Category: Book Reviews

The Mother, Jane Caro, Australia, 2022

The Mother, Jane Caro, Australia, 2022

A book about domestic violence seen through the eyes of the victim’s mother, Miriam. Miriam is both aware and not aware of what is going on, and although Caro is presenting domestic violence from the perspective of a third person, her main focus is on the unconditional love of a mother for her child. Without …

+ Read More

The Dig, John Preston, UK, 2007

The Dig, John Preston, UK, 2007

In The Dig, Preston tells the story of the discovery and the excavation in 1939 of one of the most important archaeological finds in the UK. The mound, at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, revealed itself to be the resting place of a ship from the Anglo-Saxon period and was eventually dated to 500-600 AD. The …

+ Read More

Mannen under trappan (The Man Under the Stairs), Marie Hermanson, Sweden, 2005

Mannen under trappan (The Man Under the Stairs), Marie Hermanson, Sweden, 2005

Fredrik and Paula move to an idyllic house in the countryside outside of Gothenburg. Fredrik has a secure position with the council, Paula is an upcoming artist, and the two children – Fabian and Olivia – complete the picture of the perfect family. Initially everything is perfect, but then Fredrik meets a little man inside …

+ Read More

The Cat Who Saved Books, Sosuke Natsukawa, Japan, 2017 (Translation 2021)

The Cat Who Saved Books, Sosuke Natsukawa, Japan, 2017 (Translation 2021)

This is a delightful little book, which is quite obviously aimed at a YA audience but which, because of a number of thought-provoking passages, could actually appeal to anyone. Its fairytale format makes it easy to read, and though there is no depth of character development, it is the type of book that manages to …

+ Read More

Die Wand (Väggen; The Wall), Marlen Haushofer, Austria, 1963

Die Wand (Väggen; The Wall), Marlen Haushofer, Austria, 1963

A woman in her late forties is invited to spend a few days with her cousin Luise and her cousin’s husband, Hugo, at their hunting lodge in the Austrian alps. The woman (whose name we are never told) is a widow with two grown children, and even though she is not enthusiastic about hunting, she …

+ Read More

Holding, Graham Norton, Ireland, 2016

Holding, Graham Norton, Ireland, 2016

In Duneen, south of Cork, bones are discovered at a construction site. The local guard, Sergeant Patrick James Collins (aka PJ), finds himself propelled from the relatively boring, nothing-ever-happens policing of a small, insignificant Irish village into the world of plain-clothes detectives and forensics. Single, overweight PJ is somewhat daunted by the efficient Detective Superintendent …

+ Read More

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, USA, 2011

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, USA, 2011

This is a beautiful book: beautifully conceived and beautifully written. Set in New York in 1937 and 1938, it concentrates on a small group of people spearheaded by Katey Kontent, Tinker Grey and Evelyn Ross. From the moment the two working girls, Katey and Eve, meet the charming, rich Theodore (Tinker) at a jazz club, …

+ Read More

Stoner, John Williams, USA, 1965

Stoner, John Williams, USA, 1965

William Stoner is an ordinary person. He begins life on a farm and is destined to follow in his father’s footsteps; however, he goes to school and, at the insistence of his teacher, continues on to university. He eventually falls in love, marries the wrong person, fathers a child, and becomes an important part of …

+ Read More

The Plague, Albert Camus, France, 1947

The Plague, Albert Camus, France, 1947

An infestation of rats in the town of Oran on the Algerian coast quickly develops into bubonic plague. Although the men in charge initially refuse to acknowledge that which is blindingly obvious, as people begin to die they are left with no choice but to call the illness by its right name and close the …

+ Read More

The Last Man in Europe, Dennis Glover, Australia, 2017

The Last Man in Europe, Dennis Glover, Australia, 2017

This is a brilliant book about George Orwell (or Eric Blair as he was actually called) and the creation of his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Not only beautifully written, it is meticulously researched, and it exhibits a deep understanding of a man who was both driven and physically tormented. It may be worth noting that the …

+ Read More