Posts Tagged ‘brilliance’

then we set ourselves on fire

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

I live in a city where it is considered somewhat normal (even, in some quarters, desirable) to write angry confessional poetry and ‘perform’ it to friends and strangers in pubs. The performance usually consists of attempting to impose some kind of rhythm and meaning on a formless string of half-sentences by way of reading [...]

me and mouse.

Friday, February 14th, 2014

It was a real thrill to hear Armistead Maupin read from his new novel, The Days of Anna Madrigal. In fact, it was spellbinding. It was like being in a room with all his characters, all rolled up into this one extremely funny, lovable, compassionate, quick-witted, joyfully acerbic man.
Maupin’s books are a roly-poly [...]

mountains of the mind

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

The central premise of Robert Macfarlane’s wonderful first book, Mountains of the Mind, is that the mountains we encounter are a strange almalgam of rock, stone, ice and our own imaginations. He suggests that mountains are formed (in some ways) as much by the drift of ideas as by the action of the continents brutally [...]

california

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

When I think of California, I picture a family sitting around a table in a riotous garden. Big avocados and glasses of cold white wine. I think of a friend, a writer, who lives there now. I think of the sea, and mountains, and the sound of car doors slamming. The sun always shining. [...]

new treasure

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

When I was a kid, I read three or four books a day. I really loved to read. I read every book in the house. Then I read every book in the school library, and then I read every book in the kids’ section at the public library. I got hold of books that [...]

everybody needs good neighbours

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

In one of the more hilarious moments of my life, I recently discovered that I am living underneath a troupe of Australian acrobats. I found this out when I went upstairs to politely enquire about the tremendous stamping/thumping/crash-bang-walloping noises they were making. WHAT ARE YOU, GIANTS? ARE YOU SUMO-WRESTLERS? ARE YOU JUST THROWING EACH OTHER [...]

the flame alphabet

Monday, October 15th, 2012

The Flame Alphabet may be the most disturbing book I’ve ever read. The fact that it is beautifully written only adds to the nasty queasy feeling one is left with at the end. The sense of being made complicit in a series of cruel acts. I’ve never read a book which contains so much that [...]

how to paint a dead man, by sarah hall

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Everything that Sarah Hall writes is luminous with genius. Her fourth novel, How to Paint a Dead Man, concerns the intertwining lives of four people, disconnected by place and time. Their stories take place adjacent to one another, are intimately connected, but never share the same temporal geography. For all its vibrancy and currency, its [...]

making strange

Monday, May 7th, 2012

I recently read Alan Garner’s The Stone Book Quartet. It was an incredible experience. I read it in an afternoon, sitting in the kitchen with the dog asleep at my feet, and rain beating against the window. Not that I was aware of my surroundings for long. The voices in those pages spoke directly to [...]

the city and the city

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

For some reason, my book love has grown huge again of late. It may simply be a symptom of my gradual return to decent health after a few years of battling with various conditions that left me depressed, depleted and utterly exhausted. My brain has started to work a bit, my neurons are getting sparky, [...]