Book review: ‘Of Human Bondage’ by Somerset Maugham, 1915

Customer in hairdressers: “What’s that book you’re reading, love?” Rita: “Somerset Maugham, ‘Of Human Bondage’“. Customer in Hairdressers: [knowingly] “Ohh, my husband’s got loads of books like that.” (Educating Rita (film) 1983) Somerset Maugham isn’t read very widely nowadays, despite having been a central figure in English writing for a large chunk of the twentiethContinue reading “Book review: ‘Of Human Bondage’ by Somerset Maugham, 1915”

Book review: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood, 1964

‘A Single Man’ is a portrait of a single day in the life of George, a lonely, late middle-aged Englishman living in Santa Monica and teaching at a university in LA. George is gay. Thus far, thus autobiographical. George has in the recent past lost his lover, Jim, in a car accident, and is slowlyContinue reading “Book review: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood, 1964”

Book review: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, 1891

I know I don’t normally write about the publication history of the books I review, but the background to this one is more complex than usual, and quite relevant. It was published in full in Lippincott’s Monthly magazine in 1890 (in a significantly shorter version than the final novel). Wilde predicted “I think it willContinue reading “Book review: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, 1891”

Book review: The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

Continuing in my attempt to catch up with the best part of a life time of not reading Booker prize winners, I recently finished, not without a fair amount of persistence, Alan Hollinghurst’s “The Line of Beauty”. Hollinghurst is a slow writer – he has only written half a dozen novels in total – andContinue reading “Book review: The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst”