Victorian photography exhibition in London. Wish I could go see it!
Category Archives: Review
Recently, I became a reviewer for the Historical Novel Society. Here are my two most recent reviews (formulated according to the guidelines of the Historical Novel Society):
A Rip in the Veil by Anna Belfrage
Through Glass Eyes by Margaret Muir
Previous reviews included:
Martha’s Girls by Arlene Hughes
(the links take you to the Historical Novel Society website)
I find historical fiction fascinating, and so varied. I do have a preference for alternative history, or very vivid narratives where as a reader I really can forget myself and experience the period I’m reading about. I also find interesting that many equals historical fictions with romance. In my experience, not necessarily, and not only.
A longer absence than expected, my apologies.
Another review by the lovely C. Psycogeography is fascinating and there will be more of it in this blog as soon as possible. Enjoy 🙂
…Scarp by Nick Papadimitriou
I saw Nick at the Edinburgh Book Festival and it was the link to psychogeography – and the presence of Will Self as the chair – that convinced me to attend his event. Nick is an unassuming, ordinary looking chap. The kind of chap who might be in front of you ordering coffee, the kind of chap who might pick up your discarded newspaper to read on the bus. Except it would seem Nick rarely uses the bus or any other form of transport other than his legs.
Although I have only started Scarp, Nick’s reportage of what he thinks and what he feels is honest and far-reaching, even though it comes in the thinnest wrapping of personal context. Reading, I felt a renewed sense of confidence of how to locate myself in my own scarp. I suddenly felt my flights of fancy – not just…
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Just finished reading “The Manual of Detection”, by Jedediah Berry.
Quote: “The diagram was a fairytale, written by a forgetful old man with wild white hair, and it whirled like a record on a phonograph.”
The story has a well thought-out, solid structure, the chapters’ of the book mirroring the chapters of the Manual in the book (yay metafiction), and a vivid juxtaposition of the circus as a metaphore of chaos and dreamland vs. order and ‘detection’, yin and yang needing each other for everyone’s safe living. Beautiful, imaginative dialogue and use of black umbrellas here and there. But it failed me completely on the characters:( in as much as they are functional, I didn’t feel any symphaty or empathy, for any of them. They fit nicely in the plot they serve, they have motivation…but I wanted to fall for them, and didn’t, not even a little crush 😦
Absolutely a book to read, anyway.
I finished reading Cloud Atlas.
Alas, all good things must end (who said that, by the way? I keep protesting. No reason why good things must end: once you eat the last slice of the cake, you can make or buy another one. Can buy the ingredients, can save to buy them. All to say, your intent and persistence can make good things last.)
I am not head over heels with it anymore, sadly.
Oh, I think it’s brilliant in many ways, cleverly thought out and skillfully built, as explicitly mentioned in the book, Matrioska-style. I love the expression ‘an atlas of cloud’, love the crescendo of the whole structure, the historical progression, the way in which each story is linked to the next, the mastery of language and narrative voices, the moral of the story…but once it reaches the climax, the going back feels more like being shown the secrets behind a magic show, like clever editing of several stories into one another (but we know already where it’s going). It is, somewhat, anticlimatic.
On to the next read.