In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston, an appreciator of different kinds of language and literature, a modernist who remembered tradition, describes Janie Crawford’s stifling life and surprising growth with language that is, as needed, confiding, folksy, general, poetic, philosophical, or startlingly specific.
A review of Beowulf, a New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley
What the book shows clearly is that human nature and its relationship to the world is timeless, and Beowulf is also a story about modern life. We may not have literal dragons, but we have plenty of bar-room bombast, metaphorical monsters, and enough inequality to make Beowulf as relevant a tale as it ever was. This is a version that is highly recommended, not so much to ensure you’re up with your classic education, but rather, for the sheer pleasure of the story and its execution.
The Price of Isolation: George Eliot’s Silas Marner
It is a remarkable portrait of social misunderstanding, one that is so clear it illuminates current, similar but subtler suspicion of odd individuals in our own world. The money that Marner makes becomes important to him—obvious reward for his work. He is transformed by his isolation, his work, his money, his (often inhuman or at least unsocial) concerns: achieving independence but a spiritual withering.
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 Baudolino by Umberto Eco
In this, his fourth novel, professional liar Umberto Eco spins the yarn of Baudolino, a fellow artificer hailing from Eco’s hometown of Alessandria and possessing more than a bit of the author’s personality. Like Eco, Baudolino is a master of…
A Review of Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being
In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a book of moderate length, Kundera provides a richness of content out of all proportion to its length. He achieves this by a use of narrative loops. These loops cover areas that are approximately the same…
A Review of Saul Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift
A Review of Saul Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift Humboldt’s Gift has its picaresque side and the selection of types and traumas may be looked at as modern translations of Huck’s own troubles and concerns. The honesty of the writer is a…