Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of Kate Grenville’s The Idea of Perfection

In the tentative groping of the characters for meaning, the articulation of silence, Grenville creates a story which is a pleasure to read. Reviewed by Magdalena Ball Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s most accessible writers. She has her own…

A review of Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin

Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin  “Two and two doesn’t necessarily get you the truth. Two and two equals a voice outside the window. Two and two equals the wind. The living bird is not its labelled bones.” (484) Mathematical reality…

Stendahl’s Charterhouse of Parma: A Review

Charterhouse of Parma (published 1839) is set in Italy, but this is in the early 19th century, before Italy became “Italy”. While a country such as France, with its late-18th-century Revolution, had of course much nationalistic feeling and was a political entity, Italy still retained the medieval character of a host of tiny “principalities” (an area ruled by a Prince) and such. Parma, in northern “Italy”, was one of these mini-countries. When we first meet the Prince of Parma, Stendhal draws a portrait of … well, not what you would expect of royalty.

A review of Hanif Kureishi’s Gabriel’s Gift

 Gabriel’s Gift follows a few months in the life of Gabriel Bunch, a fifteen year old North London schoolboy in search of his muse. Gabriel’s parents have recently split up, and his father, once the bass player for 70s rock…

Anne Tyler, a Nineteenth Century Contemporary

Tyler has brought exceptional skill and variety to an unaccustomed area of literary activity, the world of the best-seller. Her combination of popularity and quality recalls the great novelists of another century. Erudite guest reviewer Bob Williams looks at Tyler’s…

A review of Moses Isegawa’s Abyssinian Chronicles

A boy is raised in the land of despots, where the “curried curses of dispossessed property owners” is not necessary to explode into murderous excess. Between his abusive and tyrannical parents, and the abusive and tyrannical dictator Idi Amin, who…

A review of Matthew Kneale’s English Passengers

In 1857, Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley decides to take his boat, the Sincerity, on a little jaunt from the Isle of Mann, to Maldon. Perhaps he wasn’t really selling salted Herring. However, his little voyage turns into something entirely different,…