The Well Deceived is a magnificently realized novel full of wonderful invention and wicked characterizations. From its steam-powered motor vehicles to its urban squalor, it seldom ceases to enthrall and amuse and bewilder. It is angry and sad, refusing to accept defeat although defeat is assured.
Civil War is not for those who want a detailed account of the Civil war period specifically; it is particularly void of military detail, but offers an insightful and vivid narrative of the whole of 17th century England that retains the period’s intricacy and complexity. While Ackroyd’s style is to make the civil war period seem rather like a series of accidents, common themes emerge that still influence our culture today.
Smallwood’s collection of finely honed, detail filled verses spring from the page as though borne on wings to fill the air, the room, the location with perfume for the eyes. I enjoyed reading these verses, some more than once, others a quick passage with scant time to savor the message before rushing on to the next just to see what was there.
Naturally Lorena is subjective, althought historians have written that Franklin’s affability and charm hid a selfish, determined core. One must remember that he was coping with a disability and deteriorating health while pulling his country out of a depression, then leading it through a world war. As Doris Kearns Goodwin shows in her non-fiction work, No Ordinary Time, Eleanor played a vital role during these national crises.
In clear, often compelling prose, Stephanie Laterza’s debut novel, The Boulevard Trial, offers us a contemporary story of moral dilemmas, confused intentions and missed connections that frequently result in disappointing resolutions and, at times, even tragic consequences. The traumas of the novel’s characters bleed into their ongoing personal experiences like an unchecked, gaping wound.
If anything is consistent throughout Jampole’s work, it is its semiotic density. Cubist States of Mind/Not the Cruelest Month can feel like a lightning-quick read from cover-to-cover-to-cover, but begs to be re-read. The moment one closes the book, one has the peculiar sensation of having read it years ago, its contents so intricately layered that memory alone can only render the broad strokes.
Kalman’s courage in tackling difficult subjects (unplanned pregnancy, psoriasis, adultery, anorexia, autism, depression and death) her gift for language, and her understanding of human nature make Tiny Feet Dancing a book to keep and reread.
Broken Ground is a wonderful collection, deeply rooted in the natural world: in stone, eucalypt, “mounds of spinifex”, and above all, in an exploration of how life is created though language, recollection, in the precision of our natural world, and above all in the connections that we build over the short space of our lives.
Trams. Cats. Circles. We are immediately alerted by these allusions to Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita (1966) that we should expect the unexpected in Black Queen White City, an ambitious novel that aspires to paint its own universe (no less) by means of framing devices, parallel worlds and an eccentric cast of characters that includes the white city of Zagreb itself, where the author was born.
In Exile from Petersburg takes you right into the life of a high calibre intellectual named Abram Saulovich Kagan and is set within the turbulent times of early 20th century Europe. His son Anatol Abramovich Kagan contributed to this informative biographical account, he also happened to be the father-in-law of the book’s editor, Michael Atherton. This book is well presented in an easy to read and informative style.