Tag Archives: contemporary fiction

A Tired Pilgrim in the Penny Press!

Novelist Ian McEwan writes a deliberately provocative little squib for the newly-redesigned New Republic (disastrously redesigned as well – it disappears on the newsstand, especially this current issue, which for no particular reason has no cover illustration, just the boring new logo on a field of white), something called “The God That Fails” and sub-titled […]

Best Books of 2012: Fiction Debuts!

Another yardstick useful in measuring the strength of publishing is the health of its new genes. I have a large soft spot for debut novels (having yanked more than my fair share of them out of talented young authors who fought me tooth and nail the whole time), and 2012 was an exciting, encouraging year […]

Lucky Jim!

Our book today is Kingsley Amis’ 1954 debut novel Lucky Jim, the recent New York Review of Books re-issue of which prompted a literary friend of mine to lament, “Do we really need this? Am I missing something, or is this thing just a boring, overpraised academia-novel that was never that good to begin with?” This […]

Six for a Start!

An ongoing library book sale is a glorious thing. The prices are fantastically generous (I’ve been to some such sales where paperbacks are priced by the bushel, like farmstand vegetables), and the selection can be as idiosyncratic as the institution’s patronage. Themes appear and disappear like heat mirages, and on any given day, you can […]

Eight Great Books – by Women!

One good list deserves another! This time, it’s eight great novels by women!

The Persian Boy!

Mary Renault’s terrific novel about Alexander the Great – and the teenage boy who warmed his bed at night.

Eight Good Reads!

Eight very good novels from the last decade or so, to entertain and amuse you!

The Ogre!

A grim and stunning World War II novel by an overlooked modern master.

Pope Patrick!

A smiling novel about a simple Irish cardinal who suddenly becomes Pope

The Pigeon!

A man’s numbing daily routine is interrupted by the sudden appearance of a pigeon.


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