Walter de la Mare, Memoirs of a Midget

This strange and beautiful novel was published in 1921, perfectly positioned among Stella Benson's Living Alone (1919), David Garnett's Lady Into Fox (1922) and Sylvia Townsend Warner's Lolly Willowes (1926).  All belong to the category of fantasy that allows the fantastical to live alongside the mundane, without comment or criticism, although mild resentment may be present, … Continue reading Walter de la Mare, Memoirs of a Midget

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Sorrow and anger: Books I couldn’t finish or wished I hadn’t started

I don’t usually write negative reviews of books, because (1) it’s usually not fair on a writer to pillory them in public, (2) why waste the reader’s time? But sometimes writing a reasoned critical appraisal for the record can be a public service. For those searching online to find out if anyone else hated this book … Continue reading Sorrow and anger: Books I couldn’t finish or wished I hadn’t started

Greer Gilman’s Cloud and Ashes: An Interim Reading

I’ve struggled hard to get through Cloud & Ashes by Greer Gilman. I’ve already written about her seventeenth-century historical novellas starring Ben Jonson, which I consider completely brilliant. Cloud & Ashes is different, in that its setting is pre-industrial, magical and timeless, rather than in the English court of James I and VI. Its three … Continue reading Greer Gilman’s Cloud and Ashes: An Interim Reading

Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle

I happened upon this beautiful Gaiman-Riddell collaboration from 2014 in the Cambridge branch of Forbidden Planet, and was looked upon strangely when I bore it back to my friends in triumph. I explained that since I live abroad I have fewer ways of finding out what is creeping into bookshops without notifying me, and their … Continue reading Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle