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The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

It makes me question the world again…

The Glassblower of Murano – Marina Fiorato

I was on a trip to Venice and this absolutely transformed my experience…

Metro – Alexander Kaletski

It’s a great read: light and depressing and weird and funny all at once…

A Death in the Family – Karl Ove Knausgaard

I felt as though I’d watched the fabric of a life being unfolded, slowly and deliberately, without any attempt to hide the stitching…

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce

Having no bookish children of her own, my best friend’s mum lent me this and a stack of other books when I was a teenager…

Purge – Sofi Oksanen

A dark tale of resistance and abuse, of familial jealousy, lust and betrayal…

His Bloody Project – Graeme Macrae Burnet

A Jekyll and Hyde for the Scottish Highlands…

The Successor – Ismail Kadare

The mystery around the death – was it a suicide? was he murdered by the state? – has never been resolved…

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

This was a really helpful book to read at this point in my life – aged 21 and beginning to figure out the path ahead. Reading The Alchemist gave me confidence…

Hunger – Knut Hamsun

Hunger makes for brilliantly uncomfortable reading…

Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Why did people ask ‘What is it about?’ as if a novel had to be about only one thing?”…

The Lonely Londoners – Sam Selvon

Selvon’s work is a historical masterpiece…

The Demon Lover, and Other Stories – Elizabeth Bowen

Mostly set in London during the famous ‘Blitz’ of September 1940 to May 1941, her stories create a sense of the uncanny experience of wartime life…

Nausea – Jean-Paul Sartre

Sartre had a way of expressing these feelings I was having and it helped to have it put into words…

Atomised – Michel Houellebecq

It touches upon the loneliness and loss of direction that so many of us have to contend with in an ever more connected, yet more atomised world…

Zeno’s Conscience – Italo Svevo

Psycho-analysis. Italianness. How the two coming together creates bitterness…

Faceless Killers – Henning Mankell

When it comes to opening a window onto a place and its social issues, a good work of crime fiction can be hard to beat…

Dusty Answer – Rosamund Lehmann

I think it’s often the case that our favourite books are the ones we don’t pick for ourselves…

My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante

This is the first of four volumes of the Neapolitan novels, set by the pseudonymous author in post-war, poverty-stricken Naples…