Here is a list of everything I read during the year, along with links to any reviews I’ve written.
7. Meena Kandasamy, The Book of Desire (India, 2023). New translation of an ancient work of Tamil love poetry. [****]
6. David Constantine, Rivers of the Unspoilt World (England, 2022). Three historical novellas that were just not my thing on the day. [***]
5. Philippe Claudel, German Fantasia (France, 2020 tr. 2023). A powerful cycle of stories on themes of history, memory and complicity. [****]
4. Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Hell Screen (Japan, 1917-25 tr. 2006). I read this after seeing the film Rashomon (which is based on two of the stories). I enjoyed Akutagawa’s combination of darkness, wry humour and unreliable narrators. [***]
3. Tarjei Vesaas, The Birds (Norway, 1957 tr. 1968). Re-read: I appreciated even more this time the subtlety and insight of the characterisation. [*****]
2. Gertrude Trevelyan, Appius and Virginia (England, 1932). The premise of this novel sounds whimsical (a woman tries to raise an orang-utan as a human child), but actually it’s a chilling portrait of the impossibility of knowing another mind. [*****]
1. Horatio Clare, The Light in the Dark (Wales, 2018). Candid journal of a British winter, touching on nature and the author’s mental health. [***]