My summer of reading non-fiction continues with two selections — Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face, and Ann Patchett’s Truth and Beauty. The two books naturally go together and I’ve decided to review them together here because I feel like they end up completing each other.
Vyner decided to write Fraser’s biography via extensive interviews with the people who knew him, including herself and her own memories of him. It’s an interesting mix of individuals and viewpoints because not only does she have statements from his mother and various relatives, the reader also gets to hear from famous musicians, as well as famous artists.
Chernobyl Prayer is one of the most difficult books that I have ever read. It even took me a year to read it due to stopping and starting and the time I needed to take just to breathe through the amount of raw hurt and fear that she painstakingly documents.
Tišma makes death a haunting presence, coming in and out of focus, receding and approaching. It is always there and always palpable, and is never far away.
This book goes beyond a road trip, because what it provides is more of a historical snapshot of what the roads and landscape were like over a half-century ago.
What do you think of when you think of Gothic mystery? A mysterious death followed by a mysterious will? Opium? Scary governesses? Some kind of murder plot? Graves? Estranged uncles? Gypsies? Creepy cousins? Murder? Gambling debts? Estates badly managed?
Did you say all of the above?
This is a review of Sheridan Le Fanu’s Uncle Silas.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the term ‘Grand Guignol’ as it is used as a description for a modern film or novel. It was actually a theatre in Paris. This is a review of Maurice Level’s Thirty Hours with a Corpse.
I spent a lot of time in front of the television as a child. It was part of my regular routine before going to school and after I got home. I used it to define days, hours, and seasons and to keep me company while I did homework or studied. My favourite programs (alongside Bugs Bunny, of course) were crime documentaries. This is a review of Emile Zola’s The Beast Within.