Win The Trip to Echo Spring by Olivia Laing
...and, if you're really lucky, a case of wine

Olivia Laing's intoxicating roadtrip through literary alcoholism, The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink, got terrific reviews when it was published last year.

John Carey wrote in The Sunday Times, "What gives her book its brilliance and originality is not personal memoir or literary history but the quality of its writing". The Evening Standard's David Sexton called Laing an "an astute and unsparing critic", while Talitha Stevenson in the New Statesman thought Laing's "mix of intellect and intuition... often recalls the New Yorker writer Janet Malcolm."

To celebrate its paperback release, we're giving away five copies of The Trip to Echo Spring (with many thanks to Canongate).

One of the five winners will also win the perfect accompaniment to the book*: a case of six fine wines from our sponsor, Red Squirrel Wines.

To enter the competition, answer the following question: The title of Olivia Laing's book is a quotation from which Tennessee Williams play? 
Entries to by Friday 13 June.

*Disclaimer: The Omnivore is in no way advocating drinking while reading.
Family Life by Akhil Sharma
Reviews | Buy | Comment |
"Family Life is a wonderful novel about misery that is anything but miserable. Sharma entertains and moves, wrestles with narratives both grand and deeply intimate.” James Kidd, The Independent VS “A lot of drama, perhaps too much, gets compressed into a short space” Sukhdev Sandhu, The Observer
No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald
Reviews | Buy | Comment |
"He makes the case for [Edward] Snowden, and it’s a compelling one." Philippe Sands, The Guardian VS "[It] might be more entertaining if Greenwald himself didn’t come across as so unpleasant... if you don’t agree with him, you’re part of something he calls “the authorities,” who control everything for their own nefarious but never explained purposes." Michael Kinsley, The New York Times

Shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt and awarded the Grand Prix du Roman de l’Académie Francaise, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker was touted as the latest example of postmodern French cleverness. Turns out Dicker's not even French – he's Swiss, poor thing – and as Jon Day in the Financial Times noted, the book's not quite as clever as it thinks it is:

“This isn’t quite Dan Brown levels of bad writing but it runs him pretty close. Sam Taylor’s translation seems faithful and true but I can’t imagine these things sounding much better in French. The big problem is that Dicker, or his publishers, thinks he’s doing something rather more clever than he actually is. The novel has been described as a “postmodern thriller” because it is structured as a series of books-within-books, nestling within one another like Russian dolls. And yet, like a Russian doll, it’s all rather too full of itself.”

Read all the reviews

This issue of the Digest has been sponsored by the online wine merchant Red Squirrel Wine. Thanks, guys!
The Stories by Jane Gardam
Reviews | Buy | Comment |
"Gardam could indeed write well about linoleum if she wanted to, but what she excels at is writing about the human heart and mind." Diana Athill, The Telegraph VS "Some are very much better than others, but the good ones are marvellous. " Cressida Connolly, The Spectator
In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen
Reviews Buy | Comment |
In Paradise is not a novel that yields itself to the reader easily – the prose is often angular and aggressive. There are chilling moments such as when Olin walks across a meadow near Auschwitz-Birkenau believed to have been the site of a mass grave." Tobias Grey, The Financial Times VS " His prose grows flush with loveliness and pathos that feel incongruous given the context and theme of the story.” Ron Charles, The Washington Post
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
Reviews | Buy | Comment |
"Enormously impressive: profoundly and humanely engaged with the mysteries of belief and disbelief, linguistically agile and wrongfooting, and dismayingly funny.” Alex Clarke, The Guardian VS "Where Then We Came to the End expertly extended everyday absurdity, here the proportions of the bizarre and banal are less reliably mixed.” Lidia Haas, The Sunday Times
Best of the rest
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker, The Murder Bag by Tony Parsons, Glow by Ned Beauman, The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin, A Colder War by Charles Cumming, The Thrill of It All by Joseph O’Connor
Pick of the paperbacks
Carnival by Rawi Hage, Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, The City of Devi by Manil Suri, The Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell
My Salinger Year by Joanna Smith Rakoff
Reviews | Buy Comment |
"[A] graceful, rather elusive fragment of memoir... elegant prose" Jane Shilling, The Telegraph VS "A quote on the jacket calls Rakoff 'the literary world's Lena Dunham'...[which highlights] the fact that the two invite similar criticism. They write about 'first world problems', and they make little apology for their protagonists being quite mean-minded, self-interested people." Hannah McGill, The Independent
Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. by Viv Albertine
Reviews | Buy | Comment |
"It promises a punk snog’n'tell, but is a real tease: strident, uncertain, compelling, with a structure that jerks all over the place via snapshots of Albertine’s life... This is maddening and magnificent all at the same time – rather like her band, the Slits.” Suzanne Moore, The Guardian
Mammon's Kingdom by David Marquand
Reviews | Buy | Comment |

"...compellingly readable and immensely well informed. No one who is curious as to the ideas and policies that have led to our current political condition can afford to ignore Marquand’s incisive analysis." John Gray, Literary Review VS "Before a line of argument is allowed to develop too far, Marquand veers off to describe another disgraceful aspect of modern Britain: 'And another thing…'" Richard Reeves, The Observer
Best of the rest
Another Great Day at Sea by Geoff Dyer, Selfish, Whining Monkeys by Rod LiddleThe Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson, Capital in the Twenty First Century by Thomas Piketty
Pick of the paperbacks
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, Flappers by Judith Mackrell, The First Bohemians by Vic Gatrell 



What are you reading at the moment?

The visual and cultural feast that is the Larousse Book of Wine. Wine exams are looming but the truth is that I just love that book.

What’s the sexiest thing you’ve ever read?

Candy by Southern and Hoffenberg. Nothing heightens the senses like the suspicion or the knowledge that what you are doing is forbidden. In fact, just owning a copy of the book makes me very aroused. I haven’t read it for years though…

Which book would you give someone you’re trying to impress? 

The Book of Shadows by Don Paterson.

Tom, 27, Maida Vale

If you would like to ask out one of The Omnivore Pin-ups, or become a Pin-up yourself, email


Zandernatis by Gordon Keirle-Smith

Imagine your ideal reader: which authors do they enjoy?

It would be more a question of the genres they choose. Those drawn to ancient lore and legends will find much to please them here, conspiracy theory fans will also discover a potential cause celèbre, while the more philosophical may enjoy seeking parallels with our own times.

If you had to sum up your book in a Hollywood pitch, how would you describe it?

The Hobbit meets Gilgamesh and revisits Genesis.

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