Literature

Reading or stagnating?

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 11:52
Reading group

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or book long enough to suit me.” – C. S. Lewis

When I was a young child, I learned an appreciation for the written word through both of my parents reading aloud to me and through listening to audiobooks on long car trips.

Somewhere during the dreaded forced reading during my secondary and tertiary schooling, I lost my fascination with reading. Then, over time, with that lack, I noticed other things were lacking.

The Glorious Heresies

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 11:48
GH cover

Lisa McInerney’s The Glorious Heresies is a strong debut novel, which won her the Bailey’s Women’s Prize in 2016.

McInerney was already known for her blog, Arse End of Ireland, in which McInerney spoke about the impacts of the financial crash on Ireland’s poorest. The novel continues similar themes, focusing on those forced into the fringes of society in Cork.

The Good Soldier Schwejk

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 17/04/2019 - 10:18
good soldier

Jill Mountford reviews The Good Soldier Schwejk (and His Fortunes in the World War) - written by Jaroslav Hasek, published 1923, adapted and directed by Christine Edzard, Sands Films, 2017. Currently being shown in Rotherhithe, London, and soon to be released on DVD.

Christine Edzard has made it her mission to revive interest in what was possibly the first satirical comedy about the absurdity of war. She adapted The Good Soldier Schwejk (sometimes spelt Svejk, pronounced Shvake) to mark the centenary of World War I.

George Orwell, Spain, and revolution

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 20/03/2019 - 11:19
orwell in spain

In his 1947 essay, “Why I Write”, George Orwell explained:

“The Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it…”

Homage to Catalonia, in which Orwell bore witness to the murder of the Spanish Revolution, was the product of this defining period of Orwell’s life, at least the literary and political equal of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The Satanic Verses thirty years on

Submitted by AWL on Sat, 02/03/2019 - 08:56
Rushdie

It is thirty years since the publication of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses, partly based on the life of the founder of Islam, Muhammad, sparked protests across the Muslim world, with riots in India and Pakistan in which dozens of Rushdie's fellow Muslims were shot dead, book burnings on the streets of Britain, and ultimately an Iranian death sentence which sent its author into hiding under armed police guard.

The anxieties of Brexit Britain

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:18
middle england

Jonathan Coe’s latest volume Middle England has been widely described as the best “state of the nation” novel of the last decade, and deservedly so. Whilst Ali Smith’s Autumn was an impressionistic take on the immediate aftermath of the referendum – the first post-Brexit novel – Coe’s book manages to balance the coverage of political events in the run up to June 2016 with an intimate look at how it all unfolds in the lives of characters last seen in Coe’s two Rotters’ Club novels, as well as introducing many new ones.

Where they linger

Submitted by cathy n on Wed, 14/11/2018 - 06:33

In Wayétu Moore’s debut novel She Would Be King, set in the 1840s, three characters find their lives intertwining with each other, and with the future of the newly created Liberia.

All are fleeing persecution: Gbessa, accused of witchcraft, is driven from the West African village of Lai; June Dey escapes from a Virginia tobacco plantation, headed for freedom in New York; and Norman Aragon, child of a Jamaican Maroon and a British colonist, longs to escape his father’s cruel experiments. The three seek sanctuary, and find themselves in Monrovia.

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