Tag Archives: Narrative Voice

Angelica by Arthur Phillips

Synopsis: Fearful of her husband’s sexual advances, a young mother falls into a spectacular case of hysteria–that might not be all in her head. Review: Angelica is yet another neo-Gothic tale, set in a Victorian England conjured more from literature than from history. It has all of the elements you’d want: repressed sexuality, midnight visions, hysteria and a spiritualist, all rendered in gorgeous, sumptuous prose from four different points of view. Share on Facebook

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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Synopsis: A legendary folk hero tells the first part of his life story, encompassing his early years as a vagabond and his time spent at University studying alchemy and magic. Review: It’s not for nothing that The Name of the Wind has been touted as a great fantasy debut. It absolutely is. I am leery of beginning fantasy series that have not been concluded, but my brother was so enthusiastic about this one that I had to check it out. Patrick Rothfuss’s writing has a…

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The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Synopsis: The last of a dying breed, a proper English butler reflects on his life in service. Review: I had no idea I would love The Remains of the Day as much as I did. To be honest, I love Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go so much that I was afraid that if I didn’t like this book, my love for that one would be tainted irrevocably. Share on Facebook

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World of Wonders by Robertson Davies

Synopsis: The premature baby of Fifth Business was kidnapped by roustabouts, grew up a circus performer, and has grown into the greatest magician in the world. His life story offers the final piece to the question posed in The Manticore: “Who killed Boy Staunton?” Review: Robertson Davies’s masterful Deptford Trilogy deserves to be on more must-read lists. I discovered it thanks to Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, and can say that Davies’s writing not only warrants Prose’s close reading, it actually provokes it…

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Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Synopsis: One man’s harrowing journey up the Congo in search of enlightenment. Review: Blogging really wasn’t invented for talking about a book like Heart of Darkness. I am utterly incapable of coming up with anything approaching an instant reaction to this book. I need to sit with it for a long time, then read it again, then sit with it some more, then read it again. Then maybe I can talk about it. I promise to let you know if I come up with anything…

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The View from a Kite by Maureen Hull

Synopsis: Life inside a 1970s TB ward from the point of view of a teenage girl who won’t take her treatment lying down. Review: A View from a Kite is a superlative young adult book, featuring a fresh, likable protagonist in an utterly fascinating setting. Gwen is 17 and has tuberculosis, so she lives in a sanatarium where her only responsibilities are to rest, eat, and heal. She lives amongst patients of all ages, and one of the great treats of this book comes from…

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The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall

Synopsis: A young man with severe amnesia comes to realize that he is being stalked by a conceptual shark (which is much, much scarier than you might think). Review: What surprised me most about The Raw Shark Texts was how fast it moved. For all its high-minded metaphysical aims and experimental underpinnings, the book has the pacing of an airport thriller or Stephen King horror book. There were some sequences in this book, such as protagonist Second Eric’s Sanderson encounter with Nobody, that were are…

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Up High in the Trees by Kiara Brinkman

Synopsis: A small boy deals with the death of his mother by setting his imagination free. Review: Up High in the Trees is a beautifully written book about a most engaging child, but it failed to move me. I’m not really sure why. Sebby, his brother Leo, his sister Cass, and his father are all dealing with a grievous loss, each choosing to isolate themselves in a different way. The overall story shows a family splitting apart then coming back together because of the choices…

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The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons

Synopsis: A new house in a suburban Atlanta neighborhood spells disaster for all its inhabitants. Review: It’s awfully hard to be frightened when you’re sitting on a rooftop deck in West Hollywood, letting the setting sun dry your bathing suit after discovering that you can float like a cork in the saltwater pool. Share on Facebook

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Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

Synopsis: Schoolteacher Dunstan Ramsay looks back over his life, intertwined with that of a childhood friend and inextricably linked with a madwoman he desperately wants to believe is a saint. Review: I had no idea what I was in for when I began Fifth Business, the first book in Canadian novelist Robertson Davies’s Deptford trilogy. I have an older paperback and the copy on the back just says, “the story of a rational man who discovers that the marvelous is only another aspect of the…

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