Book Review: Passing (1929) by Nella Larsen #NovNov

Passing (1929) by Nella Larsen, written and set during the Harlem renaissance, is a complex novel, which as its name suggests, navigates themes of race and identity which form a central thread in the book but also much more, for themes of marriage and relationships are also key, besides others like motherhood, class and society.…

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Book Review: Paying Guests by E. F. Benson #1929Club

Paying Guests by author, biographer, and memoirist E. F. Benson, first published in 1929, is a standalone novel, which appeared in publication order somewhere between his best-known Mapp and Lucia books. This story is set in the fictional Bolton Spa and around Wentworth, a boarding house which is far more elegant and luxurious than others,…

Book Review: The Half Sisters by Geraldine Jewsbury

The Half Sisters (1848) is a novel by lesser-known Victorian writer Geraldine Jewsbury whose books are described as feminist, and which often questioned the conventional norms and roles that women at the time were confined to. Jewbury who was a novelist, book reviewer (with around 2,000 reviews to her credit, many for the Athenaeum), and…

Book Review: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Many nursery rhymes, much like fairy tales, even though they are now largely read by children, have rather dark and sinister meanings and undertones, whether it is ‘Three Blind Mice’ or ‘Ring a Ring o Roses’ or ‘Mary Mary Quite Contrary’ dealing with themes like the plague or religious persecution. Agatha Christie is quite the…

Book Review: Attendant Lords: Bairam Khan and Abdur Rahim: Courtiers & Poets in Mughal India by T.C.A. Raghavan

Taking its title from T.S. Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrock, Attendant Lords: Bairam Khan and Abdur Rahim: Courtiers & Poets in Mughal India (2017), traces the stories of Bairam Khan (1501–1561) and his son Abdur Rahim (1556–1627), nobles of Persian ancestry who together served under the first four Mughal emperors and rose to high positions (both…

Book Review: Tokyo Express by Seichō Matsumoto and translated by Jesse Kirkwood

My thanks to Penguin Press UK and NetGalley for a review copy of this book. Tokyo Express is a Japanese mystery/detective novel by Seichō Matsumoto, first published in 1958 and in this version, translated by Jesse Kirkwood. Having only read two of Seishi Yokomizo’s Kindaichi mysteries so far, when this showed up on NetGalley, I…

Book Review: The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa and translated by Stephen Snyder

The Housekeeper and the Professor is a beautiful and poignant story of maths and numbers, of baseball, but most of all of a deep bond of friendship and affection formed between three unlikely but in their own ways lonely souls—a mathematics professor who retains old memories and has a good brain but is unable to…

Book Review: Death on Gokumon Island by Seishi Yokomizo and translated by Louise Heal Kawai

My thanks to Pushkin Press and Edelweiss for a review copy of this book. Death on Gokumon Island by Seishi Yokomizo, first published in 1971 is the fourth of Yokomizo’s mysteries to be published in translation by Pushkin Press under their Pushkin Vertigo imprint, from the series featuring his detective Kindaichi Kosuke, which has 77…

Book Review: Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier #DDMReadingWeek

Frenchman’s Creek is a novel of romance, of adventure, of pirates and of Cornwall, and rather different from the gothic, suspense/thriller themes one usually associates with her. A novel I’d enjoyed very much on my first read years ago, this was a revisit for Ali’s #DDMReadingWeek for this year. In Frenchman’s Creek, we meet the…