Books

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - AUGUST 2017 (Reviews)

 

john_K_pic.jpg

John Klassen

Colm Toibin

Toibin (1955-) is an Irish novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, journalist and critic. House of Names is Toibin's eleventh book. Other popular novels include The Master, The Blackwater Lightship, Brooklyn, The Testament of Mary, Nora Webster.

Continue Reading

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - JULY 2017 (Reviews)

 

John Klassen

David Grossman

Grossman (1954-) is an Israeli author.. He has written a number of fiction and non-fiction books, and has garnered a long list of literary prizes, the most recent being the International Man Booker for his novel: A Horse Walks into a Bar.

Continue Reading

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - MAY 2017 - By John Klassen (Reviews)

   John Klassen

Hideo Yokoyama
Yokoyama (1957-) worked for twelve years as an investigative reporter for a regional newspaper in Japan before turning to crime fiction. He has written six books. Six Four sold a million copies in the first six days when it was published in Japan; it is the first of Yokoyama's novels to be translated into English.

Continue Reading

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - JUNE 2017 (Reviews)

John Klassen

 

J.G. Farrell

Farrell (1935-1979) was born in Liverpool, of Irish descent. He died at 44, swept out to sea while fishing from the shore in Ireland. Farrell wrote eight novels (two published posthumously), but he is best known for the Empire Trilogy: Troubles (1970), The Siege of Krishnapur (1973), and The Singapore Grip (1978). The overarching theme of the Trilogy, which is clearly on display in Troubles, is the human and political consequences and costs of British colonial rule.

Continue Reading

KLASSEN'S RECOMMENDATION FOR SPRING READING By John Klassen (Review)

john_K_pic.jpg

 

 

Eric Ambler (1909-1998) was a British author, and screenwriter, best known for his thriller/spy novels. In many of his novels, the protagonist is rarely a professional spy, a police officer, or a counter-intelligence operative; he is, instead, an amateur who finds himself haphazardly and unwillingly in the company of criminals or spies with real threats to his life. This is very much the approach of The Mask of Dimitrios (first published in 1939) which is often cited as one of the best of Ambler's novels. test

Continue Reading

THE BEST IN FICTION AND NON-FICTION IN 2016 By John Klassen (Reviews)

 

        John Klassen

 FICTION

Robert Harris: Cicero Trilogy: Imperium, Lustrum, Dictator
Historical fiction that brings alive the time, place, society, and personalities that defined the evolution of Rome and its empire, all framed through the life of one of the main protagonists. Cicero had neither family name, nor wealth, nor military exploits to his credit; what he did have was overweening ambition, a brilliant mind, and peerless ability as an orator, that let him scheme and manipulate and sway individuals and mobs. Life was a malestrom of shifting fortunes and political climates in which Cicero survived a long time, in and out of the pinnacles of influence and power, but in the end, he paid with his life. Not only excellent history but, in Harris's hands, page-turners that are hard to put down.

Continue Reading

KLASSEN ON BOOKS -November 2016 - By John Klassen (Review)

Print all

In new window

 john_K_pic.jpg

W.G. Sebald

Sebald, (1944-2001) has been described as, "one of contemporary literature's most transformative figures."  A retrospective on his writing said that his four prose fictions, Vertigo, The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn, Austerlitz are, "...utterly unique. They combine memoir, fiction, travelogue, history, and biography in the crucible of his haunting prose style to create a strange new literary compound." Sebald himself once described his writing as "documentary fiction."  He also believed that the horrors of the 20th century could not be approached directly because their enormity would paralyse the ability to think about them morally and rationally. They must, therefore, be approached obliquely, and is what he achieved in Austerlitz, approaching the Holocaust.

Continue Reading

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - OCTOBER 2016 - By John Klassen

 

john_K_pic.jpg

John Klassen

Sarah Bakewell, (1962-) is an English writer of non-fiction. She has published four books: The Smart (about an 18th century forgery); The English Dane (about a 19th century adventurer who was a key player in a revolution in Iceland to break from Danish control); How To Live: A Life of Montaigne; her latest is At the Existentialist Cafe (about the existentialist movement).

Continue Reading

"YOUR COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY" BY ROBERT BOTHWELL - Book Review by Jeremy Kinsman

  

kinsman_june_2016.jpg

 

 

 

Jeremy Kinsman

"Who do we think we are?"

That huge identity question roils the world, including our closest relations. Many Scots want to leave Britain, especially if Britain leaves the EU. Other Europeans are challenged by the integration of refugees from other places, especially Muslims. Eastern Europeans who had longed to join their old European cultural family have ended up disappointed.

Continue Reading