December was taken up this year with virtual get-togethers, worrying headlines, and widespread attempts to wind it all down for a much needed break. We did, however, note a few fab reviews come in for our titles before the office closed...
EXILES BY DÓNALL MAC AMHLAIGH
The first English translation of Mac Amhlaigh Irish classic Exiles has been making many positive waves. Ahead of it's release in the US for spring 2021, Kirkus Reviews featured the title:
'Mac Amlaigh wrote in Irish, and his translator renders the prose as plainspoken as his working-class characters, with hopeful, even romantic moments for Niall and Nano and touches of the heroic for Trevor and his mighty foe.'
You can read the rest of the review here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/donall-mac-amhlaigh/exiles-amlaigh/
HELLO FRIEND WE MISSED YOU BY RICHARD OWAIN ROBERTS
Also reviewed by Kirkus was award-winning Hello Friend We Missed You, a 'witty, irony-rich coming-of-age story.'
And, yet more praise for the Not the Booker champion of 2020, from Anthony Cummins of the Literary Review who delved in and described Roberts' novel as 'recognisably alt-lit in style and sensibility, but with the benefit of added heart.'
JUST SO YOU KNOW: ESSAYS OF EXPERIENCE
It was lovely to see the Just So You Know anthology continuing to be shared and talked about 6 months after its online launch. Farhana Shaikh at The Asian Writer reviewed the collection with particular focus on Ranjit Saimbi and Nasia Sarwar-Skuse's essays.
'I wonder if it’s because stories such as these, which sit at the intersections, are so often missing from collections that seek to amplify marginalised voices, that make this for a remarkable, unforgettable read [...] voices that grip you from the very first line, that have a sense of urgency and longing to be heard. To ignore them would be a mistake.'
Read the whole review here: https://theasianwriter.co.uk/2020/12/03/review-just-so-you-know/
Just So You Know was also reviewed by Shaheen Sutton in The Welsh Agenda issue 65 (print only), who wrote enthusiastically that 'Just So You Know is an emblematic book that has unearthed uncut gems... compelling reading for those with a genuine interest towards building a truly inclusive Wales.'
HOW LOVE ACTUALLY RUINED CHRISTMAS BY GARY RAYMOND
Our Christmas read from Gary Raymond has been the topic of many conversations over December, including this superbly detailed book-blog review and discussion of the film:
'Most pertinently [...] Raymond ponders whether Love Actually is just a giant joke played on the audience. We see Billy Mack going through the motions to sell his ‘solid gold shit’ single which soars through the charts solely because it is tied in to the festive season. Everyone knows it’s not very good but they wave it through because ‘Uncle’ Bill’s funny jokes bring them a good belly laugh even if they are a bit inappropriate. A metaphor for the film as a whole.'
We also had a steady stream of reviews for Parthian titles throughout December over on Netgalley, for which we'd like to that all our wonderful advance readers who take the time to share their thoughts!
Here's to a January full of rainy-day reading and hopes for a brighter year ahead.