Articles about novels

Making Money – Terry Pratchett

Brilliant. This book took me some time to finish: many times I found myself re-reading sentences just because they were so clever and funny. I had several chuckles on each page, to the amusement of my family.

Continue reading
This review is about , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment

The Night of All Souls – Philippa Swan

Several different narratives, two interwoven tales of deception and intrigue, and a few good tips on landscape architecture. Maybe overcooked in parts but overall a fun read.

Continue reading
This review is about , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment

Human Croquet – Kate Atkinson

Book cover of Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson

This story has a dizzying start: it takes “begin at the beginning” to the extreme, and starts off at the Big Bang with an apparently omniscient narrator. Soon it settles down into a family saga where the narrative moves between a present and various times in the past. The characters are lively and well-drawn but mostly pretty stereotyped. And there is a good amount of mysterious goings-on and dramatic irony.

Continue reading
This review is about , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment

Pond – Claire-Louise Bennett

“I only wish you could just spend five minutes beneath my skin and feel what it’s like. Feel the savage swarming magic I feel.”

Continue reading
This review is about , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment

Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter — Mario Vargas Llosa

La Habanera dances in the streets
And like every night
Pedro Comacho sells peanuts
Outside the Tropicana Club

Continue reading
This review is about , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment

No One Is Talking About This — Patricia Lockwood

No One is Talking About This

The first half of the book is dizzying — stupid — hilarious — it’s a series of seemingly random impressions, vignettes, observations and ideas of a narrator who is an Internet celebrity and is steeped in Internet culture.

Continue reading
This review is about , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment

Lolita — Vladimir Nabokov

Book cover: The Annotated Lolita. This is a boring clip art image since I read an ebook and so have no nice photo of my own.

This is the fictional autobiography of one Humbert Humbert, written in his jail cell near the end of his life. He is very erudite and quite engaging despite being unhealthily obsessed with young girls. He falls in love with the title character (his landlady’s young daughter) and ends up taking her on an extended road trip across the USA. They purport to be father and daughter but are actually lovers. At the beginning Lolita seems reasonably willing to go along with everything, but Humbert gradually reveals how controlling he is and how unhappy Lolita really is. He slowly loses his grip and eventually loses Lolita, and commits the crime that finally lands him in jail. The writing throughout is clever, inventive and endlessly rewarding to read, despite the bleak and tawdry subject matter.

Continue reading
This review is about , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment

Rain — Kirsty Gunn

Did you ever read a book or watch a film where you could just tell that something awful was going to happen? You dreaded the turn of every page in anticipation of the imminent horror. And yet you just had to keep reading, to find out what actually happens.

Continue reading
This review is about , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment

Replay – Ken Grimwood

I do love a good time-travel story. A middle-aged man has a heart attack and dies – and then wakes up again as a young man back in his college days. Once he figures out what has happened, he sets about figuring out how to deal with it. He’s got an amazing opportunity to replay his life, fixing all the mistakes and maybe becoming rich too. (If it happened to me I would definitely be buying quite a lot of Bitcoin.)

Continue reading
This review is about , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment

Wittgenstein’s Mistress — David Markson

This book is a diary written by the last person on earth. It’s not initially clear what happened to everyone else, but we find out that she has been alone for some years, travelling around in abandoned cars and living in various interesting abandoned buildings (such as museums). It becomes clear that she is becoming a bit unhinged; understandable in her circumstances. To me this book reads like a study in memory, regret and self-deception, though that makes it sound a bit grim; there is a fair bit of humour in this book. The overall tone is reminiscent of Markson’s This is Not a Novel. Wittgenstein’s Mistress is more conventional, but that wouldn’t be hard: it’s still a strange, amusing and unsettling read.

This review is about , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment