What are you reading? – 13 September 2018

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

September 13, 2018
Source: istock

Kalwant Bhopal, professorial research fellow and professor of education and social justice, University of Birmingham, is reading Ian McEwan’s Nutshell (Vintage, 2017). ”Adopting the perspective of the child in the womb, McEwan – in typical McEwanesque fashion – brilliantly analyses the relationship of the child’s mother, her lover and biological father. It explores the desperation of lovers and the lengths they go to to be together – all witnessed by the child. The book is dark and tragic yet funny at the same time, but it is the confidence with which McEwan writes that makes the narrative so compelling and convincing. Nutshell is one of those books you sit down to read and don’t get up until you’ve finished. It is brilliantly executed and full of surprises; original, clever and witty. Simply a must-read.”


Ella-Mae Hubbard, senior lecturer in systems engineering, Loughborough University, is reading Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone (Macmillan, 2018). “I read a lot of fantasy books and find that many of them follow one of just a few typical plots. This book is different. The story is gripping, the characters are real and the twists surprised me. There are some parallels to be drawn with the real world, some key thinking points and some lessons to be learned, if only we’re paying attention. There is authentic, positive power in this book, with role models of a type that certainly aren’t prevalent elsewhere – you have only to look to social media to see how widespread and emotional a response there has been to the book, the world it is set in and, especially, the characters.”

Maria Delgado, professor and director of research, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, is reading The Theatre of Enda Walsh (edited by Mary P. Caulfield and Ian R. Walsh; Carysfort Press, 2015). “There are few recent European dramatists who have been as influential as the Irish writer Enda Walsh. Actor-director Mikel Murfi describes him here as ‘a theatre-maker like no other…With Walsh there are no limitations.’ From his first play for children, Fishy Tales, to his Beckettian absurdist drama, the blisteringly funny Ballyturk, he has produced work that is muscular, satirical, visceral and deeply influential. The essays cover his most successful stage work, his screenplay for Steve McQueen’s acclaimed debut film Hunger and his book for the Tony Award-winning musical Once. Murfi’s commentary on working with Walsh provides a unique window into his creative process. This is a terrific collection, rounded off with a smart interview with designer Sabine Dargent on the sculpting of space in Walsh’s theatre.”

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