winter garden

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine

Winter Garden by Beryl Bainbridge (1980) Douglas Ashburner is going on holiday. He was surprised that his wife of twenty-six years was happy for him to disappear off to the Highlands for a fortnight’s fishing trip. Leaving her in bed, she waves him goodbye with a ‘queenly gesture of farewell’. Little does she know. His Read More

SNB logo medium

Shiny Fiction Linkiness

Time to share my Fiction reviews from Issue 8 of Shiny New Books with you – four very different but enjoyable books, click through to read the full reviews, links within the text refer to my previous reviews: The Great Swindle by Pierre Lemaitre Best known for his Verhoeven trilogy, Lemaitre has turned from contemporary fare to the end Read More

Bilodo

The art of haiku and unrequited love…

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault Translated by Liedewy Hawke I‘ve been meaning to read this bittersweet novella ever since Hesperus Press published it in England last autumn. Read now, it made a perfect palate-cleanser between some heavier reads for the new issue of Shiny New Books (out on Thursday 8th Read More

Get me out of here

Consumer culture gone mad in a warped and very funny novel…

Get Me Out of Here by Henry Sutton This review has be republished into my original blog timeline from my lost posts archives. Scanning my TBR shelves for something different to read the other week, I alighted on this novel remembering that Kim had loved it! It was time to return to a novel by Henry Read More

Telepathy

It was surprising how many of us had a Jean Brodie in our schooldays…

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark Published in 1961, Spark’s delicious tale of a teacher who lives vicariously through her selected pupils was our book group’s choice this month. Our discussions were wide-ranging, but we started off by chatting about how real Miss Brodie was – and it turned out that most of Read More

Telepathy

"This ain't no upwardly mobile freeway … This is the road to hell"

The A26 by Pascal Garnier Quite a few bloggers (notably Stu and recently Guy) have already discovered and loved the novels of Pascal Garnier, the French author of some decidedly bleak, black comedies of the purest noir! Having acquired a couple of them, I picked his short novel The A26 to begin my own exploration. Set in Read More

Injury Time

Dinner Parties – A Risky Business!

Injury Time by Beryl Bainbridge Dinner parties… Love ’em, loathe ’em – but from the mid 1970s to perhaps as far as the late 1990s they were a symbol of the middle classes. The kitchen-sink drama moved into the Dining Room. Acceptance of your position in the hierarchy by giving dinner parties was soon replaced by Read More

harriet said

Two Naughty Schoolgirls…

Harriet Said by Beryl Bainbridge Harriet Said was Beryl’s first  work written in the late 1950s.  However it ended up as her third published novel, as its darkness struggled to find a publisher initially.  It is the story of two teenaged schoolgirls and what they got up to one summer holiday… The two girls are an Read More

Bottle Factory Outing

Bottling Things Up, or Bottling Out?

The Bottle Factory Outing by Beryl Bainbridge A couple of weeks ago, Simon at Savidge Reads chose three books he was going to read before his imminent thirtieth birthday, (and he asked for more recommendations for forty books to read before he is forty.) One of the three was based on a suggestion of mine Read More

sisters-brothers

My book of the year so far…

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt If I had to make a movie pitch for this book, it would be the Coen brothers do The Blues Brothers crossed with Deadwood, HBO’s fantastic wild west series, and that encapsulates it in a nutshell for me, save to say that the combination is an absolute winner. The Blues Brothers also just happens to Read More

Telepathy

What happens when the woman of your dreams becomes a reality?

I’ve been saving a few reviews to post until I’m ready to start talking about vampires in my Season of the Living Dead. So today it’s time to introduce you to: Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker Norman and his friend Henry are on holiday in Ireland. They duck into a church to shelter from the Read More

Telepathy

The Pets by Bragi Olafsson

Last year I read some Halldor Laxness, and found the Icelandic humour distinctly hard to get. This contemporary novel by Bragi Olafsson (formerly in the Sugarcubes with Björk) was much less oblique, but despite its relative brevity took some time to get going. When it did though, it became the stuff of pure farce which Read More

Telepathy

Moviewatch: In Bruges- It’s effing hilarious!

This film was absolutely fantastic from start to finish. Wildly original, quirky, very violent yet wickedly funny with some brilliant sick jokes. Oh, by the way, it happens to show off Bruges quite beautifully. Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes I knew, but couldn’t quite place Brendan Gleeson at first – then it dawned on me Read More

Telepathy

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

This is a brilliant novel, but one I found it difficult to enjoy. The title, appropriately for a parody of America’s deep south in the 1960s, comes from master satirist Jonathan Swift and is a perfect description of the book. The author has assembled a cast of grotesques, from aged crones to spoilt housewives, and Read More