A Pale View of Hills is a short novel — arguably a novella — that centres around a woman named Etsuko who was born in Japan but has ended up in the UK after leaving a marriage behind. Set partially in the present and partially in the past, Etsuko reflects on a friendship she had with a woman named Sachiko.
When I start reading something like Bukowski (or Hunter S Thompson or Irvine Welsh), my lovely spouse always listens so patiently while I tell her about the book I’m currently in the middle of. Then she looks at me with that beautiful, quizzical smile and asks me why I torture myself this way.
Technically, the publication date on David Foster Wallace’s Something to Do with Paying Attention is 2022, because it is an extract from Wallace’s unfinished novel, The Pale King — specifically a monologue from one character that stands on its own as a novella.
Ethan Frome is one of the shortest classics you can read. My Penguin Classics edition clocks in at only ninety-nine pages. However, despite the length it is a powerful and sharp narrative full of symbolism, depth, and atmosphere.
There’s no doubt that when I think of spooky stories, I think of Ray Bradbury. His narratives are referenced time and time again and have influenced countless writers in turn.
I was first exposed to Nightmare Alley via TCM’s Noir Alley and the 1947 film starring Tyrone Power in one of his few villain roles. I thoroughly enjoyed the film, though it is a lot different from the novel.
Randi writes in a way that is accessible to the un-academic reader but is also like a cosy sweater for readers who have experience in academia and the sciences. Reading this book was a joy and a perfect meeting of my interest in the supernatural and my scholarly pursuits.
I’ve gleefully noticed that for the last two or three years there’s been an emphasis on the forgotten women writers of weird fiction. It soothes a sore spot in my child-self.
When I saw Robert Graves’ They Hanged My Saintly Billy and realized that it was a novel about William Palmer case, I leapt at the chance to read it.