I, Claudius & Claudius the God

June 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

Claudius“It’s like Band of Brothers meets I, Claudius.” The above phrase was elicited from Simon Sebag Montefiore when he was on a book tour promoting his book Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar, and the interviewer asked him if he saw a movie deal in the making. At the time I only understood the first half of his statement. Now having completed both I, Claudius and Claudius the God (and read Montefiore’s biography of Stalin) I commend him on his apt description. « Read the rest of this entry »

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Mrs. Dalloway

February 3, 2016 § Leave a comment

mrsdallowayThis Side of Paradise, Catcher in the Rye, and now Mrs. Dalloway. My list of unfinished books; books that I had to put down because I simply could not force myself to read any further. As you can see it’s not a long list, I tend to persevere until the end. But the above three truly challenged, and vanquished, my patience. « Read the rest of this entry »

A Single Man

January 29, 2016 § Leave a comment

isherwoodandaudenMany of you may be familiar with the movie, by the same name, directed by Tom Ford. The movie differs from the book in its focus on the melodramatic and George’s sorrow; whereas in the book the humour has a dry, acerbic quality to it, and why in my opinion it fares better. As a result the book manages to be both witty and moving. « Read the rest of this entry »

Macbeth, who shall be king hereafter!

January 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

macbethconsultingthevision

Shakespeare’s play is an essential and indispensable read in understanding power, its trappings, and the men who lust for it. We are introduced to the valiant and loyal Thane of Glamis: Macbeth, returning from the battlefield having done his king and country a mighty service. Yet upon hearing the witches’ prophecy the seeds of destruction and ruin for Scotland are sown. Though Macbeth broods upon the prophecy and harbours ambitions to be king he wavers in his decision to carry out the deed. Lady Macbeth chides and chastises her husband into finally committing the crime.
« Read the rest of this entry »

The Painted Veil

January 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

thepaintedveilReading the blurb that accompanies this novel you could be forgiven for rolling your eyes and expecting some B-grade, melodramatic novel about a woman who finally discovers herself and realizes what a vain and pathetic existence she has been leading. Well atleast that’s what I thought. But I was also aware that in the hands of Maugham this story had the potential for excellence. « Read the rest of this entry »

Austen, Greene & Isherwood

January 15, 2016 § Leave a comment

theorientexpressI can see why Greene considered this as one of his less serious works; one of his “entertainment” novels. It’s an enjoyable read but his attempts to add depth to the story and characters felt a little strained. Not quite as rewarding a read as The Power & the Glory.

What Stamboul Train does have going for it is a diverse range of characters thrown into close quarters on board a train journey from Ostend to Istanbul; setting the stage for intrigue, suspense, romance, betrayal, and a glimpse into the prevailing attitides of the 30’s.

Stamboul Train by Graham Greene


It’s quite seldom that a book/author leaves me perplexed and feeling ambivalent. I can appreciate the issues that Austen raises: that we should choose wisely when it comes to a spouse; they should complement us but at the P&Psame time encourage us to develop and mature. The issue of money is constantly raised in Austen’s books, and so is marriage, for the simple reason that it matters. Austen doesn’t advocate a life of opulence and luxury, but of us having the means to live a comfortable and modest life.

Austen’s writing clearly harkens to a time when words and sentences were meant to be savoured rather than gulped down. My tendency is towards short, tightly constructed sentences not long winded, rambling ones. And it is this that I find so galling about Austen’s works.

 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


a single man

A wonderful novel that is somewhat reminiscent of “One Day…” by Solzhenitsyn, albeit minus the utter despair of the gulags. A Single Man is a poignant story that delves into the life of George Falconer, a middle aged professor trying to come to terms with his lover’s death. Moving, insightful and humourous, Isherwood’s novel concludes with Falconer coming to grips with his predicament and accepting that all there remains for him to do is to continue living. A look into the everyday aspect of struggling against a universal grief: the loss of a loved one.

A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

One Day in a Cancer Ward

November 3, 2015 § 2 Comments

solzhenitsyn
Solzhenitsyn’s writing is sublime. While much has been made about the ward being an analogy for the Soviet state it is the depictions of a ward; the patients and their illnesses that makes Cancer Ward so poignant. This slice of humanity interwoven with the political backdrop of Russia in the 50’s and the Purge, brilliantly captures the pathos of a long-suffering people. « Read the rest of this entry »

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