Somewhere, Not Here by Alex Aspden


Puddle

When she stood there was a wet patch on her dress where she had knelt and she lifted the hem and smelt it and it didn't smell of piss. With her hands she brushed her dress down and looked at herself in the mirror. It was a sad face, she thought. Always a sad face.

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Mandalay by Nigel Jarrett



Desmond Mandalay was not the kind of person you expected to find advertising in a newspaper’s Perfect Partners column.  He justified his appearance there by distinguishing himself from those for whom such action represented a stage in the decline of self-respect.

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Quesadillas : A review

Quesadillas
By Juan Pablo Villalobos
Translated from the original Spanish by Rosalind Harvey
Published by And Other Stories
Reviewed by Jessica Patient

As well as having one of the best opening lines, Quesadillas, Juan Pablo Villalobos’s second novel, carries on the themes of his novella, Down The Rabbit Hole. * In this thought-provoking novel, Villalobos explores the corruption and inflation of Mexico using the fury of a child’s perspective, who is struggling to find his own way in the world. At times our narrator’s frustrations echo those of Mexico but Villalobos makes sure the book isn’t too serious by throwing in plenty of comic moments.

Our narrator, Orestes, lives with his parents (his father, a teacher, has a soft spot for Greek names) and his six siblings in a run down house, on a hill, just outside the town, watching the volatile political situation of their village, at arm’s length. Through out the story, Orestes is obsessed with his family’s place in society and is always asking – are we poor?