Category Archives: Books

London

After a weekend spent in the fascinating hellhole between Euston, King’s Cross and Oxford Street, I am now heading home, expecting to arrive 5 hours late because of damaged overhead wires at Watford. I am not complaining: I’ve had an … Continue reading

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A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark (1988)

The novel is set in war-damaged London in 1954, narrated in retrospect by a fat young war widow, Mrs Hawkins. Over the course of the novel she ceases to be a widow or fat, but her strong moral sense remains … Continue reading

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The Brimstone Wedding by Barbara Vine (1995)

Ruth Rendell by another name. It was OK – it kept me turning the pages, and the quasi-parallel lives of two women in dull marriages and their lovers was cleverly done. A good sense of place: Norfolk/Suffolk borders this time. … Continue reading

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The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (1881)

I had to read this book several years ago for a literature course and enjoyed it. This second reading increased my enjoyment; one of the good things about knowing the plot is that you can concentrate on the writing and … Continue reading

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The Lake of Darkness by Ruth Rendell (1980)

You may always know what you’re getting with Ruth Rendell – a friendly neighbourhood psychopath in a very recognisable neighbourhood (north London in this case) – but you never know exactly what to expect. Obviously it won’t end well: the … Continue reading

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My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (1951)

A book that I read as an adolescent, having seen the film with Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton on television. News of the release of a new film piqued my curiosity, so I read the book again after a … Continue reading

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The Man who was Thursday by G K Chesterton (1908)

The terrorist murders in France and Germany last year made me think more about previous eras when ordinary life was shattered by ideologically-driven violence. I recalled the IRA, Red Brigades and Baader Meinhof Gang and I wanted to read something … Continue reading

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