First thoughts




A Farewell To Arms: The Special Edition

Ernest Hemingway
William Heinemann, £20; Kindle, £6.99
Review: Zachary Boren 

The original text of Hemingway’s meditation on war and love is among the most powerful novels of the 20th century. It is the story of an American medic on the Italian front in the First World War and of his tragic romance with a British nurse. It is also a fine demonstration of the clean, firm and deliberate writing style for which the author is known.

What makes this edition “special” is the inclusion of Hemingway’s early drafts, his notes, and the endings he considered for the novel.

The book is introduced by three generations of the Hemingway family: the author himself, typically assertive, his son Patrick and his grandson Sean. Each provides the reader with a different, and equally valuable, angle to understand the novel.

This edition is for the more literary inclined. The story itself is, however, one that everybody should read. It is masterful (and beautiful).

I Remember You

Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Hodder & Stoughton, €18.50;
Kindle, £7.99
Review: Sarah Warwick 

Some horror novels manage to convey a creeping sense of dread, some the teeth-on-edge feeling of disgust, and others real fear at a malevolent spirit at work. This one does all three, and does it with such conviction that it’s hard, even when the pages are closed and all the lights on, to remember it’s not real.

During Iceland’s long, cold winter, a group of young people head to a remote village to renovate a cottage, little knowing that dry rot is the least of their worries. Back in the city they have left, a psychologist tries to forget the son that he lost three years before, until he’s confronted with an awful truth.

This is the first foray for the unpronounceably named author into horror, being most famous in her native Iceland for detective novels, but it’s no gauche debut to the genre. This is a fast-paced, stomach-churning ghost story that will rattle your cage and leave you well and truly spooked.

Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents
The Art Of The Short Story
William Heinemann, £20 Kindle £12.60
Review: Wayne Walls 

Literary magazine The Paris Review presents 20 of the favourite short stories to grace their pages, chosen and introduced by 20 contemporary authors of the field, in an effort to elucidate the methodology and intricacies of writing short fiction.

Snapping between multiple genres, from heart-filled romance to darkly surreal via playful and comic, the tales within are told with individual and distinctive styles that perfectly demonstrate the versatility of the format. The introductions serve as handy perspectives, but rather than telling you exactly what you’re reading they invite you to make your own assessments.

The selection is perfect, allowing the reader to understand that this form of storytelling is boundless. Its purpose is to promote and spread the appreciation for the art, and to encourage you to delve into the world of short fiction, as it is a medium just as important and deserving as any other.

The Kennedy Conspiracy
Michael White Arrow, £6.99; Kindle, £4.74
Review: Philip Robinson 

Michael White’s latest novel, The Kennedy Conspiracy, centres around the assassination of John F Kennedy in Dallas in 1963. And far from being “yet another theory-ridden plot”, the story takes on a new twist to the tale.

British journalist Mark Bretton lives in New York and leads an average life. But little does he know that the nightmares he has been suffering are about to expose a 50-year-old secret that would shock the world.

When he is sent to write a piece on Professor Abigail Marchant who is researching reincarnation, he is initially sceptical of the notion that another human being could have lived a previous life. But after undergoing one of Marchant’s experiments everything he believes is about to change and lead him into a deadly world of corruption.

Flicking between the past and present this book will take you on a breathtaking journey of suspense and intrigue.

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