The Scapegoat – Sophia Nikolaidou

The real life murder mystery of a CBS reporter is foreground and backdrop for a modern day high school student trying to figure out why the wrong man was put down. Also a love story. Salonic. Picture: George Laoutaris

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Little Man, What Now? – Hans Fallada

Pinneberg is the Little Man; What Now is what everyone is asking at the outset of the Depression, when this novel is set. Fallada’s novel is about the piece by piece destruction of a young man by forces that are both incomprehensibly great and pathetically familiar, from the collapse of the world economy to the…

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Frost – Thomas Bernhard

Medical intern sent by boss to spy on a painter named of Strauch.  What the intern finds is the gaping wound of Lower Austria, which may or may not stand in for the entire world. Extremely bleak.  Extremely funny.  Basically, extreme in all senses. Photo: Florin Draghici

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Master Georgie – Beryl Bainbridge

Spare parts make up the engine of this rickety ride from here to there. One solipsistic young man from England leads friends and acquaintances to Crimea, and for some reason they follow him. With allusions to Nicholson Baker and Peter Carey, this episode also features a drop from Masterchef Australia, which is what I’m into…

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The German Mujahid – Boualem Sansal

A history of one aspect of the Nazi genocide is brought to present day Parisian suburbs via a massacre in an Algerian village. Extremism, integration, ghettos, religion – all the elements are refashioned to their new context. A memorably good book by an excellent writer and thinker. Fresh. Photo – John Perivolaris

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The Luzhin Defense – Vladimir Nabokov

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be3 Bg7 5. Qd2 c6 6. f3 b5 7. Nge2 Nbd7 8. Bh6 Bh6 9. Qh6 Bb7 10. a3 e5 11. O-O-O Qe7 12. Kb1 a6 13. Nc1 O-O-O 14. Nb3 ed4 15. Rd4 c5 16. Rd1 Nb6 17. g3 Kb8 18. Na5 Ba8 19.…

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Deaf Sentence – David Lodge

Author David Lodge stars as his thinly disguised protagonist, Old Man Bates, who is entering retirement, uselessness, and, worst of all, permanent deafness, in this tragi-comi-tragic tale of David Lodge, starring as his protagonist. Largely good. Picture by clogsilk

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A Tale of Love and Darkness – Amos Oz

One of the world’s great authors goes back in time and space – from the Jerusalem of the 1940s to the Eastern Europe of the 19th Century, from a boy’s heart to a mother’s face to a father’s brain – and brings back everything, but not enough. Cuts close and hurts so good. Wizardly? Masterful.…

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Exiles – Michael J Arlen

The name Michael Arlen will mean nothing to most readers but Arlen was once the cream of the jazz age novelists, the envy of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Maugham, the owner of speedboats and a villa on the Mediterranean. Then he fell completely into obscurity. By the time his son was born, the golden days were…

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