Category: Literary Fiction Reviews

A review of Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara

The theme that unknown and uncontrollable forces beyond and within oneself determine one’s fate is typical of the “naturalist” school of writers. Among the famous naturalist writers are Emile Zola, Thomas Hardy and Jack London, who show people as biological entities who respond to environmental forces and internal stresses that they do not fully understand and cannot control. O’Hara differs from these earlier naturalist novelists in that he lacks their social conscience, and focuses upon the wealthy, rather than the poor, but his “naturalism” is demonstrated by his blunt style and frank, brutal depiction of human interactions.

A review of Recapture by Erica Olsen

Because of her curation work for archaeology museums, many of her tales feature the study of archaeology although many tend to feature the tedious nature of cleaning artifacts rather than the careful study of a site.

A review of Imaginings: Selected Stories by Dean Warren

Overall, this collection of short stories is quite imaginative and explores many different scientific areas of interest. The stories play with the effect on humanity. They explore changes to our bodies, minds, civilization, relationships and offer looks at different cultures.

A review of Whitstable by Stephen Volk

There’s so much more in this novella, which has the depth and characterization of a novel. As a story it really finishes before the end, but aficionados of Cushing’s films, including Stephen Volk, and I, clearly didn’t want to stop.

A review of Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara

Too many novels depict a woman in the arts accepting limited or no success in her field, because she has given herself up to romance, child-rearing or an unproductive bohemian lifestyle. It is refreshing that Dez escapes these fates.

A review of Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone

Silvia Avallone tells her story from multiple viewpoints, allowing us inside the hearts and minds of all of her main characters, most often Anna. By being non-judgmental and descriptive in presenting her characters, she allows us to share their hopes and feel their pain even while disapproving of their behaviour.

A review of Feydeau, First to Last by Georges Feydeau

To many, the plays will evoke the world of Fawlty Towers; and it should come as no surprise, therefore, to learn that John Cleese has often expressed his admiration for Feydeau. It is interesting in this regard to look at Les Paves de l’ours from 1896, a play wherein an upper-class bachelor employs a country bumpkin as a man-servant, believing him to be ‘a diamond in the rough’.

A review of Peace, Love and Khaki Socks by Kim Lock

The novel’s strength is the very personal journey the reader takes alongside Amy as she weighs up conventional First World medical procedures with the almost Cavewoman-style natural homebirthing. It is a suspenseful ride with her as she battles conventions, the expectations of others as well as a category three tropical cyclone to boot.

A review of The Book by Jessica Bell

The Book reads very quickly. This is not just because it’s only 154 pages of reasonably spaced text, but also because Bonnie’s voice drives the story along as we try to understand, from her perspective, the multiple relationships that surround her…