Posted in April 2014

A House and Its Head by Ivy Compton-Burnett (1935)

Review by George Simmers (see his Great War Fiction blog here) A House and its Head is the story of a family ruled by the whim of Duncan, the despotic patriarch, who dominates and humiliates his wife, his daughters and his nephew, mostly by the use of a pedantic wit that reminds them of their subordinate status. … Continue reading

Elizabeth Taylor and Ivy Compton-Burnett

We had a delightful reading group the other day reading Elizabeth Taylor and Ivy Compton-Burnett. I have long thought that Taylor is one of the best novelists of the twentieth century, but Compton-Burnett – well, I try to read her and I fail. She is widely acknowledged as a ‘marmite’ author: you either love her … Continue reading

The Rosemary Tree by Elizabeth Goudge (1956)

Elizabeth Goudge’s children’s novels have many admirers, but our reading group found her adult novels pretty heavy-going. Jane wrote of The White Witch: ‘Oh dear! I was ploughing through it but it’s like trying to swim in treacle. Heady with simile, smeared with cloying descriptions, dobbed all over with an overdose of adjectives and adverbs … Continue reading

White Fang by Jack London (1907)

Review by Helen N This was quite a hard read for me. If it is not inappropriate to talk about gender-specific books, this is very much a man’s book. Particularly at the time it was written it would have been written for a masculine audience, who would have had experience of hunting and working with … Continue reading

A Son of the Sun by Jack London (1912)

Review by Sylvia D A Son of the Sun is a collection of short stories, all of which originally ran in the Saturday Evening Post in 1911 and all of which feature the adventures of Captain David Grief, a self-made fleet and plantation owner plying his trade in the South Pacific. Grief owns a number … Continue reading

The Scarlet Plague by Jack London (1912)

Review by George Simmers (see his Great War Fiction blog here) First published in London Magazine in 1912, then in book form by Macmillan in 1915. In The Scarlet Plague the human race has been all but wiped out by a devastating epidemic, an apocalyptic theme that has become popular in later science fiction. Jack … Continue reading