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A story of a man adrift at sea and his battle for survival against the elements is reminiscent of Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, but this slim novella reads more like a prose poem with its lyrical imagery, economy of style and stanza-like layout. The shifts of tense and fragmentary thinking-aloud narration evoke the man’s disorientated state of mind, immersing the reader in a stirringly profound experience.

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The Crime Writer

This book gripped me from the first page to the last. Set in 1964, Patricia Highsmith, the crime writer of the title and already famous, is attempting to live inconspicuously in a Norfolk village in order to cope with her inner demons. If you are a fan of Highsmith, or interested in the craft of the biographer, you may enjoy the book even more than I did - but I can't believe that's possible. I can't recommend it too highly.

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Distant Light

A strange and unsettling story - with the feel of a fable. Are the abandoned village and the surrounding hills and gorges real or is this some landscape of the mind, the subconscious? Who is the narrator - and what is his relationship to the solitary child in the house across the valley? Lots of questions. This magical tale invites you to meditate on them - and, in turn, think about the meaning of life - and your own existence in the world.

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