Book review: Machines Like Me, by Ian McEwan, 2019

Let’s start with that clever title.  The ambiguity lies between machines that are similar to ‘me’ and machines that feel a form of affection towards ‘me’. In Ian McEwan’s interesting latest novel it’s not clear in what sense if any the machines in question, robots, like the narrator. The narrative is relatively straightforward. Charlie Friend,Continue reading “Book review: Machines Like Me, by Ian McEwan, 2019”

Book review: The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, 1985

The popularity of the television adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale may have been what inspired Margaret Atwood to return to Gilead and the story of the eponymous handmaid Offred. (In the TV adaptation this character is called June, but so far as I can tell this name is not used in the book). It was certainly aContinue reading “Book review: The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, 1985”

Book review: Interesting Times, (Discworld 17) by Terry Pratchett, 1994

Interesting Times, as well as being 17th in the Discworld series, is also the fifth novel to feature the world’s worst wizard, (or should that be wizzard?), Rincewind. So, cards on the table time – despite the enormous respect I have for all things Discworld, Rincewind is one of my least favourite characters. My heartContinue reading “Book review: Interesting Times, (Discworld 17) by Terry Pratchett, 1994”

Book review: Call for the Dead by John le Carre, 1961

Call for the Dead is the first novel in which George Smiley appears, which of course is the right order in which to read a novel series, not jumping straight in with the last one as I carelessly did recently. The novel opens with the suicide of civil servant Samuel Fennan following a routine security check,Continue reading “Book review: Call for the Dead by John le Carre, 1961”

Book review: Keep the Aspidistra Flying, by George Orwell, 1936

Gordon Comstock, anti-hero of Keep the Aspidistra Flying, is a failed poet, struggling with a premature mid-life crisis, and what we would now characterise as depression. He expresses his feelings as resentment at demands placed upon him by family and friends, and rages against the need to work for a living. Rejecting a well-paid job in advertising,Continue reading “Book review: Keep the Aspidistra Flying, by George Orwell, 1936”