Claire Boltwood is on such a trip across the country — driving herself and her father from Minneapolis to Seattle in a very nice car on some not very nice roads. Lewis describes not just the scenery but also the reality of flat tires, car repairs, getting stuck in mud, and unpleasant hotels.
It takes a very good writer to write the ordinary and make it seem exactly that: ordinary. Alice Munro is just such a writer. Her stories aren’t fantastical; instead, they are stories of people that could be your neighbour or one of your parents’ friends. This is a review of The Love of A Good Woman.
It’s a book about many things: Canada’s struggle for identity as a sovereign nation with a complex relationship to Britain and British politics, the psychological and physical impacts of war, the differing attitudes of different strata of society towards the war overseas. I always find Can Lit particularly provides an atmosphere where this kind of multi-layered complexity flourishes. This is a review of Hugh MacLennan’s Barometer Rising.
I’ve been reading classic literature since I was very young, but the work of Austen was a blind spot for me. Mostly, that had to do with the way acquaintances pushed me to read them. Bright. Sparkly. Light. Romantic. Those are not the words that draw me to literature. They also weren’t the entire picture of either the novels or the author. This is a review of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
The difficulty of the year has me turning to books more than ever as a soothing distraction and in my search for them I can’t help but notice the decided uptick in plague literature. Most of the books I have seen mentioned I’ve read before all of this began — but this one was sitting in my to-read stacks. This is a review of Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of a Plague Year.
It’s an example of literary realism that is widely considered one of the most influential novels in literary history. It’s been adapted many times both for stage and for screen as well as being admired both by Henry James and Marcel Proust. Though it was his debut novel, it’s also considered Flaubert’s magnum opus. This is a review of Madame Bovary.
These novels aren’t exactly ‘novels’ per se, in the sense that they are not traditionally structured narratives. Instead, they are more of a collection of stories about rural life in the later nineteenth century. This is a review of Flora Thompson’s Lark Rise to Candleford.
For a few years, starting when I was twelve or thirteen I followed the same ritual on Friday nights. Right after dinner, as dusk was falling, I’d walk to the mall across the street and enter the store, making a beeline to my favourite section — the horror movies. This is a review of Ray Russell’s The Case Against Satan.
This book got mixed reviews when it was published, one going so far as to call it ‘obscene’. What was obscene about it was the discussion of themes and aspects of Victorian life that Victorians were in no way comfortable discussing — including the struggles of the lower classes and their exclusion from even the dream of higher education, the lack of class mobility, sex, sexism, animal cruelty, the destructive power of gossip, bad marriages, and horrible people. This is a review of Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure.
I actually have only been reading Russian literature for a short amount of time and how I started reading it is a bit of story in and of itself. This is a review of Dostoevsky’s The Landlady.