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Bitter Orange

by Claire Fuller.┬áLyntons is an abandoned crumbling hulk of a once grand mansion in the English countryside. Its history interrupted by war when it was ravaged by military occupation. Cara, Peter & Frances, three damaged souls spend a summer in 1969 together in its ruins, a reflection of their own lives. Debauched and guilt-ridden, they use each other to deflect their own pain. It’s a tightly written piece which brings the reader into the scene. Victor the Vicar the only flaw. A better read than many this year. The second… Read more Bitter Orange

The Witch Elm

by Tana French. Another hapless self-defeating young man. Seems to be a theme in recent reads. Without getting political, it’s an interesting phenomenon in the world of feminism and “toxic masculinity”. Maybe toxic misandry is more likely to have taken hold. This is a very long meandering “who done it”. Who didn’t? Mostly grey rather than black or white. Luck as a character. Life as an albatross. Based on a real mystery about Bella of 1943 whose skeleton was discovered in a Wych Elm. This tale takes on deception, harassment,… Read more The Witch Elm

Carol’s Carrel 2018

Best of the Year Golden Hill, Francis Spufford Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie Autumn, Ali Smith Shipping Out, David Foster Wallace Worth the Read The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin Warlight, Michael Ondaatje Memento Park, Mark Sarvas French Exit, Patrick DeWitt The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry Asymmetry, Lisa Halliday The Innocent Wife (Red River), Amy Lloyd The Witch Elm, Tana French Bitter Orange, Claire Fuller Light Reading The French Girl, Lexie Elliott Laura and Emma, Kate Greathead The Ghost Notebooks, Ben Dolnick Social Creature, Tara Isabella Burton The Banker’s Wife, Cristina Alger A… Read more Carol’s Carrel 2018

Holiday Book Ideas

From Esquire. Already read Laura & Emma, Warlight, French Exit. Okay, Good, Very Good. Dr. Husband read A Long Way From Home. Not so much. He did love Milkman. Man-Booker winner 2018.

Melmoth

by Sarah Perry. Should have realized after reading Perry’s Essex Serpent that this would be another unscary Halloween story. Melmoth, the old witness who sees all of our bad deeds, is a witchy figure dressed in black. She lurks everywhere. The one who denied seeing Jesus rise from the dead. She’s the lore of many countries told to little children by their sadistic parents. Guilt. Shame. Conscience. She follows them through life. Spooky? No. For such a horrible portent, the stories told through letters and documents and by Helen, a… Read more Melmoth

Red River

by Amy Lloyd. That is the original title, for which Lloyd won the first novel prize by Daily Mail/ Penguin Press. She is from Cardiff, Wales. Red River is much more appealing and apt than what it is marketed as in the States,┬áThe Innocent Wife. Why it was changed I cannot imagine. It doesn’t describe the work, and it sounds like chick lit. Somehow I got past the title and tried the book. Wanted a quick weekend diversion. Although it is a mystery, there are nuances and layers which are… Read more Red River

French Exit

by Patrick deWitt. An amuse bouche. Enough to whet the palate for more of his work. Delightful writing style. Wit. Irony. Colorful cast of characters. From the Upper East Side to Paris. What could be better on a brisk Autumn afternoon? Frances and her husband Franklin are quite the couple. In more ways than one. They are horrible parents to their son Malcolm, ignoring him at best and at worst abandoning him at boarding school, even during the holidays. Until Frank dies. Then Frances jumps to being a little too… Read more French Exit