There’s a moment in Sunset Boulevard where William Holden’s character Joe Gillis takes Norma Desmond’s (played by Gloria Swanson) script in his hand. That’s what I was reminded of reading these two novellas.
The real shining piece of this book is the ghost and the setting. The whole world of the opera house comes alive as the ghost wrecks havoc and extracts vengeance. This is a review of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l’Opéra).
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.
Christmas shopping for our household would not be complete without at least one trip to the bookstore. Multiple bookstores. Fanfare Books is where I first discovered the work of Timothy Findley, who spent his final years in this town and was a dedicated friend of the store. This is a review of The Butterfly Plague.
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.
The romance of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw is one of the most well known in English literature. The narrative proceeds in twists and turns that never lack for dramatic flair. This is review of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights — an essential ghost story as much as an essential romance.
I’ve met people that swear by Camp Crystal Lake and others that don Freddy’s classic bladed gloves or put on the Ghostface mask from the Scream series. But nothing really gives me that feeling of decay, destruction, and ghostliness like stories, films, and books that have Victorian settings. This is a review of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black.
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.
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.
Due to how many adaptations it has had and how prominent it is in the canon of classic literature, I thought it would be a staple of used bookstores or the bigger new bookstores. Well, it isn’t. This is a review of Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris or The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.