Category Archives: Classics

Quicksand and Passing

These two novellas by Nella Larsen are concerned with questions of identity. How do we find our identity? How does society inform our identity? And how do we break free when we don’t care for society’s definitions? In particular, the … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 8 Comments

The Way We Live Now (part 2)

My first post on The Way We Live Now was about possessions, in the broadest possible sense. Trollope examines, and satirizes, the way we live now (and indeed the way we live now is not very different) as a time … Continue reading

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The Way We Live Now (part 1)

If I told you I’d just read a brawling, sprawling, money-grubbing, dog-eat-dog indictment of society’s financial and moral systems, what would you think I was talking about? If you said, “Something by Christopher Reich or Scott Turow,” you’re in the … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 12 Comments

Some Prefer Nettles

A word of advice to people who write copy for back covers of books. Think carefully before you discuss events that occur in the last third or so of the book. I’m not a reader who minds spoilers, and some … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 8 Comments

The Tiger in the Smoke

I think I’ve reached the apex of Margery Allingham’s series of novels about detective/adventurer Albert Campion. Published in 1952, the 14th Campion novel, The Tiger in the Smoke, brings us a Campion who is a husband and a father. He … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Mysteries | 16 Comments

The Home and the World

As a young bride, Bimala took pleasure in “taking the dust” of her husband’s feet each morning as an act of reverence, believing that her woman’s heart “must worship in order to love.” But her husband, Nikhil, didn’t want her … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 18 Comments

The Dark Child

One of the most striking things about this 1953 autobiographical novel written by Guinean author Camara Laye is how familiar it feels. I know nothing about French Guinea, where Laye grew up, but this book is not so much about … Continue reading

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No Name

Mr. Vanstone’s daughters are Nobody’s Children, and the law leaves them helpless at their uncle’s mercy. With these words, the lawyer handling the estate of Mr. Andrew Vanstone sums up the situation faced by Norah and Magdalen Vanstone, and this … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 10 Comments

Jamaica Inn

It was a dark and rainy day when I settled down to read Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier, perfect weather for this romantic thriller about an orphan, a drunken innkeeper, a horse thief, and an attentive albino vicar. When … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Mysteries | 28 Comments

More Work for the Undertaker

A shabbily dressed woman sits on a park bench on fine afternoons doing crossword puzzles in Latin or reading a book. Another women from a nearby neighborhood walks by and slips her a little money, money the shabbily dressed woman … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Mysteries | 7 Comments