I didn’t come to The Buried Giant by the standard Ishiguro route, since I’ve not read much of his work. All the descriptions I had read before The Buried Giant arrived in my Christmas stocking agreed that it was an odd and peculiar novel from this modern British novelist because it involved giants and knights and other … Continue reading Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant
This time in the Really Like This Book's podcast script catch-up, I’ve gone west, to Willa Cather’s beautiful novel The Song of the Lark from 1915. If ever there was an advertisement for idyllic American settings, this novel is it. The descriptions evoke desert life near the Mexican border, clean and tidy Scandinavian-immigrant town life in … Continue reading Dogged mid-West endurance: Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark
Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words is a weighty illustrated doorstop of a book by Boel Westin and is Jansson's authorised biography. Until a few years ago she was only known in the UK for her children’s books about the Moomins. Moominland Midwinter, Moominsummer Madness and Comet in Moominland (there are five others) are in the class … Continue reading The biography of Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words
Novels about American women and work, number 2. This Really Like This Book podcast script revisit is about the story of a classic American social climber, Edith Wharton’s magnificent and chilling novel The Custom of the Country, from 1913. I hesitate to call Undine Spragg the heroine, since she is a horrible person, and a monster … Continue reading Edith Wharton and The Custom of the Country
I accidentally began rereading Ngaio Marsh’s Roderick Alleyn detective novels before Christmas, and have now, a month later, read them all, bar the four that I didn't have which have yet to arrive via Abebooks. These novels are Marsh’s most well-known works, superb Golden Age detective novels in the classic whodunit style, published from the 1930s … Continue reading The performances of Roderick Alleyn: Ngaio Marsh at her best
Over on Vulpes Libris I've been writing about the first edition of George Orwell's letters, essays and journalism, from 1968. What a bloke. And about Sonia Orwell's editing. What a powerful woman.
Louisa May Alcott's most famous novel, Little Women, and its three sequels make her still a highly popular author, but until fairly recently these were her only novels that most people could name. Many of her Gothic thrillers and sensational potboilers have been resurrected by scholars, the most well-known of which is a rather depressing adult novel of … Continue reading Working is good for you: Louisa May Alcott’s An Old-Fashioned Girl