Book review: In a German Pension, by Katherine Mansfield, 1911

In a German Pension joins that small subset of books that the author didn’t want to see republished. It was Katherine Mansfield’s first published collection, although most of the stories had been previously published in various magazines. Because of the war and problems with the publisher (it went into liquidation) the book was quickly forgotten, and whenContinue reading “Book review: In a German Pension, by Katherine Mansfield, 1911”

Book review: The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood, 2000

The structure of this novel is fascinating. The principal thread holding it together is a first person narration by the novel’s central character, Iris Chase. In her old age she writes a memoir for her grand-daughter. Her narrative recalls memories of her childhood and the early years of her unhappy marriage to a Toronto businessman,Continue reading “Book review: The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood, 2000”

Supplemental: A closer look at Alec D’Urberville

I wanted to take a closer look at the portrait of Alec D’Urberville in Thomas Hardy’s Tess. Alec is an archetypal rogue of fiction, one in a long line of roues that can be traced back to Robert Lovelace in Richardson’s Clarissa and beyond. These men are always attractive, but dangerous and amoral. Alec isContinue reading “Supplemental: A closer look at Alec D’Urberville”

Book review: Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, 1891

I am not sure why my feelings towards the novels of Thomas Hardy are so ambivalent. It could be the fairly turgid poetry I was force-fed at school, dating from the period of his life when he gave up writing novels (apparently because of the hostile popular reaction to Tess and 1895’s Jude the Obscure).Continue reading “Book review: Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, 1891”