I took a while to get into this sturdy family saga: it was blocking the reading pile for weeks while I struggled to pay it proper attention. Then something clicked, and the peculiarities of The Fountain Overflows (1956) began to attract my attention. At first I thought that it was rather like Rose Macaulay’s Told … Continue reading Rebecca West, The Fountain Overflows
Sarah Perry, The Essex Serpent (2016) I know, I know. It’s probably the most popular novel of 2016, winning prizes, praised everywhere in the UK media for months. I was so looking forward to reading this, and I was so damn disappointed. Perhaps it was the reviews, of which ‘one of the most memorable historical … Continue reading It’s Not You, It’s Me: More Reading Disappointments
On Vulpes Libris I've posted a furious review of Antonia White's marvellous novel Frost in May. I've been meaning to read this for years, but could never find a second-hand copy, which I think is indicative. It's one of those novels that, if you respond to it, you have to keep it. It was also … Continue reading Now posting on Vulpes Libris: Antonia White’s Frost in May
A slightly unfortunate phrasing, that: as if she'd written a novel called Death, or Sudden Demise. It's a great novel, and I talk about it over on Vulpes Libris. Go see.
This is a very early E F Benson novel, published long before his Edwardian and post-First World War triumphs would appear, but it shows signs that the experienced Bensonite can recognise as an indication of future sublimity. It’s a Victorian novelette, that in any other hands would never have made it out of the cheap … Continue reading E F Benson, The Money Market
This is a neat and lush little ghost story, barely long enough for a novella, printed in 1941 in an austere wartime edition. In 1945 the story was made into a film of the same name, starring James Mason, and Margaret Lockwood as an entirely new character. The story is the work of an established … Continue reading Osbert Sitwell, A Place of One’s Own
The only things I knew about Angelica Garnett before I read this autobiography were (1) that she was the daughter of Vanessa Bell and her lover Duncan Grant, and (2) that her eventual husband David Garnett had announced that he would marry Angelica on first meeting her, in her cradle. Deceived With Kindness suggests that … Continue reading Angelica Garnett, Deceived with Kindness. A Bloomsbury Childhood