Some signs of promise in an overwrought debut novel

23rd December, 2018

FICTION: Flames, By Robbie Arnott, Atlantic Books, €14.95

Ideal prose embodies a highly wrought conversationalism – or, to put it a less pretentious way, good writing shouldn’t stray too far from the textures of the spoken language. You should be able to understand a sentence the first time you read it. The deeper stuff (allusion, texture, irony) comes later. When prose announces itself as prose – that is, when it differs too greatly...

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