In brief: Home Remedies; A Frank O’Hara Notebook; Ghost Wall – reviews

A promising collection of stories about Chinese millenials from Xuan Juliana Wang, Bill Berkson’s impressions of his mentor and a striking chiller from Sarah Moss

Home Remedies

Xuan Juliana Wang
Atlantic, £12.99, 240pp

There’s a potent anthropological appeal to this debut collection of short stories depicting Chinese millennials at home and abroad. Their author, China-born and California-raised, confidently straddles multiple cultural divides to conjure up a succession of memorable characters, from the spoilt Beijing hipster shirking parental expectations to the country bumpkin catapulted into a life of American riches. Often, a story’s ending will bound tantalisingly into the future, scattering indelible phrases in its wake, as when a tiger stands in the night to face a boy “like a brush lifting out of the ink”. Striking, soulful and ablaze with promise.

A Frank O’Hara Notebook

Bill Berkson
No place press, £35, 278pp

Having only met Frank O’Hara on the page, the late poet and art critic Berkson was inspired enough to dedicate two poems to him. When they actually met, in 1960, he knew he’d found both a friend and a mentor. For years after O’Hara’s untimely death in 1966, Berkson planned to write a study of him, but he died with the project incomplete. This is a facsimile of Berkson’s notebook – vignettes, observations and pithy quotes, along with glimpses of jazzy parties and artistic glamour. Inventive and idiosyncratic, it’s a sublimely apt ode to O’Hara, as well as to the poetry and art scenes of 60s New York.

Ghost Wall

Sarah Moss
Granta, £8.99, 160pp

The exhilarating originality of Moss’s sixth novel makes it impossible to resist, despite a sinister denouement that’s foreshadowed from the beginning. It’s set on the Northumbrian moors, where a group of archaeology students and their professor set up camp, intent on living like iron-age Britons. Smart, cowed Silvie, 17, is dragged along by her father, a local bus driver with an obsessive interest in the past. As this tale of love and sacrifice runs its course, themes ranging from class to xenophobia are underpinned by a fierce sense of place and precise, poetic prose.

• To order Home Remedies or Ghost Wall, go to or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £15, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99


Hephzibah Anderson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
In brief: Illuminations; The World: A Family History; From Manchester With Love – reviews
Alan Moore’s short stories enchant, Simon Sebag Montefiore’s dynastic history illuminates and Paul Morley’s biography of Tony Wilson is a moving portrait of Manchester

Ben East

16, Oct, 2022 @4:00 PM

Article image
In brief: Games and Rituals; Friendaholic; The Women Who Saved the English Countryside – reviews
Katherine Heiny’s sparky, bittersweet tales of love; Elizabeth Day’s generous memoir about friendship; and a fastidious study of four nature campaigners

Hephzibah Anderson

09, Apr, 2023 @3:00 PM

Article image
In brief: Will; The Wall; How to be a Dictator – reviews
Betrayal and collaboration in Antwerp under the Nazis, a dystopian near-future Britain and the pathology of dictators

Ben East

25, Aug, 2019 @2:00 PM

Article image
In brief: Every Good Boy Does Fine; Islanders; Sentient – review
Pianist Jeremy Denk’s insightful memoir, tales of Guernsey life by Cathy Thomas and Jackie Higgins’s vivid exploration of the senses

Hannah Beckerman

22, May, 2022 @4:00 PM

Article image
In brief: Stay With Me; Eat the Apple; Trajectory – review
Nigerian novelist Ayòbámi Adébáyò’s vivid debut, an inventive Iraq memoir from Matt Young and an introduction to the genius of Richard Russo

Ben East

18, Feb, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
In brief: Manchester Happened; Freshwater; Zonal Marking – reviews
Subtle stories from Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, autobiographical fiction from Akwaeke Emezi and a fascinating football study from Michael Cox

Ben East

02, Jun, 2019 @7:59 AM

Article image
In brief: Admissions; Mind on Fire; American Histories – reviews
The second memoir from neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, a personal history of depression and a fiery letter to Donald Trump from black America

Arifa Akbar

06, May, 2018 @9:00 AM

Article image
In brief: Beyond the Red Wall; The Golden Age of British Short Stories 1890-1914; Inside the Beautiful Inside – reviews
Deborah Mattinson’s report on Labour’s losses is timely

Alexander Larman

04, Oct, 2020 @12:00 PM

Article image
In brief: Gratitude; Icebound; Amnesty – reviews
An elderly woman struggles to make sense of her past; the gripping story of an Arctic explorer; and a humane novel about an ‘illegal alien’

Ben East

10, Jan, 2021 @11:00 AM

Article image
In brief: The Mountbattens; This Is Happiness; Churchill – reviews
A revelatory aristocratic life, a magical novel and a fine political biography

Alexander Larman

08, Sep, 2019 @2:00 PM