John G. Matthews

45 Articles

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PREMIUM

Savage Gods

Kingsnorth wrote his brilliant first novel, The Wake, in a language he created. This book provides a startling and instructive account of an uncommonly creative consciousness in a state of profound doubt.

Night Boat to Tangier

This third novel (following Beatlebone) by IMPAC Dublin Literary Award winner Barry is deeply satisfying. Stylistically, it advances the author’s talent for lyrical prose, with the dialog between Maurice and Charlie particularly magical. Similarly, Barry’s narrative pacing creates and then brilliantly settles the tensions between his characters. For all readers of literary fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 3/4/19.]

Normal People

This brilliantly nuanced second novel fulfills the promise evident in the stunning debut, Conversations with Friends, as Rooney once again portrays to dazzling effect intelligent young adults who negotiate social roles and scenarios reinforcing power structures that, for better or worse, define relationships. Marianne and Connell are unforgettable characters, alluring and sympathetic, and Rooney is a formidable talent. A major literary achievement. [See Prepub Alert, 10/15/18.]

When All Is Said

Highly recommended; this unforgettable first novel introduces Griffin as a writer to watch. [See Prepub Alert, 9/24/18.]
PREMIUM

A Ladder to the Sky

Boyne (The Heart's Invisible Furies) expertly explores notions of originality and authorship through multiple first-person accounts of the despicable Swift. As a result, his latest novel is absorbing, horrifying, and recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 6/10/18.]
PREMIUM

Becoming Belle

As with her debut, Miss Emily, O'Connor offers a stunning historical reimagining. Her eye for details, including Victorian dress, food, and technology, enhance her mastery of character and inner dialog. [See Prepub Alert, 2/26/18.]
PREMIUM

Restless Souls

Funny and sobering at turns, Sheehan's debut is an absorbing, occasionally uneven, tale. Humorous exchanges, especially between Baz and Karl, sometimes distract from the sobering themes Sheehan skillfully develops throughout.
PREMIUM

Samuel Beckett Is Closed

As with his poetry, Coffey here pushes back on traditional expectations about the distinctions among genres. Applying ideas outlined in Beckett's unfinished "Long Observations on the Ray," he questions how imitation is a kind of analysis and demonstrates how porous authorship can be. The result is a masterly, satisfying reading experience.
PREMIUM

Mrs. Osmond

Banville's brilliant 17th novel uncannily evokes James's limpid prose, deft plotting, and finely limned characterization to offer a credible sequel to one of the greatest novels ever written. Banville's genius is unquestionable.

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