Asides

Proust begins

I’ve started working my way through Neville Jason’s excellent narration of Proust’s classic In Search of Lost Time.  Here’s my brief review from goodreads.com of the (21 hours long!) first volume.

Swann's Way (In Search of Lost Time, #1)Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Revisiting an author I avoided when I studied French at university, I was surprised that Proust’s writing was more accessible than I had feared. Not that it immediately grabs you: the vast sentences with their minute analysis of characters’ motives (“Nooo, not another subclause – my puny intellect can’t cope!”) engages you only slowly. Don’t look for a page-turning twist-driven plot here. What you get is a sort of beautifully-written, melancholy and contemplative retrospective set in fin de siecle France and driven by the big themes of love and memory.

View all my reviews

Book review – Christian Nation by Frederic C. Rich

My review on Goodreads.com of this book I read in February:

Christian NationChristian Nation by Frederic C. Rich

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Without realising it, I appear to have become a fan of dystopian counterfactual fiction. (Wow, is that, you know,  A Thing?). This particular novel certainly fits into that category, presenting as a memoir the events leading up to the establishment of a brutal Christian theocracy in the USA. The protagonist is a liberal-minded New York lawyer, who helps a charismatic friend battle the forces of a “dominionist” (Google it!) Christian movement that uses a Palin presidency as springboard to power. Implausible? Unlikely, but not necessarily implausible given the assistance of some unpredictable events that the dominionists seize on to do, as the author is at pains to point out, “what they said they would do”. It reads sometimes as polemic, the traditional twists and turns of plot never really happen and some might find the lengthy passages of legal exposition a turnoff, but I wasn’t bothered by these flaws. I had, in fact, expected a slightly trashier read but was pleasantly surprised by its erudition.

View all my reviews