All posts tagged: England

Review: Will Starling, by Ian Weir (2014)

comments 2
books

There’s something about the idea of surgery that captures our imaginations. The idea of a person who holds a literal knife’s edge between life and death for a helpless mortal, who’s either tied down or unconscious on a slab? Both of these scenarios hold their own horrors, making this the stuff of great drama. Far from the rich, professional class they embody today, the history of surgeons is until the 20th century pretty barbaric; practitioners […]

Review: The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell (2014)

comments 2
books

WARNING FOR SPOILERBABIES: There are some things that could be construed as spoilers in this review, so be aware. The inside flap of The Bone Clocks posts a glowing review from Publishers Weekly, which poses a seemingly-important question: “Is The Bone Clocks the most ambitious novel ever written, or just the most Mitchell-esque?” Since I’ve not read every novel ever written I can’t in all honesty answer the first question, nor can I the second as I’ve only […]

Late to the Party: Anno Dracula, by Kim Newman (1992)

Leave a comment
books

I’d heard about Anno Dracula for a long time before actually getting my hands on it. When I was in high school, one of the big genres I liked to read was alternate history. I worked my way through Harry Turtledove’s work up to that point (Guns of the South and Ruled Britannia were especially good), devoured Philip K. Dick’s masterwork The Man in the High Castle, and found one of my favourite short stories of […]

Late to the Party: Old Filth, by Jane Gardam (2004)

Leave a comment
books

Some long-time readers of this blog may recall my struggle to finish reading Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time, a twelve-book long cycle of books taking place mostly in London between the two World Wars. The short review of Dance? Don’t bother. I read six out of the twelve books and was basically bored silly the whole time, as Powell was much more interested in looking at different social strata of England pre-1939 […]

Late to the Party: Angelmaker, by Nick Harkaway

Leave a comment
books

Musical Accompaniment: The Clash, “Tommy Gun”:  “The world was getting old and cruel. The great game she had played, the wild, primary-colour roller coaster, had become something harsher. It wasn’t brother monarchs scoring points any more, or empires testing one another, or Vell played, Commander, but vee vill get you next time, you may be sure … What difference does it make if one crowned head replaces another? What matter if the Queen’s nephew displaces […]

Late to the Party: The Ladies of Grace Adieu, by Susanna Clarke

comments 2
books

The Ladies of Grace Adieu is a short story collection released shortly after Susanna Clarke’s stellar first novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. The nine stories collected here mostly take place in and around the world Clarke laid out in Norrell, a Regency-era England in which magic and faerie are very real (and dangerous) concepts, well-known if not outright feared by most people. Strange and Norrell are the two great magicians of their age, protecting […]

The Resolution Project: The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1963)

comments 4
books / the resolution project

Musical Accompaniment: The Decemberists – “The Bagman’s Gambit” The Resolution Project: For my New Year’s resolution in 2011, I decided to try and read all one hundred of the novels picked by Time Magazine as the best since their inception in 1923 to the list’s publication in 2005. I got almost halfway through the list that year, so I’ve decided to bull-headedly push on through to try and eventually finish the challenge, continuing with the same caveat as […]

Late to the Party: Boxer, Beetle, by Ned Beauman

Leave a comment
books

When Kevin “Fishy” Broom, a collector of Nazi memorabilia, stumbles upon a secret communique from Adolf Hitler to an English aristocrat named Erskine, he uncovers a mystery that has lain dormant in England for seventy years, involving home-grown fascism, rogue entomology, avant-garde piano composition, a century-spanning eugenics project, steam-powered architecture and a young Jewish boxer named Seth Roach. While I didn’t like this book as much as I liked the author’s followup, The Teleportation Accident, […]

Late to the Party: Daniel O’Thunder by Ian Weir

comment 1
books

“Spectacle, dear boy. Never mind the mirror held to nature. If they want nature they’ll look at a tree. Bangs and whizzes — startling effects — characters who shriek and stab and get on with it. That’s what they want, and so naturally that’s what we give them.” (p. 72) It’s probably a cliche at this point to point to a novel preoccupied with physical violence and call it “muscularly” written. I’m pretty sure if […]

The Resolution Project Season Two: Never Let Me Go (2005)

Leave a comment
books / the resolution project

Video Accompaniment: Linda Ronstadt, “What’ll I Do?” The Resolution Project Season Two: For my New Year’s resolution last year (2011), I decided to try and read all one hundred of the novels picked by Time Magazine as the best since their inception in 1923 to the list’s publication in 2005. I got almost halfway through. I’ve decided to bull-headedly push on through and try and finish the challenge, continuing with the same caveat as before: I’ve exempted myself […]