowledge too late. The novel, which takes its inspiration from Puccini’s famous 1904 opera Madame Butterfly, is predominantly the story of Joey, the eponymous heroine’s child. In the opera, his mother Cho-Cho…

Posted on 29th June 2011

Posted by Sophie

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The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton

The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton, Elizabeth Speller’s second novel, is set in a small English village during the aftermath of the Great War, with the ghosts of the dead haunting the present. At a stately home, which dominates and dictates village life, the Easton family are still trying to unravel the mystery of the…

Posted on 7th February 2011

Posted by Sophie

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In an echo of Shelley’s famous claim that, ‘Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world,’ the Finnish-Estonian writer Sofi Oksanen recently remarked in an interview that, ‘The writer’s job is to change the world.’ This notion that writing can have a moral power is fundamental to Oksanen’s work. For her, the very act of…