Category: Classic Literature Reviews

A review of My Father’s Tears and Other Stories by John Updike

Filial relations that are flawed, marriages that don’t quite flow smoothly, the difficulty of getting along with each other; My Father’s Tears and Other Stories is full of the complex stuff of human existence, by a writer who has been one of its finest modern chroniclers. The work, at least, will live on.

A review of The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Why should one read The Big Sleep today? Well, first there is the story: it is a thrilling ride. Then there is the quality of Chandler’s prose, his much vaunted style, which still impresses (though its downbeat and bathetic vibe is occasionally imitative of Hemingway).

A review of Little Dorrit (audio book) by Charles Dickens

For sheer entertainment alone, it would be hard to beat the relaxation and engagement of listening to such a well done adaptation. For anyone who has to spend time in a vehicle or engaged in an activity that doesn’t allow for a book in hand, this audio is one which will transform the journey into one of pure pleasure.

A review of Can You Forgive Her by Anthony Trollope

It is the first book in the Palliser series, so that if you want to tackle this one of Trollope’s two novel-sets, you should start here. And it is a probing and sensitive study of a woman struggling to find her own way, in a society where this was really unheard of, and where it took much more of a battle than it would today.

A review of Paradiso by Dante Alighieri

To read Paradiso by itself is a novel experience and well worth the special attention that it requires. This translation is exceptional and among so many stands out as particularly splendid and true.

A review of Trilby by George du Maurier

I think the greatest merit of Trilby is in its obviously deeply-felt evocation of the Bohemian, artistic side of Paris in the middle of the 19th century. I have come across some indication [6] that what Du M wrote may not have been literally true in its details … but it is hard to believe that the spirit of Du M’s writing is not somehow true.

A review of The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene

As a feat of storytelling, though, The Ministry of Fear is both instructive (e.g. for the way certain significant events happen “off-stage” and the way in which certain characters – Prentice being one – act as a lodestone or lightening rod for the emotional force of the story) and impressive. This is a minor work, then, but a novel with its own strengths and satisfactions; and it is an interesting precursor of much of what was to follow.

A review of My Antonia by Willa Cather

My Antonia is a great novel, a classic that does not disappoint. Perhaps most of all, it is about what true wealth is. Reading it, one is reminded often of The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley: there is the same look back toward childhood and the same richly allusive and resonant symbolism.