After dismantling her marriage, Levy starts again age 50, deliberately not choosing to be a minor character as a wife and mother, having built a home that is arranged for everyone except herself. Without pity Levy describes her transition to a new life outside of what is expected, despite patriarchy's need to diminish her powers. Levy writes sparingly but knocks you sideways with surreal and witty metaphors which illuminate her internal world, always with an understated wisdom and honesty. A must read.
Establishing herself as an accomplished confessional writer, Viv Albertine's second book is a searingly honest account of her life post-divorce as she settles in Hackney. Ultimately a study in family dynamics, negotiating identities as daughter, sister, mother while always being an outsider, the book is rich with insight and peppered with quotes from other writers such as Plath, Solnit, Rhys which add another layer to articulating this particular female experience. With extracts from her mother and father's diaries, Albertine documents the fallibility of memory and truth, the psychic legacy of her mother and the anger and resilience that informs her worldview.
Published by Faber & Faber on April 5th 2018
The most rewarding non-fiction reads of the last few years have all arguably been those which defy easy categorisation, and Kate Briggs' genre-bending ode to literary translation comfortably resides amongst the best of them (perhaps most notably alongside Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts, with which it shares a direct dialogue). Pushing off from Briggs' work translating the late lectures of Roland Barthes, This Little Art luminously reveals the experience and history of the translator in literature via Helen Lowe-Porter’s translations of Thomas Mann, and André Gide's decades-long correspondence with his translator Dorothy Bussy. An essay, a monograph, a memoir, and yet also something greater than any one of these candidates, This Little Art vibrantly illuminates what it means to translate, to write, and to read.