Nicholas Taylor-Collins in front of a bookshelf

Nicholas Taylor-Collins

Literary researcher | Creative reader

Tag: novel

  • Vis-à-vis dystopia in Paul Lynch’s ‘Prophet Song’

    Vis-à-vis dystopia in Paul Lynch’s ‘Prophet Song’

    Paul Lynch’s “Prophet Song,” a dystopian novel set in Ireland, captures our era’s social and political unease, earning the 2023 Booker Prize. It explores totalitarianism’s personal impact through characters’ declining capacity to read faces, invoking philosopher Emmanuel Levinas’s ethics of the face-to-face encounter. The narrative warns against the corruptive power of authoritarian regimes.

  • ‘The Outsider’ redux: Nadifa Mohamed’s ‘The Fortune Men

    ‘The Outsider’ redux: Nadifa Mohamed’s ‘The Fortune Men

    Nadifa Mohamed’s The Fortune Men (Viking, 2021) won the Wales Book of the Year in 2022. It is a fictional retelling of the tragic miscarriage of justice of Somali Mahmood Mattan in 1950s Cardiff. In the book, Mattan is executed for the murder of British Jew Violet Volacki, a crime he strenuously denied. While the…

  • What’s in a review?: Ruth Ozeki’s ‘The Book of Form and Emptiness’

    What’s in a review?: Ruth Ozeki’s ‘The Book of Form and Emptiness’

    Ruth Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness (Canongate, 2021) won the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction. It tells the story of Benny Oh, a teenager who is negotiating the untimely death of his father, Kenji, and Annabelle, Benny’s mother, who is additionally struggling with her own health and hoarding habits. Benji also hears voices,…

  • Archiving grief: Patricia Lockwood’s ‘No One Is Talking About This’

    Archiving grief: Patricia Lockwood’s ‘No One Is Talking About This’

    Patricia Lockwood’s No One Is Talking About This (Bloomsbury, 2021) won last year’s Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize, and was cited especially for its depiction of the Internet. In the book, the ‘portal’ is a virtual world that can provide access to ‘everywhere’, but is a largely desensitised space; it is where the protagonist spends…

  • ‘speech language voice’: ‘Diego Garcia’ by Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams

    ‘speech language voice’: ‘Diego Garcia’ by Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams

    In this form-breaking novel, Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams wowed judges of the Goldsmiths Prize by co-authoring a story of companionship and collectivity, even during pandemic lockdowns. But they also related the recent colonial history of the Chagossian people and the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia: the forced evacuation of native peoples by the…

  • Bastardising epic: Shehan Karunatilaka’s ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’

    Bastardising epic: Shehan Karunatilaka’s ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’

    Shehan Karunatilaka’s The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida (Sort of Books, 2022) won last year’s Booker Prize for its ‘energy, imagery and ideas [set] against a broad, surreal vision of the Sri Lankan civil wars’. We find that ‘surreal vision’ in its depiction of the afterlife—both the In Between (a version of purgatory), and the…