Stegner’s Curmudgeon

In Wallace Stegner’s The Spectator Bird, Joe Allston, ex-New York literary agent, has retired to a quiet suburban life in Palo Alto in the 1970’s. One day he gets an innocuous postcard from an acquaintance Denmark he and his wife met … Continue reading

Hard-Boiled Entertainment

This is my second Murakami experience and it was a good one. I read Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and found it relentlessly inventive but not much else. Hard-Boiled, however, has plenty of chewy meat beneath the author’s famous razzle-dazzle style. The … Continue reading

Woolf in the Lighthouse!

To the Lighthouse is a novelistic exploration of individual consciousness and of relationships in the interwar period in Britain. Woolf uses a stream of consciousness technique to tell us what characters are thinking and feeling. The narrator promiscuously jumps from … Continue reading

Southern Gothic Thriller

This mid-century, noirish psychological thriller has something in common with The Maltese Falcon. Both stories feature a classic “MacGuffin,” an arbitrary object of desire that all parties seek, pursuit of which drives the action of the story. The tale also … Continue reading

Just What I Always Wanted!

Interesting writing kept the pages turning for me. Nguyen has a knack for unexpected description and creative simile. A random example: Two men are talking but notice the chairs: “As usual, he reclined in an overstuffed leather club chair that … Continue reading

Ogawa – The Housekeeper and the Professor

This is a lovely slice-of-life tale involving a housekeeper in contemporary Japan who works for an eccentric and brilliant old mathematician who, because of a brain injury, has a working short-term memory of only 80 minutes. She and her preteen … Continue reading

Capek – Rossum’s Universal Robots

Revenge of the Robots RUR is a play, first produced in 1922,  remembered for introducing the word “robot” into the English lexicon. The story is, lifelike robots are manufactured by the millions to be servants and laborers so humans will … Continue reading