Critical work to be found online at Thresholds
At the Heart of Conrad
A review of Conradology
'As is to be expected in such a collection, the stories pay far more than a passing lip-service to all that is familiar in Conrad’s work. Not only do the writers embrace the spirit of his legacy by way of style and setting, but take his recurring themes, and see them with fresh eyes. In many of the stories this leads to uncomfortable reading. Certainly, there is a feeling of deep unease at the heart of these pieces, and looking back to Conrad’s writing, we cannot be proud that whilst there has been another turn of a century, the same issues of imperialism, betrayal, alienation and corruption still remain relevant for us today.'
Tales of a Traveller
A critical discussion on Louis de Bernières's Red Dog
'It is a plucky little book of tales that celebrate the life of a plucky dog, and de Bernières has kept faith with the spirit of the folktale. The stories are simple, nevertheless he has imprinted them with the beliefs, values, history and myths of the society from which these stories originated: the Australian Outback. De Bernières recognises that, by gathering the Red Dog stories and by re-telling them, this is how myths are kept alive, it is how they grow.'
Crying with Laughter
A critical discussion on Franz Kafka's' The Complete Short Stories
'To write with humour is tough. To write with humour and succeed is very tough; it takes courage. After all, if the joke falls flat then the story dies. This is brave writing and, like all good comedy, it serves as a defence against both the pain of the outside world and the pain we heap on ourselves.'
Little Infamies by Panos Karnezis
A critical discussion on Panos Karnezis' collection Little Infamies:
'With each new reveal, Karnezis pulls us deeper into the soul of the village. We become honorary villagers, sharing the gossip and judging our neighbours. The villagers live a harsh life, but Karnezis evokes a wistfulness and longing for a strong community. Herein lies the dexterity of his prose, and, thankfully, it’s not all bleak. A thread of romanticism runs through many of the stories, along with a wry sense of humour, both of which he exploits with a deft sleight of hand in a ‘now you see it now you don’t’ style.'
A Wee Glass Of Malt
A critical discussion on Jackie Kay's collection Wish I Was Here
'Kay writes with honesty. She focuses on our innermost doubts about ‘self’ with the expertise of a knife thrower at the circus, prompting us to ask, Who am I? Am I worthwhile enough? With Kay, this search for identity is pivotal to her writing and, in Wish I Was Here, her characters wrestle with both who they are and how they are defined by other people.'