Thursday, 18 October 2012


Now that I've completed my course of academic study (for now at any rate), I have been free to read stuff for fun, without taking notes and worrying about whether or not it'll come up in the assignments. Some of the stuff I've got through is:

John Le Carre - Call for the Dead
His first novel introducing George Smiley and 'the Circus', first published in 1961. I think I first read it thirty years ago but I'm not sure. Either way, it's pretty good and not quite as complicated as some of Le Carre's later Smiley stories. There's a nice tension created as Smiley realises his East German foe is one of his former colleagues when both were fighting the Nazis.

Andrew Motion - Silver
I would have thought that the former poet laureate was an unlikely candidate to write a sequel to Treasure Island but he hasn't done a bad job at all. He's tried to stick to R L Stevenson's style of adventure and complement Stevenson's writing, with outright scoundrels and other less than clear cut goodies and baddies, only letting himself down by introducing a 'love interest'. Enjoyable, if a bit slow to get going.

Monica Ali - Brick Lane
Well written in that the author gets you to identify early on with the central protagonist, a young Bangladeshi woman relocated to Tower Hamlets in an arranged marriage. Quite compelling reading which raises all the issues associated with the problems of immigration and cultural integration.

Black comedy, written in a pseudo-Wodehouse style. Amusing and quite ingenious premise in which gormless twit Eric Rowbotham has to escort the corpse of his late Uncle Luigi around Monte Carlo. Hilarity ensues as he is pursued by the Mafia and a lady lawyer from a Dogs' Home. Wot a larf! There has been a musical Lucky Stiff based on the book, and there is a forthcoming film.

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