War on the Wheels

War on the Wheels
The story of the people

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Middlemarch

Don't be silly; a blog could not possibly do justice to this masterpiece. You'll be blogging Shakespeare next, and any way how come you haven't read it before?
You see it in Felix Holt, but here it is more subtle: the way the plot doesn't work in a linear fashion, but rather is a web of influences and linkages. It would probably be true to say that this book couldn't be written now since editors would stamp hard on the authorial comments. Yet they, with the thoughts of so many of the characters, serve to offer a deep insight into 19th century rural life. I want to tell my lecturer in rural history that this is a first class primary source. It has everything: reaction to the Reform Act, agricultural reform, absent clergy and the absolute domination of money

The Handmaid's Tale

I doubt that there is a book which draws so much sympathy from its readers. The story is devastating, but that is only part of what Margaret Atwood does. The heart of the genius of the book is not a real fear that what she describes could happen, rather an uncomfortable acknowledgement that it is a metaphor for the oppression that does happen in so many different guises.
At a slightly different level it is one of those books which reminds a would be writer just why they sweat blood. The enterprise is worth every drop if there is a possibility of getting anywhere near this quality of writing.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Trumpet by Jackie Kay

If someone dies and those around discover a secret which the deceased had kept closely hidden all their life, how best to tell the tale?
Jackie Kay offers each of those concerned their own voice. The deceased's spouse knew, well she couldn't not. But the deceased's son, the mother, the best friend? What of them? Kay throws in an investigative journalist for good measure and shows how the propect of payment loosnes or tightens tonges. It is tour de forece in point of view.