Books in the Media: Ridgway's latest dubbed 'clever and provocative' by critics

Books in the Media: Ridgway's latest dubbed 'clever and provocative' by critics

Keith Ridgway's seventh novel A Shock (Picador) took the title of most reviewed book this week, picking up reviews in the Guardian, the Observer, the Times, the Spectator, the New York Times and the Irish Times.

The Guardian's Justine Jordan dubbed the novel about contemporary London "witty" adding, "in this playful yet deeply sincere novel, Ridgway squeezes into the gaps of realism and makes something beautifully new." In the Observer, Anthony Cummins praised the title as "endlessly interesting", writing: "Shifting between a range of styles and perspectives, the minimally signposted narration, twinned with Ridgway’s delicious ear for dialogue, lends a voyeuristic quality to much of A Shock, as if we’re somehow present where we shouldn’t be."

Over in the Times, John Self called him one of Ireland's "best and most original writers", adding that "Ridgway’s trick — no, his skill — is that the stories combine down-to-earth realism with an incremental sense of strangeness". Self also interviewed the author for the Irish Times, where he called the novel a "well-observed portrayal of how people behave, interact and try to live". Fellow Irish Times reviewer Sarah Gilmartin agreed, calling it a "clever and provocative seventh novel, which has interesting things to say about loss and survival".

Lucy Scholes felt A Shock is "the kind of novel that rewards multiple readings, new echoes and connections revealing themselves each time," in the New York Times, whilst the Spectator's Susie Mesure called the novel a "provocative collection of nine interlinked stories, jostled together like neighbours on a London street or regulars in a pub". 

Sandro Veronesi's The Hummingbird (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), translated by Elena Pala, was another one to watch this week, picking up mentions in the Guardian, the Financial Times and the Times, where Lucy Atkins wrote: "Veronesi originally trained as an architect and, rather marvellously, it shows: the structure is inventive, bold, unexpected — slightly bonkers but elegant, and cohesive." 

Over in the Guardian, Veronesi's "time-hopping, form-swapping" ninth novel was a Book of the Day and was said to "show the Italian author at the height of his powers". Christian House praised the novel as a "masterpiece of articulation" in the Financial Times, adding that "it’s a testament to Veronesi’s competence that he can bring fun to such brooding themes".

In non-fiction, last week's standout title, Lucy Kellaway's memoir Re-educated (Ebury), picked up a review in the Financial Times, giving it six mentions to date. Anna Soubry wrote: "[Kellaway] writes with warmth, wit and honesty, turning her real life experiences of teaching in a Hackney school into what I hope will become a serious debate about what education is for."