Book review: Towards the End of the Morning by Michael Frayn

Read in a Faber and Faber 2005 edition. This is one of Frayn’s early (1967) novels about life in the newspaper industry pre-Wapping. It is an affectionate portrait, which some well observed scenes, but overall it is the slight kind of novel that can slide over your eyes without ever entering your brain. You reallyContinue reading “Book review: Towards the End of the Morning by Michael Frayn”

Book review: A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh, 1934

First published in 1934, and read in a gorgeous Penguin Modern Classic Edition.   Waugh is the great chronicler of mid-war upper class British life, and this is one of his bleakest, blackest novels. This savage, bitter comedy charts the end of a aristocratic marriage. The world the characters inhabit is not the comic, chaotic swirl ofContinue reading “Book review: A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh, 1934”

Book review: One of our Thursdays is Missing – Jasper Fforde

The law of diminishing returns is setting in for this series. Fforde keeps delivering his linguistic pyrotechnics, clever plot twists, and his imaginative recasting of the world of fiction. And yet I can’t deny my interest is waning, and as a result I fear I will end up focussing on minor flaws which in early booksContinue reading “Book review: One of our Thursdays is Missing – Jasper Fforde”

Lord of the Flies by William Golding, 1954

Lord of the Flies by William Golding, first published in 1954, read in a Faber edition. Unless you have not been paying attention for the last 60 years, the plot of Lord of the Flies will be familiar – a group of schoolboys crash land on a tropical island during an unsuccessful evacuation from aContinue reading “Lord of the Flies by William Golding, 1954”

Berlin by Antony Beevor, 2002

Berlin – The Downfall 1945 Antony Beevor, Penguin, 2002 You might get the impression from some of my recent posts that all I do is read German history, but it is fair to say that these entries are not entirely representative of my reading habits. Before I get to the book itself, a little gripe – thisContinue reading “Berlin by Antony Beevor, 2002”

Book review: On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, 2007

I am going to break all my rules and say what I think this book is about, bearing in mind that I am not sure I even believe in the idea of books simply being “about” one thing. The plot, such as it is, is quickly summarised in McEwan’s opening sentence: “They were young, educated,Continue reading “Book review: On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, 2007”

Sons and Lovers – D.H.Lawrence

DH Lawrence Sons and Lovers, first published 1913. How can you write about a novel such as Sons and Lovers without the weight of a hundred years of critical evaluation and response bearing down oppressively on you? Where do you start – with one’s own immediate personal reaction, or with some consideration of the novelContinue reading “Sons and Lovers – D.H.Lawrence”

At Home – Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is a wonderfully entertaining writer. His short book about Shakespeare was superbly written and erudite, and despite covering ground so well trodden he managed to bring new perspectives, as well as demolishing the “Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare” position devastatingly. I also enjoyed “Notes from a Small Island” and his book on Australia, unimaginativelyContinue reading “At Home – Bill Bryson”

Book review: When Money Dies – Adam Fergusson

When Money Dies – the Nightmare of the Weimar Hyper-inflation (First published in the 1970’s, although I read the 2010 version pictured here.) First off, what a great title for a book. But the obvious question I need to address in the first instance is once again, “Why?” Although I studied Economics at A levelContinue reading “Book review: When Money Dies – Adam Fergusson”