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MacLehose Press Publicity 28/9/11

MacLehose Publicity Guru Nicci Praca’s favourite book for this year is doing rather well in the

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reviews department this week. So far Good Offices, by the Independent Foreign Fiction award winner Evelio Rosero, has been reviewed in The Sunday Times by Lucy Scholes:

“… translated into English (eloquently rendered by Anne McLean and Anna Milsom) is a small but commanding piece of fiction so neatly devised that it reads more like a short story … Rosero’s sharply satirical attack on the Catholic Church features a host of carnivalesque characters … This is a fable of vice and desire as comic as it is disturbing”

And in the Skinny (Time Out-esque mag in Scotland) which gives it 4 stars and predicts that it is a contender for future literary prizes:

Good Offices exposes the negativity that can prevail in the Church and a human desire for fulfillment in life. It shows that those who are condemned to grow old in the service of God may want a different life after all, yet struggle to find a way out” Tina Koenig

Two MacLehose Press titles have been reviewed in the Journal for the Law Society in Scotland:

The Upright Piano Player:

“This stunning debut novel beautifully observes Henry Cage as he retires early from the successful business he built, faces up to the breakdown of his marriage, and encounters unexpected but tragic reconciliation with his wife and son. The description of the charmed (but soon to be shattered) London life contrasted with Norfolk is delightful. Readers of McEwan and Cartwright will not be disappointed”

& Until Thy Wrath Be Past:

“With the eclipse of Stieg Larsson and Wallander, the Nordic detective genre has enabled new openings. District Prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson is unknown to UK readers, but deserves to become well

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known. This complex, compelling and satisfying story of hidden truths and fear of disclosure and the consequences is set against the background of north Sweden”

One that should have been mentioned in last week’s round-up managed to evade inclusion by hiding in amongst all my other reviews until filing time. I’m glad I manage to find it though, because it is yet another wonderful review for the paperback of School Blues. This time in the Mail:

“Charming, insightful and funny, this is a book to be read by teachers, parents and – if only it could be arranged – by every child who thinks that books are not for them”

Boyd Tonkin has once again picked up the fabulously dark crime series set in Wroclaw and reviewed the paperback of Phantoms of Breslau by Marek Krajewski in the Independent – which has also been repeated in the I (mini version on the Indy):

“A Polish city only since 1945 – Krajewski has in his splendid series of crime novels resurrected the lost world of prewar, German Breslau – as it was. He disinters this buried metropolis like a fictional archaeologist, framing his tantalising mysteries and gamey characters against a hallucinatory sense of place …”

And Stuart Allen has also reviewed Phantoms of Breslau, but decided to go with the hardback edition instead of the pb on his blog Winston’s Dad:

“Now anyone who follows me on twitter or have read comments I’ve placed around blogosphere knows I’ve been singing the praises of this book … Krajewski’s main talent is his eye for detail, from cigarette smoke in a pipe, to the food they eat, he makes 1919 Breslau come to life. We get drawn into a dark and dangerous place as the people there come to terms with the post war world of 1919 … I feel this is the perfect autumn read – as the nights draw in you can get drawn into the dark side of Breslau”

The paperback of The Last Brother has been reviewed in the Good Book Guide:

“A Beautifully written tale of a little-known historical episode that illustrates to perfection the ripples and effects that war had on the most innocent and remote lives”

On a happy note, both STIEG LARSSON and CHRISTOPHER MACLEHOSE have made the Guardian’s Top 100 most influential people in publishing list, with STIEG LARSSON AT NO. 18 and CHRISTOPHER AT NO. 70.



MacLehose Publicity 14.02.11

It’s Valentine’s Day! So what better way to start the MacLehose publicity round-up than with LOVE VIRTUALLY, which has had a bumper crop of reviews this weekend, starting with a 4-star review in the Mirror on Friday:

‘This was a massive, million-plus bestseller in Glattauer’s native Germany, and it’s easy to see why. Short, striking and snappily written, Love Virtually explores the brilliant premise of love by accidental email.’ Henry Sutton

And the Guardian ran their review on Saturday:

‘It’s the beginning of a modern romance… The end is as unexpected as it is inevitable. The book is translated from the German, but the whole thing is tout à fait.’ Ian Sansom

Star Magazine gave our favourite Valentine’s read 4 stars… and lots more more bloggers have given it the thumbs up, beginning with David Hebblethwaite:

‘I warmed to the ebb and flow of the exchange, which is a kind of courtship dance that creates personae for the two correspondents whilst occasionally offering glimpses of the real characters underneath… Whatever reservations I might have had towards the beginning, by the end of Love Virtually I was gripped, wanting to know what happened. The ending is judged perfectly, and paves the way for the sequel, which will receive its English-language publication later in the year.’

Followed by the ever-popular Winston’s Dad:

‘Pleased to say it does something I have wanted to see in Literary fiction for a long time and that is use modern tech as a drive or device for a book in this case it is e mails so he has also dragged the Epistolary novel in to the 21st century with much style and vigour, like Samuel Richardson in the 18th century it is love that is the driving force of this novel’

Essentials magazine gives books to their readers and asks them to review them, and here is one for THE FOLDED EARTH in their March issue:

‘It’s a beautifully written and unique insight into life in a remote community’ Denise Manzor (44, Glasgow)

The Sunday Times also reviews:

‘A gently perceptive story, half comic and half poignant.’ Nick Rennison

Words Without Borders adds their praise for THE LAST BROTHER:

‘A quiet, lyrical coming-of-age novel… The Last Brother is a book of questions, a sweet and sad riddle of two boys — with two very different histories — brushing up against each other ever so briefly in some faraway, forgotten land. The book is rich with metaphor, the language ripe and evocative. And even if the tale itself is doomed to tragedy, Appanah’s telling of it is shot through with bursts of light and transcendence… The Last Brother is that rare book that’s able to explore grand and sweeping themes of history with a masterfully light touch.’ Anderson Tepper

TREBLINKA has been reviewed in the Spectator by Jonathan Mirsky:

‘What is pure fact? Chil Rajchman gets close. Treblinka is his spare memoire of ten months in a place devoted exclusively to execution, where 800,000 people were murdered… It is as ‘unliterary’ as language can be, dry and concise. As Samuel Moyn notes in his insightful introduction, ‘Treblinka is bleak and discomforting, not redemptive and uplifting.’ The events are enough. The author is cutting a woman’s hair. (no one knows what happened to the tons of hair collected in the camps.) She has minutes to live… I quail before such passages and find them nearly unendurable to record.’

Jonathan Mirsky goes on to mention Grossman’s own essay on Treblinka (which is included in this book) and confessing that it had been hard to write about the camp:

‘Why write about it, then?’ some may ask. It is the writer’s duty to tell the terrible truth, and it is the reader’s civic duty

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to learn this truth.’

WARTIME NOTEBOOKS is reviewed in The Lady:

‘It’s clear from reading these early experiments and drafts what a modern writer Duras was. A novelist determined to pinpoint the truth, she was fascinated by the interplay between memoir and fiction. For her, real life always lay somewhere in between.’ Emma Hagestadt

Living France also reviews WARTIME NOTEBOOKS:

‘Provides an illuminating insight into the life and work of this major European writer’

PHANTOMS ON THE BOOKSHELVES has been reviewed by Resident Magazine:

‘Somehow this book collector’s memoir captures the feel of dusty Left-Bank bookshops with their intriguing yet to most of us impenetrable piles of books in other languages which describe other cultures and events long-forgotten. Written as one man’s story of the books on his shelves, this is also the story of the books on all our shelves.’ Robert Gwyn Palmer

Nicolette Praça, Head of Publicity for Quercus and MacLehose Press

MacLehose Press in the papers…

What a great week and weekend of notices we’ve enjoyed! So, without further ado, let’s get on with the round-up…

THE FOLDED EARTH was reviewed in the Daily Mail on Friday:

‘Roy’s attention to individual words pays off as she conveys the full texture of experiences. Who else would think of mountains as ‘fingers’ or call the sky a ‘fluid blue’? Even minor characters are evoked with ­inventive idiosyncrasy… her prose is so tight with life.’ Laura Silverman

And femalefirst gives Anuradha’s latest novel 4 stars:

‘The plot is enticing… a beautiful story of trying to get over the hill from the past to the present. No matter how difficult Maya’s life becomes, her strength and determination to push forward is an inspiring one. A good read to experience new culture and way of life.’

LOVE VIRTUALLY has hit the Irish media this week with a review in Image magazine:

‘A romantic story by Vienna-born journalist Glattauer, translated by husband and wife team. Oh, to have been a fly on that office wall when it came to Emmi’s marital indiscretion…’

LOVE VIRTUALLY is also still picking up

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plenty of website reviews and this recent one, on The Complete Review, also lists lots of other reviews, as well as kindly linking back to our site (and that of our partners, SilverOak).

Whilst the reviewer (who read the book in its original German, as opposed to the English translation) is not crazy about the book, he does note:

‘The concept of such a virtual relationship is also an interesting one to explore… Of course, ‘virtual love’ surely must, in the final analysis, be fundamentally unsatsifying, too, so in a way Glattauer has achieved a certain measure of success… Love Virtually has been a phenomenal (and multi-national) success, a bestseller that has been translated into dozens of languages. I have no idea what chord it is striking (or how it is doing so), but apparently it works for a lot of readers…’ M.A.Orthofer

It may not have been The Complete Review‘s favourite ever book, but bookmonkeyscribbles was overwhelmed:

‘When I picked it up and saw the cover and read the blurb, I thought there was no way this book was for me! I’m certainly no fan of ‘chick-lit’ or anything remotely ‘girly’ so the idea of another soppy romance novel didn’t really entice me. But I decided to give it a go due to it’s massive success overseas, and boy am I glad I did! Leo and Emmi are two fantastic characters whose comical banter just had me giggling away to myself. This is definitely not your typical romance novel! It is so original and incredibly well written in e-mail format that it keeps you turning page after page – never wanting to put it down!

This is definitely recommended for fans of Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler’s Wife) and David Nicholls (One Day). It really is a great read that will keep you hooked til the end!’

THE BREAKERS is reviewed in U Magazine in Ireland (Ireland’s equivalent of Grazia):

‘This is so atmospheric it transports you straight to the storm-lashed fishing village full of strange characters with old gripes still looming over their relations… it seethes with loss, intrigue and secrets.’

The Skinny (a Time Out-like magazine in Scotland) give THE BREAKERS 3 stars:

‘Villages at the end of the earth share a degree of uniformity in that through their inhospitable settings and eccentric communities, they have an ability to offer solace and redemption to those haunted by or needing to escape the world.

In The Breakers, Gallay has stuck to the template, but managed to create a distinct version: French, rough hewn from an interminable and unforgiving sea, a place where the wind ‘tears the wings off butterflies’ and where the village is built from the wood of infinite shipwrecks… Gallay etches a solitude and disconnectedness into each character and each sentence. Yet despite its aloof, abandoned-lighthouse-like tone, the story has heart. There is an appealing complexity in the relationships, rather than the individual characters, of the odd and curious village community.’ Renée Rowland

A reader of NewBooks Magazine adds her voice:

‘This atmospheric novel is set in the small French village of La Hague on the Normandy coastline. I like the fact that the energy of the sea contrasts so greatly with the desolation and apathy of both the setting and the inhabitants… Overall, a great read that lives up to its French hype.’ Kelly Selby-Jones

The Frenchpaper has also reviewed Gallay’s exquisite book, giving it 4 stars:

‘This book won several prizes in its original French language edition, and has been beautifully translated. It is an evocative mystery… A very French style, beautifully written and, not surprisingly, film rights have been taken up.’ Sandie George

THE LAST BROTHER has been given an amazing review by Dalia Sofer in the New York Times:

‘…beautiful, concise novel… Inspired by the largely unknown story of 1,500 Jews who fled Europe only to be imprisoned in Mauritius from 1940 to 1945 after their ship was refused entry into Palestine (then under British rule), the novel recounts the heartfelt friendship between two boys: David, a Czech orphan, and Raj, an Indian-Mauritian grieving for the two brothers he lost in a flash flood.

In conversational prose that brings to mind a grandfather unburdening himself of an anguished memory… The Last ­Brother explores grief and the inadequacy of language to address it. Yet if no single word can capture the devastation of bereavement, Appanah shows how the simple power of storytelling can come close… The burden of solitude is central to this novel. Appanah frequently, and skillfully, contrasts weight and lightness — the sorrow of loss versus the joy of love, the horrors of war versus the beauty of friendship, the harshness of nature on some days and its caress on others… the novel, despite its grave content, reads like a whispered fable. Irony has no place here.

The Last Brother is Appanah’s fourth novel, the second to be published in English. Strachan’s translation is faithful and limpid, preserving in large part the rhythm of the French. Appanah’s is a beautiful new voice, one that makes “a kind of music.” If the song it sings is sad, well, it’s all the more lifelike for that.’

And another on the Bookbag website:

‘Told by Raj as an old man, The Last Brother is a story of childhood resistance to a violent and vicious adult world. But it’s also the story of the larger fight against all injustice, whether it be state-inflicted genocide or parental abuse… As Raj looks back on the escape, Appanah exposes just how much his soul has suffered – from his father’s violence, from the death of his brothers, and from his brief and tragic friendship with David. But that friendship was also the source of redemption for Raj. The power of love is a stronger force than we could ever know.

The whole thing is beautiful – from the picture of suffering souls, through the lush descriptions of an exotic island, prey to invincible forces of nature, to the rare and beautiful moments of friendship that are never forgotten. It’s both extravagant and economical – not a word is wasted – and so it’s gorgeous and sad, sophisticated and simple, all in equal measures. The translation is impeccable, too. I found it deeply moving, completely absorbing, and I cried for both boys. Highly recommended’ Jill Murphy

SCHOOL BLUES is still bringing in the odd review as more and more people pick it up and realise just how brilliant it is. This time we have a review in Peace News:

‘Most of his pupils were children and teenagers with varying degrees of learning difficulty, who presented similar symptoms to his own – no self-confidence, no motivation, a predilection for lying, involvement with gangs, drugs and alcohol. He helped them through by taking them seriously, relating to them as individuals and having high expectations. Violence in the French industrial suburbs had led to the condemnation of all teenagers from that sort of area as an evil threat, yet when he went into schools he was amazed by “their liveliness, their laughter, their earnestness, their thoughts and, more than anything else, their vital energy.” A great deal of violence stems from failure at school, and failure at school can be avoided or even overcome if children and young people are treated with the respect they deserve, listened to seriously and, as Pennac eventually dares to put into the mouth of his juvenile self, loved.’ David Gribble

A great weekend of MacLehose publicity…

WARTIME NOTEBOOKS by Marguerite Duras has been prolifically reviewed in the weekend papers, beginning with the Daily Mail and the Independent on Friday, and following with the Guardian on Saturday:

Daily Mail: ‘They convey a strong, exotic sense of place – whether it be Thirties ­Indochina or a magical post-War Italy… and the ­undeniably erotic charge of war. Ultimately, reading them is a little like ­hearing a classic LP dissected on a mixing desk: to feel the true fascination of the ­process and its scattered component parts, you need to experience the slick, ­finished product.’ Tom Cox

Independent: ‘Duras, who died in 1996, was fascinated by her own story and spent a lifetime re-writing it… Duras’s reminiscences of occupied France are more brutal still. She’s a very modern writer fascinated by the interchange between memoir and fiction.’ Emma Hagestadt

Guardian: ‘Whether you know what happened to the fragments of writing in this collection when Duras reworked them into her novels, or whether you’re reading them raw, with their sudden terminations in mid-paragraph or abrupt notes on how to plot better next time, they are astonishing. They’re like being inside the greatest Henri Cartier-Bresson photographs… the colonial, stratified Indochina of her childhood matches his view of French power abroad… it’s simply caught, the beating at full fury, the humiliation at extreme shame, the hope at its most desperate’ Vera Rule

Wendy Holden reviews LOVE VIRTUALLY in the Daily Mail: ‘I must confess that the prospect of a German novel in which an affair is entirely conducted by email made my heart sink. Hadn’t we been here before? The strange thing is, I rather enjoyed it. It is quite staggeringly straightforward with no subplots or complexities whatsoever, just two characters on whom the reader is forced to concentrate as their originally accidental encounter turns to mutual intrigue and then to desire. It’s the kind of book you can read while doing several other things at the same time, but sometimes that’s just what you need.’

Katy Derbyshire of Love German Books complains that she’s been pipped for the interview with Katharina and Jamie for LOVE VIRTUALLY:

‘Gah! You know when you have the most fantastic idea ever in the whole history of humankind? And then someone else does it first! So, please go now to the blog of British publishing company Quercus, where someone else (Vivienne Nilan to be precise, of Athens Plus newspaper of all things) has done a great interview with Katharina Bielenberg and Jamie Bulloch.’

LOVE VIRTUALLY has been featured on the Lovereading website: ‘Love Virtually is a funny, fast-paced and utterly absorbing novel, with plenty of twists and turns, about a love affair conducted entirely by email. It’s a book that seems to have an amazing effect on all who read it and as a consequence there’s a real buzz in the blogosphere in particular. So why not check out the extract here on Lovereading, get yourself hooked and you won’t be able to resist the temptation to purchase.’

And reader, Shona Lappin, reviews LOVE VIRTUALLY for NewBooks Magazine – the magazine for libraries and reading groups: ‘It shows how important and addictive the Internet can be, the impact it can have on personal lives and emotions and its place in modern society. An added bonus is that the book has a sequel, so there is more to read of Leo and Emmi, I will definitely be seeking it out as I just wanted to continue reading when I came to the end. A love story for the Internet age and one that will not fail to pull you in – excellent.’

The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland (PDF; go to the very last page) has reviewed THE PHANTOMS ON THE BOOKSHELVES: ‘A book about books might appear unappealing. Not so with this gem! Bonnet simply, insightfully and beautifully describes the sheer joy of books, from the famous libraries to the pleasure and value of reading, to the future of the “pound of paper”. Anyone who enjoys reading (not just bookworms) will identify with something here while realising there is more to be gained. As Bonnet recorded: “There is something intoxicating about opening a new one.” Engrossing.’ David J. Dickson

THE BREAKERS was also picked up by the Daily Mail: ‘Mystery and romantic tension nudge the narrative along, but the author’s real interest lies in loss and the way it can shape a life as subtly and insistently as the sea. Though bulky, this is a novel strung together from sentences as spare as its geographical ­backdrop, and a deft translation carries ­evocative echoes of the French original.’ Hephzibah Anderson