Books: X’Seta’ Ġralu lil Kevin Cacciattolo?


Part whodunnit, part political intrigue and part a touching exposé about autism, X’Seta’ Ġralu lil Kevin Cacciattolo? promises to keep readers guessing. Ramona Depares asks writer Mark Vella about what prompted this debut novel. An edited version of this interview was originally published on The Sunday Times of Malta. This month sees the release of […]


Review: Kulħadd Ħalla Isem Warajh


Kulħadd ħalla isem warajh by Clare Azzopardi My rating: 4 of 5 stars Feminist literature has a bit of a scary ring to it, so I am quite wary of using this label. However, Clare Azzopardi’s Kulħadd Ħalla Isem Warajh, fits the description perfectly, because it is feminist literature as it should be done. Azzopardi’s […]


Book review: L-Aħħar Tlettax


“Use Grammarly’s free plagiarism checker, because copy-cats will be promptly ‘adopted’ by the cat lady.   Ivan De Battista: L-Aħħar Tlettax. Merlin Publishers, 2013. 149 pp. Some people are born under a lucky star, everything they touch turning into the proverbial gold. Then there’s the protagonist of Ivan De Battista’s latest novel. His grandmother was […]


Idiots abroad: What Happens in Brussels stays in Brussels

stagno cover

This review was first published on The Sunday Times of Malta. First sentences. So important in any book. They can turn you off completely, make your eyes skim uninterestedly over the words and your hands chuck it back to its shelf. Or they can reel you in, like William Gibson’s legendary “The sky over the […]


Book review: Volens, Mark Camilleri


Volens by Mark Camilleri My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ve always been fond of a good, old-fashioned detective story. The real whodunnits, Agatha Christie-style, where you can study characterization and attempt to reach your own (often erroneous) conclusion. Most of today’s detective stories, sadly, fall short of this, regaling us instead with one-dimensional characters, […]


The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente My rating: 5 of 5 stars Whimsical, magical, beautiful and not just for the kids, at all. A kaleidoscope of fantasy creatures (the Wvyverary is a beauty), an intriguingly created fairyland, a noble quest and a rather adorable heroine. […]


Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn My rating: 3 of 5 stars Characterization a tad stereotypical and I saw the ending – both the red herring and the ‘twist’ – a mile away, so for me it is definitely not the best of Flynn’s trio so far. Having said that, there is beauty in the darkness […]


Heart-Shaped Box, Joe Hill

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill My rating: 4 of 5 stars When I started reading this, I wasn’t aware that the autor is Stephen King’s son. With hindsight, I’m happy I didn’t because I would have started the book with a number of preconceptions. The truth is that this debut novel is way, way more […]


Dark Places, Gillian Flynn

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn My rating: 5 of 5 stars I first encountered this author with Gone Girl and I loved her style, so I decided to give this earlier book a go. Great decision. Dark Places is written in the same style as Gone Girl, with each chapter giving us the point of […]


Mr Vertigo, Paul Auster

Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster My rating: 4 of 5 stars The opening sentence of a novel can make or break it. So far, my top intros were “Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again.” ( Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca) and “It was a bright, cold day in April and the clock was […]