Book review: Hadrian the Seventh, by F Rolfe, 1904

When undertaking to read my way through (and then blog about) the Guardian 100 best novels in English, I hoped to find some hidden gems, some novels which I had not come across previously, which would then lead me on to discover more works by the author. Sadly that hasn’t happened thus far. But equallyContinue reading “Book review: Hadrian the Seventh, by F Rolfe, 1904”

Book review: Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, 1934

‘Tropic of Cancer’ was banned in the UK and the USA for almost 30 years. Re-reading it after several decades, I am not surprised – it contains what were for the times explicit descriptions of sexual activity that you cannot find in any other conventional text of the time. Miller’s own description of the novel explained: “ThisContinue reading “Book review: Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, 1934”

Book review: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, 1977

‘Song of Solomon’, makes an interesting companion text to Morrison’s later novel, ‘Beloved’ which I reviewed earlier this month. Both novels take as their subject matter the question of African American identity and experience, but while ‘Beloved’ looks unflinchingly at arguably the most difficult period of this experience, the nineteenth century, ‘Song of Solomon’ takesContinue reading “Book review: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, 1977”

Book review: Beloved by Toni Morrison, 1987

‘Beloved’ addresses the issue of slavery in nineteenth century America. It is not an easy read – the novel does not shy away from the horrors of slavery; at the same time it avoids gratuitous descriptions of the physical, sexual and psychological tortures that slaves had to face. When dealing with nightmares such as thisContinue reading “Book review: Beloved by Toni Morrison, 1987”

Book review: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, 1960

The subset of people who have read ‘Go Set a Watchman’ but have not read’To Kill a Mockingbird’ must be pretty small, and until this week included me, embarrassed although I am to admit it. Yes, until this week I had not read this the ultimate American classic. I had seen the film, of course,Continue reading “Book review: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, 1960”

Book review: The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope, 1875

One of the reasons for keeping this blog is to tackle novels that I would otherwise not even consider attempting. Trollope definitely falls into that category – not only have I never read any of his work before, but I had no intention of doing so. Trollope treated writing as a job, studiously putting inContinue reading “Book review: The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope, 1875”