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Books in the Media Update

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Reviewers click like on The Twittering Machine

Critics have acclaimed Richard Seymour's The Twittering Machine (Indigo), a polemic against the rising tide of social media, as "thrilling", "unflinching" and "excoriating". William Davies in the Guardian praised Seymour for offering "a different critical stance that is bleaker but immediately more arresting" than most books about tech, adding, "It is the psychoanalytic inflections that elevate this book above so much recent 'techlash' literature." He concluded, "The book is a thrilling demonstration of what such resistance can look like, by one of the most clear-sighted and unyielding critics writing today." The Observer's Peter Conrad agreed, writing, "If you really want to set yourself free, you should read a book—preferably this one." Emma Jacobs in the Financial Times described it as "an unflinching look at our toxic relationship with grim yet compelling social media".

Edna O'Brien's Girl (Faber), about a girl kidnapped by Boko Haram, also won the reviewers' hearts, with Christina Patterson writing in the Sunday Times, "Hypnotic, lyrical and pulsating with dark energy, Girl is a masterful study of human evil by a writer who, at 88, is still getting better." Catherine Taylor in the Financial Times said, "In this impeccably written and indelible novel, she brings her juristic yet merciful eye to an ever-wider expression of the deep injustices of female and human circumstance," while the Times' Johanna Thomas-Corr praised the author for "articulating the unspeakable, deliberately seeking out difficulty" throughout her career.

Dean Atta's The Black Flamingo (Hodder Children's), a coming-of-age title told in verse, attracted a flurry of praise. The Guardian's Imogen Russell-Williams pronounced it "celebratory and passionate", adding, "Atta’s bold verse novel calls to its readers to find their own blazing, performative inner truth", while Suzi Feay in the Financial Timesdescribed it as "deeply involving" and "beautifully produced".

Kiera O'Brien, charts editor, The Bookseller

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Richard Seymour

4.40 out of 5

4 reviews

In surrealist artist Paul Klee’s The Twittering Machine, the bird-song of a diabolical machine acts as bait to lure humankind into a pit of damnation. Leading political writer and broadcaster Richard Seymour, author of Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics argues that this is a chilling metaphor for our relationship with social media.

Edna O'Brien

4.48 out of 5

17 reviews

and a descent into the labyrinthine bureaucracy and hostility awaiting a victim who returns home with a child blighted by enemy blood. From one of the century's greatest living authors, Girl is an unforgettable story of one victim's astonishing survival, and her unflinching faith in the redemption of the human heart.

Dean Atta


2 reviews

Fiercely told, this is a powerful coming-of-age story told in verse, from one of the UK's leading poets, Dean Atta. Perfect for fans of Sarah Crossan and Poet X.