Book review: Here I Am, by Jonathan Safran Foer, 2017

As I may have mentioned once or twice, I keep this blog as a record of what I read. If I don’t blog it’s probably because I haven’t been reading, but occasionally there are novels that really challenge my ability to say something interesting. ‘Here I Am’, Jonathan Safran Foer’s third novel, is a caseContinue reading “Book review: Here I Am, by Jonathan Safran Foer, 2017”

Book review: Where my heart used to beat, by Sebastian Faulks, 2015

It wasn’t until I noticed this novel lurking in the Times’s ‘ten best-sellers in paperback’ list last week that I remembered I had read it. Such is the depth of impression it made, and I had to quickly remind myself what it was about – I had a vague memory of the war being involvedContinue reading “Book review: Where my heart used to beat, by Sebastian Faulks, 2015”

Book review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, 2016

For the avoidance of any doubt, this review will almost certainly contain spoilers. Not because I want to ruin anyone’s enjoyment or anticipation of this or any other book, but because this is a review, not a preview, and I can’t effectively self-censor simply to avoid giving away any details of the plot. You haveContinue reading “Book review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, 2016”

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: Time and Time Again by Ben Elton, 2015

Time travelling. Could there be a more tired, worn-out plot line than time travelling? If 50 years of Dr Who hasn’t explored every single crevice and wrinkle of the multiverse, Ben Elton decided to give it a go. And for 95% of the book he very nearly gets away with it. Hugh Stanton, ex-special forces,Continue reading “Book review: Time and Time Again by Ben Elton, 2015”

Book review: The Understudy by David Nicholls

Sometimes novels don’t quite work. They really ought to, but at the end you are left with a vague feeling that the author missed an opportunity to write an entertaining, satisfying relationship novel, and instead wrote three quarters of one. This was Nicholls’ second book after ‘Starter for Ten’, which has a single white youngContinue reading “Book review: The Understudy by David Nicholls”

Book review: Wonder, by R.J.Palacio, 2012

‘Wonder’ is an American children’s novel about August “Auggie” Pullman, and 11-year-old living in Manhattan. Auggie has a rare medical condition giving him a severe facial deformity. Until now, Auggie has been home-schooled by his mother, but the book opens at the point his parents decide to enrol him in a private school. It chartsContinue reading “Book review: Wonder, by R.J.Palacio, 2012”

Book review: The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey, 2000

By coincidence, following on from my previous review of ‘In Cold Blood’, this is another novelisation of factual events. More specifically, this novel is (effectively) a biography of Ned Kelly, the famous Australian outlaw, written in the first person using Kelly’s own distinctive personal style. Kelly was a first generation Australian, son of transported IrishContinue reading “Book review: The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey, 2000”

Book review: The Shepherd’s Crown (Discworld 41), Terry Pratchett. 2015

Sadly, ‘The Shepherd’s Crown’ will be the last Discworld novel*. I had in my head drafted a response to the critics who claimed that the impact of Terry’s illness can be traced in the overall quality of this novel. The problem with that way of reading the novel is that once you start to lookContinue reading “Book review: The Shepherd’s Crown (Discworld 41), Terry Pratchett. 2015”

Supplementary: The Shadow of the Wind (2) – a note about some translation issues.

  Occasionally when reading this novel I came across a few phrases that jarred, and sounded unnatural. I appreciate that translating is a very difficult process, capturing not just the sense of the original but the poetry, the complexity, and the idiomatic phrasing. I also recognise that any awkwardness of phrasing could be deliberate, toContinue reading “Supplementary: The Shadow of the Wind (2) – a note about some translation issues.”