Tag Archives: World War I

Benjamin Black, “The Black-Eyed Blonde”

I was a teeny bit underwhelmed by Benjamin Black/John Banville’s most recent offering, Holy Orders. And suspicious, as I read it, that LA gumshoe Philip Marlowe had replaced Quirke in Black’s affections. After all, writers do sometimes get bored by … Continue reading

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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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A.S. Byatt, “The Children’s Book”

What an ambitious book this is! And a puzzling one as well. There’s sometimes something quite dull about Byatt’s writing — I think it has to do with the distance she maintains from her characters. And yet it’s also completely … Continue reading

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Gregor von Rezzori, “The Snows of Yesteryear”

More mid-European, mid-20th century nostalgia. But, gosh, nobody deserves it more than these guys like Sebald and Rezzori. Their predicaments make any American longing for his past into a total amateur. You can’t go home again? You sure can’t — … Continue reading

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Dorothy Sayers, “Whose Body?”

I went to Columbia to watch the Inauguration.  They had a Jumbotron below the steps of Low Library and as we all stood there in the brilliant snowy cold listening to Obama’s speech, the bells at Riverside Church began to … Continue reading

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Siegfried Sassoon, “Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man”

This book has been on my radar for decades, ever since my teenage horsey phase. I vaguely remember trying to read it, but grasping that it wasn’t really about horses. Then of course when I read Vera Brittain’s Testament of … Continue reading

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Pat Barker, “Life Class”

I’m glad I don’t live in Pat Barker’s head.  If we accept that what a writer puts on the page is  tiny fraction of his or her mental furniture, Barker’s thoughts are full of the gruesome sights and sounds and … Continue reading

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