Armistice 2018: Beyond the Glass by Antonia White (1954)

Set in the twenties and the last in the ‘Frost in May’ series, Antonia White’s semi-autobiographical account of a young woman’s descent into madness after an intense love affair with a soldier too swiftly follows a failed marriage includes the following haunting scene appropriate for this poignant Sunday. During High Mass, requiem is being sung…

Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

I began reading Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe with low expectations. Can a woman who voluntarily renames herself Fannie Flagg be trusted to write a great work of literature? Can a book which inspires a film starring Chris O’Donnell be anything other than pure schmaltz? I won’t fannie about (sorry). Yes, Fried…

The Blunders of Our Governments by Anthony King & Ivor Crewe

A significant proportion of maternity leave involves navigating Rufus’s perilous bowel activities –  flying poos*, ‘poonamis’, and good old-fashioned leakage – and, although prompting Conradian cries of  ‘L’horreur! L’horreur!’ and constant fear of having undetected baby poo about my person, I optimistically maintain that such vicissitudes keep me limber for a return to Her Majesty’s…

Mothers and Shadows by Marta Traba (1981)

Mothers and Shadows centres on a group of women involved in the movement to quash civil-military dictatorships in Latin America’s Southern Cone (Argentina, Chile and Uruguay) during the 1970s/80s. Traba – who died in a plane crash alongside her husband and other prominent Latin America authors in 1983 – opens her tale with a meeting between…

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2018!

Following our posts to celebrate International Women’s Day in 2016 and 2017, we’re back again for #IWD2018 with a bounty of books to explore woman’s place in the world. Set in Rosenau, an isolated alpine farming community in Austria, Homestead by Rosina Lippi begins with a mysterious love letter – its intended recipient potentially being…

Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski (1949)

Little Boy Lost is the tale of an Englishman’s search for his 5-year-old-son in post-WW2 France, by the excellently-named but almost-forgotten English journalist and novelist Marghanita Laski, who died 30 years ago this week. At its core is the gripping mystery of what happened to poet and intellectual Hilary Wainwright’s son after his Resistance wife disappeared…

The Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2100 BC)

The Epic of Gilgamesh is considered by many to be the earliest surviving work of ‘great’ literature. Even if the very readable tale of the King of Uruk’s search to the ends of the earth for greatness and eternal life is not quite your bag, the survival, discovery, and translation of the four-thousand-year-old clay tablets…

Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles (1943)

To inspire us this New Year’s Day, the very surreal tale of two genteel women who go off the rails in spectacular fashion. New Year’s Eve carries high expectations. On those rare occasions when one does not struggle home on a crowded night bus thinking ‘why the hot damn did I not stay in with…

Some (arguably-tenuously-linked-to) Christmas books! 

Following on from our Christmas countdown last year, here are some literary treats in which to seek comfort and placidity this Yuletide. The late 14th century Middle English Sir Gawain and the Green Knight centres on a strange ‘Christmas game’ at King Arthur’s court on New Year’s Day.  The tale of a green knight presenting Arthur’s knights with…

Books ‘N’ Babies!

Upon discovering I was pregnant this time last year, my ponder of the forthcoming journey dwelled on two things: 1) ‘Wow I’m up the duff and gonna be a muvver!’ Who signed that off?’ etc and 2) ‘Finally,  some time to deal with Bertie aka my TBR book case, so monstrous it inspired a rap,…

It’s a little baby, Rodney!*

Please be presented with the reason for my recent neglect of this blog: Master Rufus Frank Turner George, born in a blaze of glory (well, an emergency c-section – I like to give things a positive spin) at 2.21am on Tuesday 18th July.  The past six weeks have been something of a twilight zone, largely…