I’ll leave it up for you to decide whether the novel lives up to its extensive praise. For my part, despite the book being outside my literary comfort zone, I did see what made it so ground-breaking and so influential. It was worth the read — as long as the graphic violence (including sexual violence) is something that you can tolerate as a reader.
You know just enough about the characters — no more, no less. You are provided with just enough background information. It keeps the story tight and moves things along in ways that longer works often struggle with. Perhaps if you look closely you can see the traces of a formula, but it is applied so skillfully that it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment or impact of the narrative.
The three books are substantial, but not overbearing at 300–375 pages each. Each of them is based on a criminal case and uses that case as roman à clef to explore a snapshot of different aspects of society at the turn of the last century through the lens of real events barely veiled.
The body of a young woman named Starr Faithfull was found dead on a Long Island beach on the morning of June 8th, 1931. Speculations concerning how and why she met her end inflamed the imagination of the general public and Faithfull became a tabloid sensation posthumously.
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.
Rumpole of the Bailey contains a critique not just of the British legal system, but also of society in the late 1970s, and the collision of the legal and political systems. Sometimes this commentary is insightful, yet sometimes it is cringe-worthy.
Quin uses vagaries, the mists of the seaside Brighton, and a circularity of language to construct a perfect circular narrative. So perfect, that it’s a magical experience to get to the ending and read how everything comes together.
What drew me to this book initially was the simple fact that my local independent bookstore had it in stock and it was a mystery published in the late 1970s that was dubbed a classic.
It’s a fast-paced narrative that critics and readers alike agree has literary merit. The debate comes from the author’s proclamation of being perfectly factual. This is a review of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.
I can go ahead and admit that I have a problem. I collect kitty-cat knickknacks. This is a review of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Judge and His Hangman.