Category Archives: literary fiction

Elisabeth De Waal, “The Exiles Return”

Edmund De Waal’s 2010 family memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes is one of my all-time favorite books, and it’s been a huge publishing success. De Waal is primarily a ceramicist (whose work is really lovely), but The Hare is … Continue reading

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Rose Macaulay, “The Towers of Trebizond”

Some books are just really insistent. I’ve owned three copies of The Towers of Trebizond. The first was my mother’s; she was much given to quoting the famous opening line: “Take my camel, dear,” said my aunt Dot, as she … Continue reading

Posted in anglophilia, classic, funny, literary fiction | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Colum McCann, “TransAtlantic”

Once again I’m struck by how I’m reading as well as what I’m reading. Game of Thrones fans won’t be surprised to know that I’m well into the second book of that series — but I interrupted the Westeros action with … Continue reading

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Penelope Lively, “Moon Tiger”

Yes. Yes, I agree with all of you who have recommended Moon Tiger. Wonderful as Penelope Lively always is, this is probably her best book to date. (It won the Booker Prize in 1987.) I actually considered going right back … Continue reading

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Jane Gardam, “Crusoe’s Daughter”

There are a lot of books on the market that are more or less interchangeable,  and I read ’em and like ’em. But then there’s Jane Gardam, whose work sounds so conventional. Crusoe’s Daughter, for instance, is about a woman … Continue reading

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John Galsworthy, “The Man of Property”

I spent almost as much time with The Man of Property as I did with Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants, which is three times as long, and the reading experience was strangely inverse in nature. Follett’s book spans over 20 years … Continue reading

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Edith Wharton, “Old New York”

When I was talking to Pat Ryan of the New York Times about this wonderful piece in that newspaper (commemorating Mrs. Wharton’s 150th birthday on January 24), I remembered Wharton’s marvelous series of novellas called Old New York, and realized I … Continue reading

Posted in classic, literary fiction, Victoriana | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Elizabeth Bowen, “The Last September”

With books as with people, sometimes it’s hard to assess incompatibility: is it me, or is it him? I had respectful (if not exactly fond) memories of Elizabeth Bowen’s The Last September. I know her work is highly prized in … Continue reading

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Carol Wallace, “Leaving Van Gogh”

No, I’m not actually going to review my own book! But I’ve made a page for it — see the tab above, far right. It doesn’t come out until April but we are starting to build an online profile for … Continue reading

Posted in art history, contemporary fiction, literary fiction | Tagged | 12 Comments

Joseph Roth, “The Radetzky March”

In a scene about three-quarters of the way through The Radetzky March , Joseph Roth shows us the old Emperor Franz Joseph reviewing troops in an eastern portion of the empire. The Emperor loves his troops, loves the noise, the pageantry, … Continue reading

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