Apollo Reviews

Apollo Reviews


The Apollo list is thought-provoking, eye-opening, inspired and inspiring.’ The Big Issue

Pachinko - Min Jin Lee

'This is a long novel, but it never feels it - Min Jin Lee's storytelling is effortless.' Stylist - Pick of the best new books for 2017

'[A]n exquisite, haunting epic… Lee’s profound novel of losses and gains explored through the social and cultural implications of pachinko-parlor owners and users is shaped by impeccable research, meticulous plotting, and empathic perception.' Booklist Starred Review
'An epic, multi-generational saga' Mail on Sunday - Best of 2017
“[A] beautifully crafted story of love, loss determination, luck, and perseverance…”  Library Journal Review

The Hungry Grass - Richard Power

Read Ann Powers speech from the launch of The Hungry Grass in The Irish Times here
'An elegy for a doomed way of life. The Hungry Grass is a supremely divine comedy: God's laughter at the shattering of a world. In the end, that world proves too strong for one mortal man to sustain.' Declan Kibberd
'Make no mistake: The Hungry Grass, which was first published in 1969 and is now beautifully reissued, is truly masterful, as funny as it is profound and insightful....Published in 1969, the same year as James Plunkett’s superb Dublin epic Strumpet City, The Hungry Grass is a far more sophisticated narrative, an Irish Stoner that has the pathos of John Williams’s quiet American classic but also adds biting humour.' Irish Times
‘Stylistic and sharp…What Powers has managed to do here in this quiet novel is create a character of depth and complexity…The Hungry Grass is a find’ Sunday Independent
‘Daring…Beautifully written…It is a masterpiece.’ RTE 
'An inspired reissuing of Power’s superb novel, which was first published in 1969, reveals a writer with much in common with the great William Trevor. It tells the story of an unhappy priest whose life had been stalked by regret. Easily one of the finest Irish novels ever written – no tricks, just genius.' Irish Times
'I discovered The Hungry Grass in 1969 and  was hugely moved and impressed by it. This novel is a real gem and is still one of my very favourite books.' Barry Devlin, musician and director

The History of a Town - M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin

A very much stranger and more interesting creation than merely a satire on mid-nineteenth century Russian problems. Suspended in its half-bewitched existence, Glupov brings to mind Macondo, that other lost town, deep in the jungle of of Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude' Charlotte Hobson
'You don’t have to understand much about tsarist Russia to enjoy this magical novel. Saltykov’s satire attacks the follies that have blighted humans from time immemorial: lust, deceit, violence, tyranny, subservience. Saltykov twists the reader’s mind with irony of situation and style…. At its delicious denouement, history itself disappears…simply in terms of the inner logic of the fictional world, it is an ingenious and superbly ironic finale.' The Herald
‘A relatively obscure little gem from the unceasingly superb Apollo Classics line offers an equally amusing portrayal of that most complex of nations more than a century ago…a joyfully surreal and playful novel, which manages to be insightful and prescient at the same time’ The Big Issue

Heaven's My Destination - Thornton Wilder
'Children of faith, poets and saints, dot the cruel world, and give Wilder's novels a reticular tension, the suspense of a hidden design about to emerge.' John Updike

The Stone Angel - Margaret Laurence

'I will always treasure The Stone Angel not only for its intransigent, stony heroine, but for the way Margaret Laurence turns this account of one ninety-year-old's rage against the dying of the light into a mythic, epic battle. Unforgettable.' Emma Donoghue

‘Wise, moving and surprising, Laurence’s novel is a rarity’ The Times

Now in November - Josephine Johnson
‘Very beautiful prose, simple yet bright with imagery, and so distinctive that one could mistake no single paragraph for the work of any other writer. Johnson belongs in the tradition of Emily Brontë and Emily Dickinson.’ New York Times
'Characterisation is strong...At times it reminded me of Steinbeck’s later “Grapes Of Wrath” as it shares his ability to step back from the story at times and let the environment tell its own tale.' Nudge Books
'A despairing father moves his wife and three daughters from the city to the country and attempts to farm during the Depression. The hardship is unrelenting, but a worker comes to help and the young narrator becomes obsessively drawn to him. First published in 1934, five years before The Grapes of Wrath, its calm, near Biblical rural voice won the Missouri-born 24-year-old author a deserved Pulitzer Prize.' Irish Times

The Man who Loved Children - Christina Stead
‘This crazy, gorgeous family novel is one of the great literary achievements of the twentieth century. I carry it in my head the way I carry childhood memories; the scenes are of such precise horror and comedy that I feel I didn’t read the book so much as live it.’ Jonathan Franzen

Will Rycroft at Vintage reviews for the Classics Challenge 2016

The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones - Charles Neider
‘Sam Peckinpah’s version of Billy’s brief life (Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid) is hailed as his masterpiece. But Neider’s book is better, better than any other book on the subject of men, horses and death.’ Clive Sinclair 
'Great westerns are both mythic and defiantly down to earth, as is this powerful ballet of menace.' Irish Times
'Apollo is Head of Zeus’s new series of ‘great forgotten works of fiction’ launching in April and I was lucky enough to pick this one… I really liked this book…It’s been decades since I’ve read a western but I have to say this has reawakened my interest. Highly recommended.' Nudge Books 
'A superb novel:  a strange and bewitching book whose violence and seeming artlessness belie great moral and literary sophistication.  If ever a book deserved a wider readership, this does.’ Marcel Theroux
'The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones... is wonderful. It's so spare and leached-out, yet at the same time vivid in terms of the Californian setting and – most amazingly of all – is oddly moving. Why should we care about these death-obsessed hooligans with their strange codes of honour and revenge? Hard to say, but we do. Or at least I do, for as long as I'm reading the book. A tough life ending in tough deaths and very skilfully drawn. Not the least of his skills is in telling us in advance what's going to happen, who will die before the night's out etc., and yet without defusing the story. This must be virtually unheard of in what is basically an action novel.' James Hamilton-Paterson

The Lost Europeans - Emanuel Litvinoff

‘The great forgotten novel of post-war Berlin... The Lost Europeans is both moving and forensic in its portrayal of a shabby and still only partly repaired city: recently divided between East and West but united by a common past of such monstrosity that the most prosaic presences and encounters shriek of murder.' Patrick Wright
'Litvinoff’s novel is as much about place as people, and he excels with his portrait of post war, pre-Wall Berlin…we accompany them through a city of victims and survivors, perpetrators and ghosts - all the time wondering why so fine a book could languish so long in obscurity. Now this overlooked gem can sparkle again.' The Herald
'Litvinoff’s debut novel...was a real treat for me to discover. I was fascinated by the characters and their dilemmas and I found the issues raised stimulating [and] there is a lot going on under the surface...This is still some achievement and has been the book I have enjoyed most to date in Apollo’s surprisingly wide-ranging series of eight of “the best books you’ve never read.' Nudge Books 

The Day of Judgement - Salvatore Satta 
‘The Day of Judgment is that now improbable gift, for which one cannot be too thankful: a great European novel.’ Susan Sontag
'Re-issued earlier this year, Salvatore Satta’s The Day of Judgement is one of the great twentieth-century novels…The book’s saturnine vision of Sardinian life, heavy with nostalgia for the past, contributes to an unforgettably powerful epic of war and diaspora' The Tablet

Delta Wedding - Eudora Welty
‘One of the most original, subtle and magical of American writers. Her prose is incandescent and her vision supremely humane.’ Joyce Carol Oates
'Apollo have reissued Eudora Welty’s second novel Delta Wedding, and I’m halfway through its exquisite account of a hazy, troubling Mississippi summer in the 1920’s…I can’t imagine why I haven’t read it before’ Tessa Hadley, The Guardian - Summer Reads

My Son, My Son - Howard Spring

‘A novel in the grand tradition... one scene succeeds another with compelling force. A book which is real, satisfying and fine.’ The Evening Standard
'Mesmerising…600 pages of astute observation about social division, loveless marriage, the Troubles, the errors of over-indulgent fatherhood and the upheavals of World War 1 make for a hugely irresistible and satisfying read’ Daily Mail

Bosnian Chronicle - Ivo Andric
'Exquisitely poetic...Yet despite the despair inherent in almost every page of this book, Andric's descriptive prowess made this one of the most elevating reading experiences I can recall.' Misha Glenny
'Cultures and nationalities, East and West, merge and clash in a reading experience like no other. This exhilarating book of a lifetime was completed in 1945 and he won the 1961 Nobel Prize for Andric, is set in Travnik, his home town. It leaps off the page through the characters and their exchanges with each other, amid a wealth of incident.' Irish Times