Monthly Archives: August 2010

Louis Couperus, “Eline Vere”

Ever heard of Louis Couperus? Me neither. But it turns out he’s THE naturalist writer of 19th-century Holland — their answer to Flaubert, perhaps, or Tolstoy. Which makes Eline Vere the Dutch version of Madame Bovary or possibly Anna Karenina. … Continue reading

Posted in classic | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Nancy Mitford, “Wigs on the Green”

I was recently thrilled to discover a long-lost Stella Gibbons novel, Nightingale Wood, which has just been republished by Penguin. Perhaps encouraged by that delight, I leapt on the handsome new Vintage paperback of Nancy Mitford’s long-out-of-print Wigs on the … Continue reading

Posted in anglophilia | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Stella Gibbons, “Nightingale Wood”

Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm was a fixture of my youth, a book everyone in the family read over and over again, though it was years before I understood it to be a satire. (Yes, sadly, I was a child … Continue reading

Posted in anglophilia, classic, funny | Tagged | 3 Comments

Barbara Pym, “Jane and Prudence”

Barbara Pym’s novels were republished in a handsome uniform edition in the early 1980s and I bought them all. They’ve survived thirty years of bookshelf purges but I hadn’t read one again until now, and I found it really delightful. … Continue reading

Posted in anglophilia, classic, funny | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Kay Redfield Jamison, “An Unquiet Mind”

Toward the end of An Unquiet Mind, Kay Redfield Jamison attempts to look back on her story of a life with manic-depressive disease, and to sum up. She has already been eloquent about the damage done to herself and others … Continue reading

Posted in nonfiction | Tagged | Leave a comment

Allegra Goodman, “The Cookbook Collector”

I am baffled by Allegra Goodman’s The Cookbook Collector, and I think the issue is one of expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pleasant read, the story of two dissimilar sisters in Northern California at the turn of the … Continue reading

Posted in contemporary fiction | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Louis Sachar, “The Cardturner”

I dimly remembered liking Louis Sachar’s Holes, probably read when one of my sons was a pre-teen. Might even have seen the movie with Shia LaBeouf. And I like bridge. My mother-in-law has tried again and again to teach me … Continue reading

Posted in Young Adult | Tagged | Leave a comment

Fred Vargas, “Dans les bois eternels” or “This Night’s Foul Work”

Authors of murder mysteries have to keep a lot of balls in the air, and I’ve complained frequently here about disappointments in the genre. Dans les bois éternels (translated as This Night’s Foul Work) is not one of them. Once … Continue reading

Posted in French | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Lily King, “Father of the Rain”

So why am I lying in bed with at midnight with the lights out and tears streaming down my face, when I’m normally sound asleep at 10 p.m.? Because I couldn’t disentangle myself from Lily King’s Father of the Rain. … Continue reading

Posted in contemporary fiction | 2 Comments