Category Archives: Fiction

The Man Who Liked Slow Tomatoes

Am I convincing any of you to read these K.C. Constantine mysteries yet? This is the fifth of them I’ve read (and the third in fairly quick succession — I feel like a bit of a glutton), and I am … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries | 4 Comments

The Whites

Just as I was getting started on The Whites by Richard Price (writing as Harry Brandt), I saw that the readers in the Tournament of Books group on Goodreads were mostly unimpressed with it, and my interest in it flagged a bit. I’m … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries | 7 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

Pomfret Towers

This is the fifth in Angela Thirkell’s delightful series of Barsetshire novels, and it is just as much of a delicious petit four as the rest of them so far. In this one, Alice Barton, a painfully-shy young woman who dabbles … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 13 Comments

The Tsar of Love and Techno

Anthony Marra’s exploration of (mostly) 20th-century Russia with the story of a painter charged with editing paintings, removing objectionable figures or adding important ones. His work spreads across Russia, and one painting in particular haunts Marra’s characters. It’s not much to … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 8 Comments

Fools Crow

Fools Crow is a deeply engaging historical novel by James Welch, following the lives of the Pikuni (Blackfeet) in the early 1870s in Montana. The main character is a young man named White Man’s Dog, but after a few brave and … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction | 10 Comments


Oh my goodness, Connie Willis knows how to make me laugh. To Say Nothing of the Dog is among the funniest books I’ve ever read, and Belwether is awfully funny, too. It also has me thinking about how we define science fiction. You … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 20 Comments

The Dinner

Two sets of parents have decided to meet at a high-end restaurant in Amsterdam in order to discuss a terrible crime committed by their children, and what their next steps should be: Serge and Babette; Paul and Claire. This, at … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 12 Comments

Unexplained Laughter

I’ve read several of Alice Thomas Ellis’s books now, and I always leave them thinking how good they are, but also how unsettling. Her books are comedies of manners, but they are also severe considerations of morals and conscience, through … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 6 Comments

A Fix Like This

I’m slowly reading through the mysteries of K.C. Constantine, an author I stumbled across because his most recent (possibly last?) mystery, Grievance (2000), was recommended by Michael Dirda. I started at the beginning of the series, and was surprised at … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries | 2 Comments