Category Archives: Classics

Silas Marner

After my terrible experience with The Book That Shall Not Be Named, I wanted a palate-cleanser. What (I said to myself) what better than George Eliot to soothe, to instruct, to delight? So I picked up Silas Marner, and lo, … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 12 Comments

Red Lights

It’s Labor Day weekend in the 1950s, and the highways from New York to Maine are clogged with couples and families heading north. Steve and Nancy Hogan are going to Maine to pick up their children from a summer-long camp. … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Mysteries | 6 Comments

Hill

The Bastides Blanches are just four little houses in Provence, not enough to even qualify as a village. The four households who live in these homes, plus the drifter Gagou, form the community at the heart of Jean Giono’s 1929 … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 15 Comments

The Eustace Diamonds

Poor Lizzie Eustace! Widowed after only a few months of marriage, she’s now left on her own to raise her infant son. And now the lawyers want to take away the diamonds her beloved husband gave her to be her … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 6 Comments

The Moon and Sixpence

This 1919 novel by W. Somerset Maugham is ostensibly a biography in which an unnamed narrator attempts to shed light on the life of the mysterious artist Charles Strickland (a character based on Paul Gauguin). Although he’s stretching the truth when he says, “I … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 2 Comments

A Thousand Miles Up the Nile

Amelia Edwards went to Egypt in the winter of 1873-74. She was already known for her novels and for a much-anthologized story called “The Phantom Coach,” and she intended to write about this trip. But what she saw changed her … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 11 Comments

Half a Lifelong Romance

Shijun, Shuhui, and Manzhen all work in a factory office in Shanghai. Each day, they go to lunch together and Shijun and Manzhen slowly and sweetly come to acknowledge that they are falling in love. Their romance faces a few … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 11 Comments

There Were No Windows

When Claire Temple was young, she was a literary celebrity, was proposed to by Oscar Wilde, was surrounded by friends, and had a lover or two. She was happy. Now, as the Blitz tears London apart, she’s on her own … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 4 Comments

The Old Curiosity Shop

Almost fifteen years ago, I started to read The Old Curiosity Shop. For some reason, I didn’t get on with it, and I never finished reading it. What a mistake! This time, I’ve finished it, and while it will never … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 10 Comments

Carmen and Other Stories

I’ve been waffling for a couple of days about what I want to say about this collection of short stories by 19th-century author Prosper Mérimée (and translated from the French by Nicholas Jotcham). When I think back on the stories, … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 2 Comments