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Read on for the latest reviews, news, events and prizes on the Omnivore Digest. Review roundups for books by Germaine Greer, Hanif Kureishi and Adam Foulds. Olivia Laing, A.L. Kennedy, Alan Hollinghurst and Penelope Lively on the Literary Calendar. An Author Pitch that manages to make the construction industry thrilling. Oh yes, and Alain de Botton's book gets savaged in Hatchet Job of the Week.
Win Eat My Heart Out by Zoe Pilger

‘I adopt loads of pussies from a refuge,’ I said. ‘Yeah, and I love to feed the pussies condensed milk in tiny china dishes. I lounge around on my chaise longue in my red silk kimono and I watch their pink tongues lap it up.’ I paused for effect.

‘They love to lap it up.’


Looking for a book that brings to mind Muriel Spark, Lena Dunham and a young Martin Amis? Eat My Heart Out, a debut novel by Zoe Pilger, art critic and former winner of the Frieze International Writer’s Prize, is a searing satire on London's contemporary art scene and modern feminism — whether practised by 23-year-olds attending neo-burlesque pop-up strip clubs or the Spare Rib generation on Radio 4.

We've got five copies to give away, thanks to the publishers, Serpent's Tail. For your chance to win a book the Guardian described as "extreme", please tell us what Zoe Pilger's writing her PhD on. Check her website if you're stuck
. Entries to competitions@theomnivore.co.uk by Friday 14 February. 
FICTION
The Last Word by Hanif Kureishi
Reviews Buy | Comment |
"Unpleasant as it is to read in places, Kureishi has written a major work, founded on a major literary problem, set by a master of his craft." John Sutherland, The Times VS "Smart phrasing perks up the prose. But structurally the novel becomes increasingly ramshackle. " Peter Kemp,  Sunday Times
NON-FICTION
White Beech: The Rainforest Years by Germaine Greer
Reviews | Buy Comment |
"Some may take issue with this book’s apparent delusions. I loved it. It’s a tale of a fabulous obsession, and it is maddeningly brilliant." Philip Hoare, The Telegraph VS "Ultimately, and unfortunately, White Beech fails to hang together, doomed by its unevenness." Melanie Reid, The Times

HATCHET JOB OF THE WEEK

The reviews for Alain de Botton's latest treatise, The News: A User's Manual, have left us spoilt for choice. Here's a selection of the finest barbs:

"A kind of fluent ignorance is at work that might be innocence in disguise." Ian Jack, The Guardian

"The work is not without original insights, but they are undermined by its lack of the most journalistic virtues: precision, economy, and diligence." Archie Bland, The Independent

"Having formed a dim view of de Botton myself, I hadn’t actually consulted any of his work for a long time. But studying his latest has caused me quite drastically to revise my opinion, downwards." David Sexton, Evening Standard

Read all the reviews

In the Wolf's Mouth by Adam Foulds
Reviews | Buy | Comment |
"The bleakness of Foulds’s message … is not reflected in the richness of the prose or characterisation of this deep, dark, demanding tale" Lesley McDowell, The Independent VS "The novel begins magnificently … Then, suddenly and unaccountably, the novel falls off a cliff. " Andrew Holgate, The Sunday Times
Carthage by Joyce Carol Oates
Reviews | Buy | Comment |
“The plot takes bizarre and unexpected turns that – if you make it past the slightly laboured first 200 pages – keep you absorbed until the end ... an immensely proficient novel, with careful and elegant prose, and interesting experiments with form" Frances Perraudin, The Observer 
Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem
Reviews | Buy | Comment |
"Lethem has written a brilliant, funny, compendious novel at whose heart lies a sharp, slim blade of thought and style" Rachel Cusk, The Guardian VS "In the end, though, politics trumps plot, and those who are looking for a madcap romp ... will be left educated, certainly, rather less entertained." Alex Preston, The Observer
Best of the rest
The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer, Reckless by William Nicholson, Sedition by Katherine Grant, Ace, King, Knave by Maria McCann, The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin
Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat by Philip Lymbery with Isabel Oakeshott
Reviews | Buy Comment |
"Farmageddon’s main focus is on the future and how we can bring about change. As he explains in the introduction, “this is not a ‘poor animals’ book” – it’s far more interesting than that" Felicity Cloake, New Statesman VS "Farmageddon does add to the debate on food and farming ... But there is one big thing missing: any consideration of the costs, especially on the poor, if mankind were to give up industrialised farming." Ross Clark, The Times
Those Wild Wyndhams: Three Sisters at the Heart of Power by Claudia Renton
Reviews | Buy | Comment |

"...a magnificently skilful biography of this trio of sexy sisters and the politically turbulent context of their lives. It is based on scrupulous research and enriched by hundreds of deliciously indiscreet, disarmingly frank, pre-Mitfordian letters that cover every aspect of their private lives, from lovers and losers to contraception and childbirth." Juliet Nicolson, Evening Standard
Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against it by Jennifer Michael Hecht
Reviews | Buy | Comment |

"Full of life and spirit and hope, and deeply moving, it communicates a generous love of suffering, flawed humanity. I cannot praise it highly enough" Bel Mooney, Daily Mail VS "Where she seems adrift is in the inadequacy of her response ... Her heart is undoubtedly in the right place but her head is in the clouds." John Carey, The Sunday Times
Best of the rest
Tove Jansson: Life, Art Words by Boel Westin, The Virtues of the Table: How to Eat and Think by Julian Baggini, Musorgsky and His Circle by Stephen Walsh
Pick of the paperbacks: Fiction
How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid, All the Beggars Riding by Lucy Caldwell, The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner, Fallen Land by Patrick Flanery
Pick of the paperbacks: Non-fiction
The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne, A Mysterious Something in the Light: Raymond Chandler: A Life by Tom Williams, The Last Days of Detroit by Mark Binelli

 

AUTHOR PITCH

The Concrete Grave by Mike Deavin

Tell us about the book:
The Concrete Grave is the story of a hard-working site manager running a construction project in East London who suddenly finds himself in debt through no fault of his own. He then gets the unexpected opportunity to earn some ‘easy’ money by doing what he thought was a simple job. This gets him drawn unwittingly into the East End underworld and police corruption and ultimately threatens his life and that of his girlfriend.

What makes the construction industry a good setting for a crime thriller?
Firstly I was told that very few works of fiction are set in the construction industry so I guess that gives it a certain uniqueness, but I also wanted to portray the pressures that come with working in that sector. The construction industry also contains many interesting ‘characters’ and the setting gave me the opportunity to introduce some of these into the storyline.

If you had to sum up your book in a Hollywood pitch, how would you describe it?
How about the Krays meet Taken or perhaps Brighton Rock meets Dirty Harry. My son suggested Bob the Builder meets The Godfather but that is probably a bit extreme!

If you would like to be featured in Author Pitch email authorpitch@theomnivore.com

 
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