Jack Messenger | Feed the Monkey

Reading | Reviewing | BLEATING INTO A GUNNY SACK | Writing | Publishing

Farewell Olympus Goodreads Review

Another Excellent Goodreads Review for Farewell Olympus

Farewell Olympusis an enjoyable and elegantly constructed romp around fraternal rivalry, family dynamics, literary aspiration, self-definition and the stories we tell ourselves and others. Someone should snap up the film rights.’ See the complete review at Goodreads Review

The Stendhal Summer | Laurie Levy

The Stendhal Summer by Laurie Levy

Somewhere, surely, a psychologist has written at length on the significance and symbolism of humanity’s baggage. In particular, handbags and tote bags can carry us as much as we carry them, and their fetishization as objects of desire and aspiration means we perform our cherished self-identities every time we drape them lovingly over our shoulder or grasp them warily at arm’s length.

The central character in Laurie Levy’s The Stendhal Summer, Alison Miller, carries a lot of baggage on her trip to Europe. She struggles to wrangle her luggage on and off trains, in and out of taxis and hotels, up and down stairs. Alison, 54, is a professional PR writer from Chicago. Her husband George has left her for his latest young conquest, their twins Abbie and Dan are concerned for her happiness, her mother worries Alison will be mugged or worse. Alison has taken the risk of blowing her life savings in pursuit of her great love, the French author Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle, 1783–1842), whose biography she plans to write. Her travels take her from Grenoble to Milan, Civitavecchia, Rome and Paris; along the way, she meets old friends, encounters new ones, and is reawakened to the possibilities of life and love.

Continue reading

Farewell OlympusAnother ★★★★★ Review

I loved reading Farewell Olympus. It was a page-turner with humor and insight, the characters were complicated and fun, and the story started simply and played out in a more complicated way with Paris as the setting. But Paris as a place to live and work and not the romanticized faux version of baguettes or berets. Although easy to read, I had to look up several words which were seamlessly woven into the narrative but were new to me. Amazon US review

 

Reykjavík | Tom Maremaa

Reykjavík by Tom MaremaaReykjavík is a novel of the Cold War and its aftermath which takes as its starting point the Reykjavík summit in October 1986 between US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.

Dylan Rose, aged 24, is the foreign correspondent for a New York paper. While in Iceland to cover the summit, he unexpectedly encounters Professor Nathalie Campbell, his former teacher of Russian at Berkeley, who herself meets and falls in love with Russian scientist Andrei Heilemann. Over subsequent decades, their lives criss-cross against the backdrop of the dissolution of the Soviet Empire and the rise of oligarch mobsterism in the new Russia. Andrei’s brother Mikhail is one such oligarch, and his personal/political vendetta with Andrei leads to espionage, danger, persecution and murder.

Continue reading

Crowd of One | Filip Severin

Crowd of OneIn Someone Else’s Conspiracy: a book review of Crowd of One, a novel by Filip Severin

The epigraph to Crowd of One is taken from Edward Bernays, one of the least-known and most influential figures of the modern era: ‘Men are rarely aware of the real reasons which motivate their actions.’ Bernays pioneered what eventually became known as public relations (aka propaganda) by applying crowd psychology to control the ‘herd instincts’ of the ‘irrational masses’. What he termed the ‘crystallizing’ of public opinion rapidly evolved over the course of the twentieth century into the manufacturing of consent to the political and commercial imperatives of society’s managers and elites. Like it or not, we all live in Bernays’ world.

Continue reading

Verne R. Albright: Two Novels and Twenty-Three Years

Verne Albright lives in Calgary, Canada. He worked on two novels for twenty-three years and in the process received 153 rejection notices from agents and publishers. Again and again, friends and family told him his books were better than most that get published and that the publishers and agents were wrong. But rather than feel sorry for himself, he recognized the need to improve his manuscripts, which he did over and over until a publisher finally accepted them with enthusiasm.

For more on Verne Albright’s two historical fiction/adventure novels, see Playing Chess with God and The Wrath of God, or click/tap on the cover images.

Playing Chess with God by Verne Albright

The Wrath of God by Verne Albright

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

Apocalypse Chow | David Julian Wightman

Apocalypse Chow‘Mistah Kurtz – he dead’: a book review of Apocalypse Chow, a novel by David Julian Wightman

The subtitle to Apocalypse Chow describes it as a ‘remix of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness’. Pastiche, parody, or whatever we wish to call it is a difficult art, made more difficult if the original is a pillar of the western literary canon of which many people have heard, but few have read. Conrad’s prose is too dense and allusive for contemporary tastes, the novel was written a long time ago, and one has to be prepared to work hard to get to grips with it.

Continue reading

« Older posts