Emmeline, by Charlotte Smith (Walmer Classics, 978-0-6457519-0-1 paperback) A novel with the title Emmeline: The Orphan of the Castle, published in 1787, immediately suggests that the narrative will deal with a spirited and noble heroine, whose virtue will be threatened by a villainous admirer. The heroine will have a champion who will rescue her from… Continue reading Review: Emmeline
Blimey, it’s 2023! Last time I looked, it was 2017! I remember as a boy trying to work out how old I would be when the millennium came to its close. It seemed impossibly far distant, and my age in the year 2000 impossibly old. And yet, here we are.I’m currently revamping this site, and… Continue reading Now, where were we?
Brexit is at the centre, both literally and metaphorically, of Jonathan Coe’s latest novel. The title hints at the territory it covers: geographical, since much of the action takes place in the English midlands; social, since many, but by no means all, of the characters are comfortably-off middle class; and psychological, since the sympathetic characters… Continue reading Jonathan Coe, Middle England
Piers Paul Read is something of an oddity in contemporary English fiction, in that he is probably best known for his non-fiction work, most notably Alive, the 1975 account of the aftermath of the Andes plane crash. His other non-fiction has varied between other chronicles of disaster, such as Ablaze, about the Chernobyl nuclear reactor… Continue reading Piers Paul Read: A Patriot in Berlin
As my dear reader will know, Anthony Burgess is a constant presence in my life, so it was a pleasure to provide this little guide to some of my favourites among his works for the latest Shiny New Books. As ever, Shiny has lots to offer the discerning reader. The photo is of me spouting… Continue reading Reading Burgess
This is the fourth in David Hewson‘s series featuring Amsterdam-based detective Pieter Vos, and old fans will not be disappointed. In this complex, and swift-moving narrative, Vos is personally involved in a case involving the abduction of a young woman, in circumstances which recall another case from some years before. Vos is troubled by the… Continue reading David Hewson: Sleep Baby Sleep
As a Mancunian, for me one of the immediate delights of this novel by Neil Campbell is the authenticity of the detail. The topography of the city, its street names, pubs and landmarks are all chronicled faithfully, so that you can trace the physical wanderings of the protagonist as he makes his picaresque way from… Continue reading Neil Campbell: Sky Hooks