Book review: The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing, 1962

The Golden Notebook is a complex narrative. The writer, Anna Wulf, uses four notebooks to record different aspects of her life, and at the end of the novel attempts to unite them in a fifth, gold-coloured, notebook. The novel waves together several parallel narratives, and at times it can be hard to work out whetherContinue reading “Book review: The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing, 1962”

Book review: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, 1719

Robinson Crusoe – or, as its amazing sub-title would have it ‘The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore byContinue reading “Book review: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, 1719”

Book review: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, 1847

‘Wuthering Heights’ has over 22,000 reviews on Goodreads alone; one has to wonder what else I could possibly add to that overwhelming weight of opinion and consideration? The dark and gothic tale is constructed with a complex variety of framing structures – at one point the narrative is told by Mr Lockwood, the tenant ofContinue reading “Book review: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, 1847”

Book review: Underworld, by Don Delillo, 1997

Some novels are easy reads – the pages roll past in a blur, the events have a pace and unity that keep you turning the page, but the reader sometimes feel a bit of a passenger, riding the tide of the novel without having to do any work. Chapters are as short as the reader’sContinue reading “Book review: Underworld, by Don Delillo, 1997”

Book review: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, by Anita Loos, 1925

‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ was published in the same year as ‘The Great Gatsby’, and provides an interesting contrast to that dazzling portrait of prohibition era America. ‘Laugh-out loud’ is an over-used expression but I genuinely (and slightly against my better judgment) found myself laughing out loud at this delightfully silly novel, which in diary form tellsContinue reading “Book review: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, by Anita Loos, 1925”

Book review: Voss, by Patrick White, 1957

Patrick White was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1973 “for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature” (I think what this is saying is that White was the first great writer about rather than from Australia). Of ‘Voss’, the citation said it is “an intensive characterContinue reading “Book review: Voss, by Patrick White, 1957”

Book review: Sybil, by Benjamin Disraeli, 1845

“Would he have made the cut if he had not become prime minister?” asks Robert McCrum in his Guardian article explaining why he chose ‘Sybil’ for his “top 100 novels written in English” list. He goes on: ”his literary contemporaries such as Dickens, Thackeray, George Eliot, and even Anthony Trollope are much greater novelists. Disraeli’sContinue reading “Book review: Sybil, by Benjamin Disraeli, 1845”

Supplementary: Hadrian 7th – F Rolfe – 1904 (Part 2)

Fans of obscure words might be interested in this. In my review of F Rolfe’s Hadrian 7th (1904) I mentioned Rolfe’s predilection for using arcane language. I made a note of just a small selection as examples – see if you recognise any: koprolalian cardinalitial matutinal acolyth prooimion Sbdiaconate yearnest exoletes dicaculous dilacerated pachydermatosity juvenceContinue reading “Supplementary: Hadrian 7th – F Rolfe – 1904 (Part 2)”

Book review: Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, 1925

  ‘Mrs Dalloway’ is Woolf’s modernist masterpiece. Sadly, anything I have to say about it, as is so often the case when reviewing classics, is not now going to be original. If you want to know what happens in the novel Wikipedia is a click away, and the novel’s themes, language, characterisation and structures haveContinue reading “Book review: Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, 1925”