Category Archives: Fiction

The Translator

Just in the nick of time, I’ve finished the last of the five books Jenny selected for me to read in 2014. I enjoyed this book by John Crowley very much, but I’m at a bit of a loss as … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction | 5 Comments

Terrible, Horrible Edie

This book is the third in E.C. Spykman’s astonishingly good series of books about the Cares family. The first two (A Lemon and a Star and The Wild Angel) were so good I was absolutely indignant that I’d never heard of … Continue reading

Posted in Children's / YA Lit, Fiction | Leave a comment

The Ordinary Princess

In the foreword to this book, author M. M. Kaye recalls reading the Andrew Lang fairy books, which included fairy tales from all over the world, and noticing that the stories were populated with beautiful princesses. She wondered what the … Continue reading

Posted in Children's / YA Lit, Fiction | 6 Comments

A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing

Whenever I read a book written in an unconventional style, I ask myself what the style contributes to the story. Is it just there to make the book seem avant-garde or to dazzle readers into assuming a book is ingenious … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 12 Comments

Girl Meets Boy

I am generally a complete sucker for retellings of myths and fairy tales. I like them even when they’re not very good — I love watching what bits people leave out, and what bits they add, and what they think … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 6 Comments

A Teeny Tiny Review of Little Face by Sophie Hannah

Baby is swapped and the grandma’s a loser, Mother is mad and the dad’s an abuser, Who can be pulling these marionette strings? These are a few of the Little Face things.   Dysfunction rules though the baby is tiny, … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries | 15 Comments

The Feast of the Goat

When Herod the King heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (Matthew 2:3) The dictator novel is a Latin American genre that examines the role of a dictator, or caudillo (political strongman.) This can be a historical … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction | 4 Comments

Desperate Remedies

I sometimes wonder what the proportion of really good to mediocre novels was in the past. Today, it seems like most novels published are middling, good enough for few hours’ entertainment but mostly forgettable. I suspect that’s always been true, … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 18 Comments

Still Life

My friend Laura has been recommending Louise Penny’s series of mysteries to me for some time. She thought I’d enjoy them for a variety of reasons — the writing, the thoughtfulness, and even the lovely setting near Montreal. When I … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries | 18 Comments


“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 16 Comments