I imagine a woman must’ve sat Kevin Wilson down and explained to him in excruciating detail what pregnancy, childbirth, breast-feeding and the mothering instinct feel like – the pain, the physical sensations, the associations, memories and convoluted reasoning. These descriptions in his latest novel, Perfect Little World, are not the descriptions you’d read in a medical handbook. They seem to be intensely personal and individualistic, even a bit voyeuristic. Reading how “Isabel (Izzy) Poole”, the main character, feels during those moments is like feeling it yourself, and it is really not pleasant. However, Perfect Little World is a near-perfect depiction of what happens to people when they have children, the good and the bad. Continue reading
Review of Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee
This novel cannot be discussed without reference to Lee’s first and famous novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. However, as Go Set a Watchman is set after the events in To Kill a Mockingbird, comparisons are both inevitable and useful. Go Set a Watchman is adroitly written, with hardly a word out of place and nothing extraneous or repetitive. Reading it as a novel of and about the 1950s it is still interesting and (quite surprisingly) engaging. It might be a sequel (or even a type of prequel) but it can stand alone as a very good work of fiction. To read the full book review Click me. If you want the context, read on… Continue reading
An update on this post, 7 May 2014:
The German art collector, Cornelius Gurlitt, whom I mentioned in my review, below, has died on 7 May 2014, at age 81, in his apartment in Munich. A spokesman for Gurlitt, said he had had living relatives but he would not say who they are. It was also not immediately clear whether Gurlitt had written a will or whether a Munich court would appoint a curator of estate, which is often done in Germany if there are open questions surrounding an inheritance. After much going back and forth, Gurlitt had eventually agreed in April 2014 to a deal with the German government under which hundreds of works he owned would be checked for possible Nazi-era pasts while staying in government hands. A spokeswoman for the Bavarian Justice Ministry has said that deal would be binding on all possible heirs.
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
(Little, Brown and Company, October 2013)
This beautifully printed novel merits serious consideration and stands up to in-depth analysis. It is has 700+ silky pages of narrative in practiced, elegant prose with multiple themes woven through it, primarily; the mermerising, redeeming nature of “the line of beauty”; the maniacal nature of the commercial market for art and antiques; the eternal nature of truly sublime art and the fatal, unchangeable, doomed nature of man. Whether Donna Tartt manages to successfully develop and convey all of these ideas in this book is debatable, but ultimately, it is an intriguing novel with interesting premises, posing thought-provoking questions. While the plot revolves around art, it is not a Künstlerroman about an artist’s growth to maturity, but rather a Bildungsroman about an art lover’s growth to maturity, with the 17th century artist, Carl Fabritius, as an ever-present type of Ghost in the Machine.