Supplementary: The Day of the Triffids – a closer look at murder/suicide

Yesterday’s post on ‘The Day of the Triffids’ was getting overly long, and I wanted to spend some time looking more closely at the scene below from chapter 5, ‘A Light in the Night’. I think it demonstrates Wyndham’s “less is more” technique. it also provides a further perspective on the question of how toContinue reading “Supplementary: The Day of the Triffids – a closer look at murder/suicide”

Book review: Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, 1953

As you know, I have been reading a lot of pre-war novels recently. Even in those published more recently, in the 50’s and 60’s, the use of offensive terms to describe black and ethnic minority people and others is common place. Quite often the terms are used casually, not actively intended to offend but asContinue reading “Book review: Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, 1953”

Book review: Ulysses, by James Joyce, 1922

“Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.” ‘Ulysses’ was a hard read, 933 pages of complex, allusive text, full of echoes, references, challenges and puzzles. Reading this novel passively, without paying full attention, isContinue reading “Book review: Ulysses, by James Joyce, 1922”

Book review: The Siege of Krishnapur, by J G Farrell, 1973

I found myself becoming increasingly troubled by J G Farrell’s Booker prize winning ‘The Siege of Krishnapur’. It is not a bad novel, but it has some serious flaws. It is based on the Indian Mutiny of 1857/8. In India this conflict is known as the Indian rebellion, but you would not know that fromContinue reading “Book review: The Siege of Krishnapur, by J G Farrell, 1973”

Supplementary: “A cartload of apes and ivory” – Rebecca West on ‘The Golden Bowl’

‘The Golden Bowl’ certainly divides opinion. Reading some online reviews I came across a wonderful demolition of the novel by the awesome Rebecca West. I make no apologies for quoting at length from her analysis – West never pulls her punches and has a magnificent turn of phrase. She opens by calling the novel “anContinue reading “Supplementary: “A cartload of apes and ivory” – Rebecca West on ‘The Golden Bowl’”

Book review: Unreadable novels, with specific reference to ‘The Golden Bowl’ by Henry James, 1904

What makes a novel unreadable? We all have our own breaking points – I may have just have found mine. This post explores the features of ‘The Golden Bowl’ that are making it, for me, almost unreadable. Sentence structure “He found it convenient, oddly, even for his relation with himself—though not unmindful that there mightContinue reading “Book review: Unreadable novels, with specific reference to ‘The Golden Bowl’ by Henry James, 1904”

Book review: 1919, by John Dos Passos, 1932

‘1919’ is the second book in Dos Passos’s ‘USA’ trilogy. Which immediately begs the question, why read only the middle book in a trilogy? You wouldn’t read only ‘The Two Towers’, would you? I think there are several reasons why I am going to resist the temptation to read the rest of ‘USA’. Firstly, ‘1919’Continue reading “Book review: 1919, by John Dos Passos, 1932”

Book review: Glory by Vladimir Nabokov, 1932

This semi-autobiographical early novel was written in the early 1930’s, but only translated into English in 1971, when Nabokov’s reputation as an author was secure. It did little to enhance it. ‘Glory’ follows the childhood and early life of Nabokov’s romantic protagonist, Martin Edelweiss, who escapes from the bloodshed of revolutionary Switzerland and thenceContinue reading “Book review: Glory by Vladimir Nabokov, 1932”

Book review: As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner, 1930

William Faulkner’s ‘As I Lay Dying’ tells the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her last journey to her hometown, Jefferson, Mississippi. The novel opens with the dying Addie watching her son Cash construct her coffin. The ominous sounds of his carpentry echo around the house, forming an aural backdrop to the family’sContinue reading “Book review: As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner, 1930”

Book review: Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys, 1966

“There is always another side, always.” As you may know, Jean Rhys’s ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ tells the story from ‘Jane Eyre’ of Mr Rochester’s first wife, the ‘mad woman in the attic’, Bertha Mason. The idea of giving a voice to a relatively minor character from a classic work of literature may not have beenContinue reading “Book review: Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys, 1966”