Author Archives: Jenny


Austerlitz is the second novel I’ve read by W. G. Sebald. Like The Emigrants, it’s difficult to write about, partly because the genre is difficult to pin down. Is it documentary or fiction? Is it about architecture or is it … Continue reading

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The Brandons

This is the sixth of Angela Thirkell’s Barsetshire books, and it is just possible that it’s the most charming one yet. The novel centers around the unbelievably alluring (if rather scatterbrained) Mrs. Brandon and her two sensible children, Francis and … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 9 Comments

Always a Body to Trade

It was very interesting to read K.C. Constantine’s sixth installment of the Mario Balzic series of mysteries, Always a Body to Trade. It was written in 1983 — more than 30 years ag0 — and it takes place in Rocksburg, … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Boy, Snow, Bird

There are lots of authors who like to turn to fairy tales and folklore for their inspiration, but none of them (that I know of, anyway) are quite like Helen Oyeyemi. In White is for Witching, in Icarus Girl, in … Continue reading

Posted in Speculative Fiction | 8 Comments

The Pursuit of Alice Thrift

This is the story of an unbalanced romance. It is the story of a fudge salesman (and maybe a con man — we’re not sure) doggedly pursuing a surgeon, for no reason she (or we, at first) can see. When … Continue reading

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The Home and the World

This 1916 novel, originally written in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, is a terrific example of what happens when individual lives and the life of a nation meet. Sometimes books like this can be lumpen allegories, where the author keeps hitting … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 5 Comments

The Brutal Telling

This is the fifth in Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series of crime novels, most of which take place in the small, secluded Quebecois village of Three Pines. I read the fourth novel, A Rule Against Murder, just a few months … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries | 4 Comments

How to be both

This lovely, dual-narrative novel by Ali Smith twines around itself like a double helix (and, in case you didn’t notice it, part of the novel takes place in Cambridge, England, where “DNA history had been made.”) In the first part … Continue reading

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Lord Jim

It’s been quite some time since I’ve read anything by Joseph Conrad. Years ago — just after college — I read Heart of Darkness and The Secret Agent, both of which I liked very much both for their gripping plot … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 9 Comments


Okay, so: it’s been a hard, sad summer for me in a number of respects, and so I decided to read Greensleeves, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, on the long-ago recommendation (2008, when I had just begun to blog!) of Other Jenny. … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 12 Comments