Book review: Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

Read in 1999 Vintage edition The important thing to remember about this novel, winner of the 1998 Booker prize, is that it is pre-Atonement, pre-On Chesil Beach, even pre-Saturday.  In other words it is not the work of a mature writer at the height of his powers – which I know is not much ofContinue reading “Book review: Amsterdam by Ian McEwan”

Book review: The Sea – John Banville

  Read in a Picador 2006 edition. Winner of the 2005 Booker prize. A generic Booker prize winner is emerging from my reading of recent weeks. The short novel is narrated by an older character looking back on a formative incident from their youth – an incident that is not revealed until well into theContinue reading “Book review: The Sea – John Banville”

Book review: Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd

Be careful what you wish for – I was bemoaning the absence of a novel with a structure or plot, and this is what the bookshop’s shelves presented me with.   I normally start these entries with a plot summary to provide me with some means to remember the book by in months and yearsContinue reading “Book review: Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd”

Supplementary: The Sense of an Ending (2) – Julian Barnes

I wanted to add a few comments to my notes on Julian Barnes’s “A Sense of an Ending”. I have spotted what I think is a significant flaw at the heart of the novel, although to be fair it is one that is not apparent on a casual read.  The novel’s primary theme is the imperfectionContinue reading “Supplementary: The Sense of an Ending (2) – Julian Barnes”

Book review: The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes

Read in a Vintage books edition 2012. Plot outline – Part 1 The narrator of the novel, Tony Webster, looking back over 40 years to his youth, tells us about his group of friends at school in the 1960s. The tight knit group is joined by a slightly detached fourth member, Adrian. Adrian sees theContinue reading “Book review: The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes”

Book review: The Gathering by Anne Enright, 2007

Read in the Vintage 2008 edition shown The decision of the 2007 Booker prize judges to give this book the nod over On Chesil Beach must rank as one of the all-time puzzling decisions of a prize panel. Because this was lame. The novel’s central premise is very traditional – a family member has committedContinue reading “Book review: The Gathering by Anne Enright, 2007”

Book review: The Accidental by Ali Smith

This novel is set in 2003 and follows the Smart family, on holiday in a rather tatty cottage in Norfolk. The (step)father, Michael, is a university professor and serial adulterer; the mother, Eve, is a (blocked) writer, imagining how the lives of people killed in the war would have ended had they lived; the son,Continue reading “Book review: The Accidental by Ali Smith”

Book review: The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai

Read in a 2007 Penguin edition. Kiran Desai’s novel is in many ways a very traditional exploration of modern India, but a dramatic contrast to White Tiger. The book is set in the 1980s in the shadows of the Himalayas, and follows the affairs of a small prosperous household – a retired judge, his cook,Continue reading “Book review: The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai”

Book review: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and men – John Steinbeck read in the 2010 New Longman edition Spoiler alert – this review gives information about what happens at the end of the story. If you don’t want to find out what happens before you have read the book itself, please do not read any further. I have aContinue reading “Book review: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck”