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Nina X reviews


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"“[An] outstanding if often disturbing thriller... Morrison succeeds in making readers empathize with Haley even as she admires the “genius” underlying her father’s criminal behavior. This elegantly conceived and written novel provides an unforgettable interrogation of whether coming to terms with one’s own family always involves a degree of insanity. Morrison is a writer to watch.”

Publishers weekly

“An entertaining tale of doom with clever plot twists and grotesque humour"

Berlingske - Denmark. **** review

“What an extraordinarily wonderful and daring novel this is. It questions everything we are supposed to hold dear - truth, family, love, the purpose of life itself. Through the shallow thinking and petty bickerings of his hopeless, ever hopeful, messed-up, insanely normal characters, Ewan Morrison tells a story with profound implications for us all. Claustrophobic, horrifying, frightening, intriguing, wise and daft, it’s a book full of sadness and humour and, even at its craziest, of great beauty.”  


James Robertson  

“This is a seriously excellent novel.”

Irvine Welsh, 25/3/21 

“I wasn’t sure there could be a great pandemic novel.

Here it is.”

Ian Rankin, 26/2/21

“A brilliant, intriguing, harrowing, illuminating story.

Says as much about conspiracy thinking and information-quicksand and paranoia as it does about pandemics, technology and human apathy.”

Tim Minchin 19/3/21

 “ The funniest thing about this book is that it is funny... It takes a novelist as humane and wry as Morrison to find in (survivalism) a very weird redemption. A skewed comedy of manners — as if The Good Life had been rewritten by George A. Romero. The novel’s ingenuity... is in keeping the reader on tiptoes.”

Stuart Kelly, THE SPECTATOR 24/3/21

“A terrific and gripping story… a masterclass in storytelling … echoes of Salinger’s Holden Caulfield … Haley is a triumph … often very funny … It’s unusual for a dystopian novel to be rich in humanity, but this one is. … Morrison has been recognised as the best or certainly most interesting Scottish novelist of his generation, and this is the best book he has yet written.”


Allan Massie, Scotsman 24/2/21

 “Exciting and terrifying … bouts of black comedy … a bold and compelling book by a writer whose creative risks … pay huge dividends.”

Malcolm Forbes, The Herald  6/03/21

“A riot to read….occasionally extremely funny, the plot twists and turns at a spanking pace.”


Charlotte Metcalf, Breakout Culture 24/2/21


"Urgent and exciting, harnessing our current global anxiety with a beautifully observed family drama."


Atom Egoyan


“Terrifying … a terrifically written thriller that puts a very contemporary dysfunctional family at the heart of a very contemporary dystopian reality.”


Lynda Obst, Producer of Interstellar


“How To Survive Everything is a gritty and (tragically) cool novel. The collision of a broken family and a global pandemic, it reads as a survival guide and feels like (is) a warning.”

David Shields


“Acutely realised and perfectly pitched … poignant, heart-rending and hilarious … This is a beautiful book in many ways … an exploration of love in all its guises, emerging, enduring, failed, set against an all too real dystopian setting, full of broken people trying to endure. Highly recommended.”

The Literary Shed, 02/03/2021


“One of our best living authors, his voice is unique, his style is magnificent and his imagination knows no bounds … Terrifying and harrowing, yet also deeply touching … Most certainly a novel of our time. One that will stay with me, and haunt me.”

Anne Cater, Random Things Through My Letterbox, March 1, 2021


 “Brilliant. A thrilling conspiracy story [with] gallows humour. The story is rich in allusion and multiple meanings which makes it such a delight to read. The narrative voice is so powerful, original and immediate.”

Claire Dobbin. Chair - Melbourne International Film Festival.


“A terrific read... a family drama unlike any other. Absolutely, a novel for our times. There are few people who write better about the family and relationships…if anyone was going to write a great lockdown novel it was going to be Ewan Morrison. Dark and detailed... an exceptional novel.”

 Alistair Braidwood. Scots Wha Hae. 6/3/21

NINA X reviews


Winner of the Saltire Society Fiction Book of the Year Prize 2019

‘Sensational. Like nothing I’ve ever read. A tour de force’

Ian Rankin



‘Chilling. Compelling’

Lionel Shriver


‘An amazing book. There are few writers left in Britain who have his ambition, vision and empathy. Nina is marvellous creation and this is an important novel’

Irvine Welsh


‘Brilliant, funny, clever, inspired, really powerful and also moving.

A literary tour de force.’

Fay Weldon


‘Literary gold…Morrison has published his masterpiece.’

Sunday Times


‘Convincing, moving and successful. It is also extremely funny... [Nina X explores] the boundaries of the self, the clash between extremes of historical attempts at collectivism and the hyper-individualism of contemporary society . . . It’s Nina’s voice…that really sets this book apart, as Morrison seeks to represent the deep traumas of Nina’s upbringing…. Morrison asks us to examine what is meant by freedom and how not all forms of control are visible’

 The Observer (Book of the Day)


'Darkly, heartbreakingly funny, Nina X is an assured new work from an author writing with a justified confidence.'

The Irish Times


‘The narrative voice in Nina X is an absolute triumph – completely unique and yet empathetic and familiar at the same time…At heart, this is an emotional story about trauma and survival, but it’s funny along the way too… A wonderful, disturbing, brilliant book.’

The Big Issue

‘A parable for our times. His most brutal and innovative novel. Challenging, horrific and visceral. Most importantly, apart from being humane and experimental, it is also deeply, deeply serious.  Judges of Prizes, take note’

From Scotland on Sunday


‘Nina’s story hit me hard; both her ignorance and deprivation whilst isolated from the outside world and the shock of being exposed to it as an adult were brilliantly and movingly depicted. I am rarely convinced or comfortable with men portraying intimate female experience but this was handled with insight and sensitivity.’

The Literary Sofa – Summer reads 2019

‘An absorbing novel about a woman growing up in a Maoist cult.’


‘There are few writers who deal as intelligently, courageously, and often confrontationally, with the modern world as Morrison does. Nina X is not simply an examination of nature versus nurture, but rather how a vulnerable mind can be pulled apart by conflict and confusion, and that human frailties (a term which seems horribly inadequate) such as envy, lust, jealously, hubris, anger and pride guarantee failure. The portrayal of Nina/The Project is as complex as it is heart breaking, with a long-suppressed individual voice trying to break through, to be heard and understood. As artistic as he is antagonistic, he believes in intellectual discourse and the rigorous thinking that accompanies it. Nina X is a reminder that the best writing should challenge and confront, and that there are few who do this as well as Ewan Morrison. He asks the questions that others avoid, or would never even think of asking, and offers no easy answers in return. This doesn’t always make his novels easy reads, but it does make them important ones and I know which I prefer every time.’

Books from Scotland

From Saturday Review on Radio 4:


‘I think it’s brilliant. I really enjoyed it. I found it very funny and often moving’

Alex Preston 


‘I think it’s such an intellectually fair book. Refreshingly honest…moving. I’m very impressed’

John Tusa


 ‘Fascinating…a very high concept book’

Oliver Jones





Winner of the Glenfiddich Writer of the Year award 2013.


Winner of the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book Awards Fiction Prize. 2013



“This novel conjures up the shock of new motherhood with skill. A fearsome read, it latches on and won’t let go.”   




“Brilliantly and bleakly evoked. This book is more than a psychological novel, it’s a page turning mystery too.”   



“Close Your Eyes is an astonishing novel. It manages both to be clear-eyed and harsh, compassionate and just. It takes us right to the heart of the turbulent social changes that defined our last quarter century and it is a revealing, honest, searing novel about mothers and children, about what it means to be part of a family. The story, the writing, the moral intelligence: All of it is a knockout.”


 ‘Mesmerising. Disturbing. Outstanding. Written with exquisite emotional perception, this is a tour de force from Morrison – the kind of book which comes along rarely but lingers in the mind long after the last page is turned.’



“Intense and brilliantly sustained, this is a powerful, moving exploration of New Age life that charts a woman’s struggle to look after her child while searching for her own mother.”  



“Acutely drawn…Morrison carries off the compelling second person voice brilliantly.”


“Easily the most interesting Scottish writer of his generation."



“A brave, sensitive, painful novel, Close Your Eyes is an alternative history of the last forty years, an exploration of the damage idealistic parents can do to their children and a reminder that it is sometimes the people who are absent who really fill out lives.”



‘Beautiful. Haunting. If Ewan Morrison was a woman, Close Your Eyes would be destined for the Orange Prize shortlist.’


”An insightful novel about a brave new world revisited.”


”Morrison inhabits his female characters with impressive skill, and his sharp portrayal of the commune’s evolution from hippy enclave to capitalist self-help business makes what is a potentially depressing novel a riveting read.”



“(an) Elegant and urgent novel. The whole of Close Your Eyes is an admirable and intimate wrestling with the damages incurred by trying to heal, as Adorno once called modernity, “a damaged life…. Anyone wanting to read a wise, emotionally literate gauge of the burdens - and blarney - of alternative living should buy it immediately.”




”Close Your Eyes is by far his most accomplished novel, an intense account of a girl’s upbringing in a Scottish Highland commune…Switching between two timelines, this is both a lyrical account of motherhood and an astute piece of commentary on the ways in which our society and our families have changed irrevocably over the last 40 years. To Pack all that stuff into a deeply personal tale that keeps you turning the pages is a testament to Morrison’s skill as a writer. Few male writers manage to tap into the emotional well as deeply as Morrison does, yet he has a clearer eye for the bigger picture and the writerly craft at his disposal to deliver a piercing critique of the world we live in. Morally complex, emotionally resonant – Close Your Eyes is a fine, fine piece of work.


”One of the successes of the book is Morrison’s convincing use of a female narrator. He writes about breastfeeding and motherhood in a completely natural way and the reader forgets the author is male. Yet Rowan is not just a woman, she is everyman, any­one who has struggled with depression, disappointment, abandonment and disillusion. Close Your Eyes is yet another step on Morrison’s journey to understand what makes society tick and take a close look at what happens when people do close their eyes. Highlights include the page-turning pleasure of a well-turned plot, Morrison’s skillful crafting of character and dialogue and his confident handling of stylistic techniques. There is betrayal, passion, idealism and defeat, the triumphs of human behavior as well as its petty, craven failures as his utopia loses its ideals in order to survive. Ultimately, there is hope, however, as Rowan comes to terms with her past and reconnects with both her mother’s memory and her own child, and the reader is left to conclude that ultimately, a mother’s love conquers all.”




‘Morrison is unsparing in the emotional ordeal he inflicts on both his protagonist and the reader, but his novel is always acutely and convincingly observed. It’s a telling and powerful study of the intersection between the political and personal.’

METRO. 4 stars

 ‘A riveting well told tale.”


“A novel that deals with post-natal depression that is both sensitive and unflinchingly honest, Morrison's story explores the bond and limits of motherhood.” 



“Ewan Morrison has had a good year. His last book delighted the critics and the omens for his new novel, loosely based on his childhood growing up with hippie parents, are looking equally good. For a while, he says, he felt he was being pigeonholed as someone who only wrote about sex, and certainly the three novels that made his name – Swung, Distance and Ménage – had a whiff of scandal about them. But in May, in Tales From The Mall, he struck out in a new direction, mixing up fiction with reportage, journalism and sociology in an innovative look at consumer culture. And in his new novel, Close Your Eyes, he is playing with form again: in a novel that takes a hard look about the realities and consequences of Highland hippiedom, the narrative encompasses song lyrics, New Age slang, and parenting manuals.”


“Often the sense of impending disaster makes you sick with nervous tension. At other times, Morrison creates calm from the most unlikely circumstances. In a book that is somewhere between Esther Freud’s Hideous Kinky and Jez Butterworth’s play Jerusalem, Morrison creates something both uncomfortable and beautiful to read”. 



 “Morrison’s most accomplished book yet … a complex, thought-provoking and deeply ambitious book, and one that Morrison, now an exceedingly versatile writer, pulls off triumphantly.”



Jonathan Cape 2011- Vintage 2012


Winner of the Guardian Not The Booker Prize 2012


Finalist Saltire Society Book of the Year 2012


Kindle #1 bestseller, Germany

“One of the most innovative and groundbreaking books to have been published in the last couple of decades.”


Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting.

“Tales From the Mall is a great book. It’s touching and emotional and part of a new form of literary storytelling. It’s worth reading, worth loving.”


James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces

“Morrison continues Ballard’s tradition of locating menace beneath the sleekness and shine of post industrial life. You also learn a lot along the way. A truly interesting book.”


Douglas Coupland, author of Generation X

“Tales From The Mall is an elegy as much as it is a philippic...Morrison is easily the most interesting Scottish writer of his generation.”


The Guardian

“A wonderful and important bookthat does the most difficult thing: laying bare the overlooked everyday world in which we live. The dark dreams and lightweight fantasies of shopping malls and those within them are exposed with incredible acuity and great tenderness.”


Catherine O’Flynn, Costa prize winning author of ‘What Was Lost

"Gruesomely funny, uncomfortably accurate, astonishingly varied...Tales From The Mall represents and creates a nether world that is all around us, mostly ignored, hardly seen, incessantly frequented.”


Jonathan Meades

"Welcome to a new kind of 21st-century storytelling. This remarkable collection of writing is hard to categorise in any orthodox sense, but it is a brilliant and often profound form of literature that says more about the modern human condition than a hundred more conventional novels might.The genius of Tales from the Mall is that Morrison plays everything with a straight bat. There are pieces of writing here that will make you cry, others that will give you a warm glow about humanity, and still others that will make you despair at the state of the world."


Scotland On Sunday

“Ewan Morrison captures beautifully the point at which anecdote becomes urban myth and reportage slides into fiction. This feels like a really important step toward a fiction of the 21st century.”


Claire Armitstead, Books Editor, The Guardian.

"Morrison has pulled together a wealth of information and anecdotes to create a vibrantly funny and genuinely scary portrait of our times." The List

“This is a phenomenal and important ground breaking novel maybe even the Trainspotting of its generation.”


Kevin Williamson. Rebel Inc.

“The most ground breaking and moving book to come out of Britain in years. A dazzling book about everyday people trying to find heart in a heartless place. Morrison is so far ahead of the zeitgeist it’s frightening.”



“A definitive expedition into the alternative universe death-star environment of the mall. Sure-footed, smart and necessary. Morrison unpicks security barriers between genres, documenting his fictions, and smacking us with real-world retrievals. I was grateful for every word of it.”

Iain Sinclair, author of ‘Ghost Milk’

"An innovative way of delivering his trademark obsessions with globalisation, consumerism and relationships, its an engaging mix of fact and fiction. The stories range from laugh out loud funny to on the button social commentary. Staffing the tales from the mall are brilliant characters, this is a book for anyone who’s ever dated, waited, worked or berated in a mall. Which is all of us."



“A brilliant new book”


The Verb, Radio 3.

“Morrison glides us through people's lives... the effect is, like a mall, mostly dazzling. Morrison is always ready to find disquiet and unease in the most banal of places. His book is populated by small lives in the shadow of the multi-national, delivered in a sympathetic manner...His writing remains fresh and inventive.”


The Independent

“brilliantly written... It’s fascinating, funny (often darkly) and at times really affecting. I am really glad that people pushed me in the direction of Ewan Morrison, now I am hopefully going to be pushing him on you.” Savidge Reads

“...I focus on a piece of work, Tales from the Mall by Glasgow-based writer Ewan Morrison, which was published this year by Scotland’s innovative Cargo Press. This publication posits an exciting future for storytelling, from the so-called margins. It’s an innovative book that is set largely in Scotland, but which has a global reach, as this small country interfaces with a globalised consumerist culture to produce truly zeitgeist writing.”


Irvine Welsh , Keynote Speech. International Writers Conference. Edinburgh International Book Festival 2012.

"Morrison has a beautiful ear for the language of various inhabitants of the consumerist dystopia and renders them very convincingly in the fictional passages. Like in his previous work, female characters especially come across as entirely believable and utterly unbearable. Not many authors can write hateful women so well while remaining fundamentally sympathetic to them. Morrison stacks up the fragmented shards of his stories so intricately that a resulting – and seemingly precarious – structure works beautifully, packing in a powerful emotional punch without losing a rational and, despite protestations to the contrary, distinctly polemical edge.”


New Linear Perspectives

"A writer of serious intent and
prodigious talent"


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