My book club encourages me to read books which I would not normally choose. This is a good thing in itself because it broadens my experiences. By nature, I am a classicist and enjoy Victorian and Edwardian literature simply because it has style and excellent characterisation. And because I am a literary snob. Continue reading
One of the most thought-provoking books that I have ever read is Lionel Shriver’s “We need to talk about Kevin”. I can’t imagine that fifty years ago it would have dared to be published, let alone win the Orange Prize for Literature.
So it’s a credit to today’s more candid society that Shriver could have written a book about a parent-child relationship that isn’t total bliss. Whilst the novel is described as taboo-breaking, gutsy and startling, which means that most people would have had some reservations about the theme of not really liking one’s child, the author has excused herself to some extent by making her child a sort of Damien Omen character and that is a kind of cop-out, in my opinion. Continue reading
There are some writers whose work is timeless, but Ernest Hemingway’s writing was so contemporary to the first half of the Twentieth Century, that its main relevance is in its depiction of events around World War I and the period between the Wars.
Apart from “The Old Man and the Sea” for which Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, his work seems to be extremely journalistic rather than literary. He was proud of that style and was praised for it, but I find it unimaginative, especially in the dialogue sections.
Perhaps it’s because I can’t relate to Hemingway’s pseudo macho personality which could be the result of his mother insisting on calling him “Ernestine”. Reminds of the Johnny Cash song, “A boy named Sue.” Poor Ernie spent his entire life trying to prove he wasn’t Ernestine. Continue reading
Isn’t it intriguing that after reading an entire novel based on the life of Henry James one is left wondering what it was all about. That was my reaction to Colm Toibin’s, “The Master”.
Had it not been for my deep admiration of James’ work and had it not been for the fact that Toibin’s book was to be discussed by our book club, I doubt that I would have persevered with it.
I have purposely not read any reviews of “The Master” so that I can offer my gut reaction. Continue reading