Here is a short novel almost miraculous in its successful blending of potentially clashing tones. This may be one benefit of a writer growing up in their own language, and being translated only when they have achieved escape velocity. As a result Marion Poschmann, a multi-award-winning poet and novelist in her native Germany, now appears in English fully formed, translated by Jen Calleja, and has all the air of uncovered greatness: this month the book was longlisted for the Man Booker International prize.... The Pine Islands is a story that doesn’t tie up loose ends but leaves themes scattered as needles on the forest floor, allowing the reader to spot their patterns. The best approach to this beguiling, unpredictable book is to follow Gilbert’s advice on reciting poetry: “to let it affect you, and simply accept it in all its striking, irrational beauty”.