I really liked the last Kate Wilhelm novel I read (Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang), for her tight plotting, her compelling storytelling, her inventiveness with imagining the future. But I was impatient (perhaps I shouldn’t have been: she’s an author of her times) with the annoying contrasts between the broad dystopic vision cramped into … Continue reading Kate Wilhelm’s Let the Fire Fall
Today’s letter is Q in the Really Like This Book scripts catch-up, and today’s author was a struggle to find. Q is not a common initial capital letter for anglophone surnames, and whoever I chose was going to be obscure. In the end, after consultating the online Literary Encyclopaedia, I had a choice of the classical … Continue reading Sir Arthur Quiller Couch and being Q
‘But my baby died’. That’s the last line in Naomi Mitchison’s second volume of memoirs, You May Well Ask. It's a grim cliff-hanger that isn’t, because this happened in 1940 when she was running a small Scottish estate in Carradale, on a dangling arm of land off western Scotland that snuggles up to Arran in the Firth … Continue reading You May Well Ask: Naomi Mitchison’s roaring twenties
There’s something a little awkward about reading book three in an established series without having any idea of what one is getting into, like crashing a party by accident. Alex Bledsoe’s Long Black Curl is the third in a sequence of novels about the Tufa, savage fairy magic and traditional folk music in the Appalachians, … Continue reading Alex Bledsoe’s Long Black Curl
Today’s letter in the Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up is P, and today’s author is Barbara Pym, a quiet and wickedly funny English comic novelist of the 1950s and the 1970s. She had a curious career, being published quite successfully during the 1950s, and then being dropped, rather brutally, after her sixth novel, … Continue reading Interested onlookers at vestry rage in Barbara Pym’s A Glass of Blessings
You know that feeling of ‘damn, she got there before me’? That’s what I felt, listening to Helen Lewis on the New Statesman podcast talking about the last Terry Pratchett novel, The Shepherd’s Crown. At every point she made, I nodded, and chopped the celery a little more crossly while admiring, of course, her perspicacity in … Continue reading Framework, unfinished: Terry Pratchett’s The Shepherd’s Crown
Part two of Ben Aaronovitch's interstitial comic Rivers of London: Body Work is out, and I review it over on Vulpes Libris. It's all about the Nightingale.