Archive for August, 2011

August 29, 2011

The World According to Garp: John Irving

by Andy

A novel of feminism, bears, writing, rape, loss, high-school-wrestling, transsexuals and family, and much more besides – too much to put in to a glib reviews.  Suffice to say it is both wonderfully funny and terribly sad and John Irving at his compulsive, epic best.

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August 29, 2011

Anathem: Neal Stephenson

by Andy

Part sci-fi thriller, part mystery, part coming-of-age story, part musing on maths and physics, imaginative tour-de-force and a novel of ideas (a great many of them) if ever there was one.  Too good to summarise with something trite like un-put-down-able, but it is, so there you go.

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August 29, 2011

The Forsyte Saga: John Galsworthy

by Andy

There’s not that many books I’d force upon everyone and cudgel them with until it’s read, but this magnificent work is definitely one of them.  For all the cover blurb about the impact of history on certain sections of post-Victorian society, this is essentially the tale of the doomed love of Soames for his wife Irene and the impact their actions have on each other, their family and then their children.  Bitter, tense, heartbreaking and breathtakingly brilliant, it’s the kind of book that sticks with you a long, long time once done.

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August 15, 2011

Conference at Cold Comfort Farm: Stella Gibbons

by Andy

Inexplicably out of print for many years (along with the vast majority of Stella Gibbons’ novels) but now rightfully back in circulation (along with some of the rest of that vast majority).  It could be argued that this is more of the same, but that’s fine given the sheer genius of Cold Comfort Farm.  In this even more eccentric and overtly sarcastic outing Flora Poste is to remake the titular farm once again, allowing Gibbons to take beautiful and ruthless aim at art, philosophy, literature, the general pursuit of pomposity and all fool enough to take it all too seriously.  Sharp stuff and a most amusing and diverting read.