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Category Archives: novels


The (non-)completist

Do you like to read every book by your favourite author? I don’t…and I do. I discovered Marilynne Robinson in 2004, when her second novel, Gilead, came out. Narrated by John Ames, a small-town preacher, Gilead has an incomparable quiet humanity; I fell in love with the … Read more »

Hook, line and sinker: Emily Maguire’s Fishing for Tigers

It’s hard not to be hooked by the opening lines of Emily Maguire’s Fishing for Tigers: ‘I had picked Hanoi because the airfare was cheap and I knew almost nothing about the place. The need to be swallowed up by strangeness was the closest thing to desire … Read more »

Not such a bitter aftertaste: Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth

Long before Mulder and Scully turned the phrase ‘trust no one’ into an iconic piece of pop culture, Agent George Smiley, world-weary MI6 intelligence officer and star of several spy novels by John le Carré, was meting out this sombre advice to his peers. But what happens … Read more »

A child’s song of war and home: Majok Tulba’s Beneath the Darkening Sky

  What is it that is so precious about childhood? In Victorian England, the prevailing view was that children were little more than half-formed, incompetent adults. In more modern times, we often hear that children are the future – but even this attitude locates children’s importance in … Read more »

Editors’ picks for July: An Uncommon Reader, Edward St Aubyn and Heat

In this new column, Editors’ Picks, the Kill Your Darlings editors share recent reading favourites. What are your picks? An Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett – Rebecca Starford, Editor I’ve just finished An Uncommon Reader. It’s a delightful novella from playwright and actor Alan Bennett, most famous … Read more »

A novel approach: creative writing as higher learning?

Photo by sterlic During the Victorian Writers’ Centre’s ‘Advanced Year of the Novel’ course I did in 2011, one of the first questions posed to the group by the tutor – the redoubtable Andrea Goldsmith – was ‘who hasn’t read me?’ I sheepishly put up my hand … Read more »

Bittersweet tale of loss and hope: Vendela Vida’s The Lovers

In spite of its title, The Lovers is not a romance story in any conventional sense. Instead, it functions as a kind of anti-romance, exploring themes of grief, perception, self-awareness, and ultimately hope and the possibility for redemption. Yvonne has been widowed for two years. Her life … Read more »

Culture Club podcast: Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote

No, you haven’t accidentally stumbled into the eighties: the Kill Your Darlings Culture Club podcast is where we get together with some of our favourite people to discuss cultural items, be they books, plays or films. This time around, we are attacking Miguel de Cervantes’ masterwork Don … Read more »

I don’t wanna grow up: Gen X in the suburbs

At last, Generation X – who were threatening to be forever known as disaffected cynics with a yen for disco drugs and urgent sex with strangers in toilets – are now being taken seriously as ‘grown-up novelists’. Christos Tsiolkas’ novel, The Slap, has recently accumulated even more … Read more »

Review: Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion

‘What twenty-seven-year-old Johan Harstad has written is quite plainly a work of genius,’ claims a recommendation on the cover of Buzz Aldrin: What Happened To You in All the Confusion? The cynic in me was immediately suspicious of such effusive praise. But the Norwegian author’s novel has … Read more »