Jonathan Mirsky

Mission Impossible

A House by the River

By

Picador 262pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

SID SMITH WRITES fascinating novels for part of the way. Then something happens. His first novel, Something like a House, is about a British soldier who wanders away from the Korean War and ends up in a remote region of China, where he melts into a non-Han community. It is a unique setting and the soldier, although virtually mute, makes a memorable central figure. In the novel’s second half Smith gets a bee in his bonnet about local and international politics, the story dwindles, and so did my interest, although the book won the Whitbread Prize for first novels and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,