Sugar and Snails – a novel by Anne Goodwin

This début novel, published by Inspired quill which “pledg[es] a percentage of profits to different charities, running heavily subsidised workshops, or donating books to those who may not have access to them otherwise” is a searing tale of personal discovery made all the more authentic by the fact that the author is a psychologist and knows what she’s talking about when it comes to the way human distress and disorganisation presents itself. My review is here The Psychologist and the book is here. It’s a cracking read. Continue reading Sugar and Snails – a novel by Anne Goodwin

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Book review: The Secret of Hoa Sen by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

UPDATE I’ve just received this link to Que Mai’s readings at the Lannan Foundation this March (2015)    When we talk about poets writing from the heart, it’s because we feel their integrity. When I say that Que Mai’s writing hands you her heart and lets you hold it, still beating and bleeding, while she tells her stories, it’s because she keeps nothing back and she trusts us to attend. And you do have to attend, especially if you are coming to this with a Western ear, because the language is more musical, the metaphors more earthy, and the characters and … Continue reading Book review: The Secret of Hoa Sen by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

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Indie Authors Linda MacDonald & Cathryn Grant

I am not really a reviewer so I am stopping short of calling this a book review – and in any case, it concerns five books at least so we’d be here all day. Instead, I’m going to just talk about two indie authors – one American, the other British – both of whom write about relationships in a way that takes the reader right inside the characters, following every introspective argument, uncertainty, dilemma, and impactful resolution. Beyond that, they are chalk and cheese. Cathryn Grant writes suburban noir and introduces me to people with whom I have nothing in … Continue reading Indie Authors Linda MacDonald & Cathryn Grant

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Psychoanalyzing fictional characters (via Linda Cassidy Lewis)

I have to say more about this, and so I will shortly. Linda is right, the psychologist’s hat is as difficult to remove as the headgear of the internal editor. More so, possibly, as most of us start out as uninformed nosey parkers and graduate (literally and severally) to become professional ones. When fictional characters are properly filled out, we are satisfied by them because, flaws and all, they are authentic. The trick is to allow them to be idiosyncratic, unpredictable, and downright annoying within that consistent authenticity. That’s what Linda has done with her characters, and why it became … Continue reading Psychoanalyzing fictional characters (via Linda Cassidy Lewis)

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