This is a book that primarily about people and about parties, with descriptions of them that are at once acidic and amusing, and can also be seen as an extensive critique of English society at this moment in history. This is a review of Elias Canetti’s Party in the Blitz (Party im Blitz).
It’s a short, but compelling novel that is masterfully written for maximum impact. Larsen’s prose is incisive, blunt, and yet at the same time has a poetic flow and keeps the narrative driving forward smoothly but quickly. A perfect one-afternoon read. This is a review of Passing.
Where you live is such an integral part of your everyday existence, and this is a novel about Harlem in the Depression Era — covering social politics, racial politics, as well as the complex interplay of social clubs and both religious and charitable organizations. This is a review of Claude McKay’s Amiable with Big Teeth.
The art of good, compelling dialogue is as essential as it is elusive. In this book, the words and conversations flow out in a smooth, natural way and with a language that is never awkward or forced. This is a review of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God.
This is narrative about trying to find a place of belonging in the midst of a society that is alienating and cruel and has festered hatred not just between races but amongst families, dividing individuals from each other and parts of themselves. This is a review of Langston Hughes’ Not Without Laughter.
This particular book I found in a bargain bin in a used bookstore and, when I went to research it, found very little information on it and only about three paragraphs of information on the author. This is a review of Anne Douglas Sedgwick’s The Dull Miss Archinard.
This book is one of the prettiest ones that I have come across in recent time in terms of book design and binding. However, it is definitely a work that should be limited to those that have a knowledge of the time in which it was produced or are studying this specific era of literature or history. This is a review of George du Maurier’s Trilby.
Sometimes when the New Year is young, it’s easy to look back on other times of transition. I know a lot of fiction describes a moment where suddenly one transitions from childhood to adulthood, but I think the reality is that childhood ends in a series of moments, realizations, and formative events. This is a review of May Sinclair’s Mary Olivier. The book is a 1919 first edition.
Balzac’s sits nearly at the end of main street, and when you sit inside of it, it’s easy to forget that you exist in the modern world. The tin ceiling design and the white marble of the counters as well as the café set up are a comforting beckon to the past and the distant, and it was sitting at one of those counters by the window that I thought about starting a book review blog in the first place. This is a review of Honoré de Balzac’s The Wild Ass’s Skin (La Peau de Chagrin).
The book is one about the ruthlessness and all-consuming nature of greed as well as the eventual consequences of leading a life driven by monetary gain. I won’t give away the ending, but I’ll warn you that it’s nothing like Ebenezer Scrooge’s and there are no warm fuzzies involved. This is a review of Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.