Books in the Media: Critics swoop on Day's fifth novel

Books in the Media: Critics swoop on Day's fifth novel

Elizabeth Day's latest novel Magpie (Fourth Estate) picked up reviews in the Observer, the Irish Times, the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail and the i this week. 

The Observer's Hephzibah Anderson called Day's fifth novel a "tense, stylish drama" which "dives deep into the longing and sadness of infertility". Anderson added the author's "cleverness lies in fashioning from these ingredients a pacy, stylish thriller in which suspense is accompanied by fist-pumping feminism and, perhaps toughest of all, hope".

Marianne Levy at the i also called it a "pacy and assured" novel in which the author writes with "hair-raising accuracy about the madnesses of fertility, pregnancy, infertility, miscarriage, and love". Whilst the Irish Times' Helen Cullen thought that it is "at once both creepy and comforting".

Magpie was selected as a best new title in the Daily Mail last week, where Eithne Farry called it "sharp", "sinister" and "twisty". It was also a Sunday Times thriller of the month. "What’s impressive is that the scintillating, tricksy plotting isn’t at the expense of credible characterisation or emotional depth", said reviewer John Dugdale.

In non-fiction, Shon Faye's The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice (Allen Lane) picked up the most mentions, garnering mixed reviews from the Observer, Evening Standard, Sunday Times and New Statesman

Felix Moore at the Observer said the author gives a "stark, unapologetic account of how the difficulties faced by trans people are made worse by moral panic", adding that the writing is "uncompromising and her anger palpable" which may "put some readers off".

Over in the Evening Standard, Stella O'Malley said Faye offers a "clear and concise analysis of the issues facing trans people" but that sometimes "the arguments Faye puts forward seem somewhat shallow".

In the Sunday Times, Christina Patterson reviewed Faye's offering alongside Helen Joyce's Trans (Oneworld), writing: "Faye is highly intelligent and writes with compassion and clarity about marginalised groups that suffer a lot. What she doesn’t fully acknowledge is that some of the rights being demanded — access to single-sex spaces such as prisons, refuges, changing rooms, sports competitions — clash with the rights of the half of the population that has traditionally been oppressed."

Finally, in the New Statesman Sophie McBain called the title a "political manifesto" rather than a memoir, writing: "The Transgender Issue is a bracing and vital corrective to mainstream writing on trans rights, though at times Faye’s uncompromising politics feel self-defeating."