Book review: Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886

Read in a Penguin Classic edition It’s about time I explained why I am reading what is essentially a children’s book, albeit a Victorian ‘classic’. A few months ago the Guardian completed a two year exercise to publish a list of the top 100 novels written in English. I’ve written previously about how irritating theseContinue reading “Book review: Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886”

Book review: The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey, 2000

By coincidence, following on from my previous review of ‘In Cold Blood’, this is another novelisation of factual events. More specifically, this novel is (effectively) a biography of Ned Kelly, the famous Australian outlaw, written in the first person using Kelly’s own distinctive personal style. Kelly was a first generation Australian, son of transported IrishContinue reading “Book review: The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey, 2000”

Book review: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, 1966

Read in Abacus edition. This non-fiction novel (Capote’s term for it) describes the murder of the Clutter family, a mid-Western American family, and the subsequent arrest, conviction, and execution of their killers, Hickock and Smith. It’s a banal and senseless murder, and despite the meticulous way it is reconstructed by Capote he never really getsContinue reading “Book review: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, 1966”

Book review: The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford, 1915

This novel has an utterly misleading title. Ford claimed ‘The Good Soldier’ was his publisher’s idea, as an alternative to ‘The Saddest Story’, which may not have caught the public mood, but the commercial appeal of a novel published in 1915 about a ‘good soldier’ must have been hard to resist. Why not go the wholeContinue reading “Book review: The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford, 1915”

Book review: Disgrace, by J M Coetzee, 1999

Disgrace follows the downfall and disgrace of David Lurie, a lecturer in Communications at Cape Town University. He is 52 and twice divorced. His job at the university has recently been redefined, prefiguring some of the significant changes in South African society that form the backdrop to and context of this novel. Lurie has aContinue reading “Book review: Disgrace, by J M Coetzee, 1999”

Book review: Kim, by Rudyard Kipling, 1901

Many of the classic novels I have been reading in recent weeks have been reasonably familiar to me. often this is through film or television adaptations, or from having read versions or parts of the novel decades ago. ‘Kim’ is an exception to that general rule – although I had heard of the novel, IContinue reading “Book review: Kim, by Rudyard Kipling, 1901”