Books 2010

Books 2009

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Saturday, 29 September 2007


I think I was the one who sent it to harriet so am delighted it is doing the rounds! I cannot say I 'liked' this book much either, but I did find it intriguing and anything that has a Venetian background is grist to my mill. It was not emotionally engaging I agree, but is a book that can be read in a emotion free way and treat it as an intellectual puzzle, I was glad I had a chance to see it and it reminded me of Ruth Rendall/barbar vine in its style and content. I have not read any Highsmith so cannot comment on any similarity. I shall have to give them a crack.

Tiger in the Smoke - I only read just recently and agree with eveything you say.

I'm glad I've struck a chord with some people on this - but Harriet need not fear, I was glad to have the chance to read it - I need new authors from time to time, but there so often seems too much gratuitous violence, too much clever plot, and not enough personality and proper narrative nowadays!

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who didn't like this book. I'm afraid I gave up on it in the end on the grounds that I don't have enough time left to spend with characters I really think are too despicable for words, not even if I live to be 90 like my mother.

Sorry you did not like it as I was the one who sent it to Cornflower. However of course it does not measure up to the ones you mention below. The author has written a biog of Highsmith and clearly meant to emulate her Ripley novels.

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  • Nothing is of greater consolation to the author of a novel than the disovery of readings he had not conceived but which are then prompted by his readers. (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose)
  • ... relatively few persons in London ... can afford the luxury of one or more servants. No fewer than 3,700,000 have no servants at all, and of the half million that have servants 227,000 have only one. (The Times, 6 June 1895)
  • Standing among savage scenery, the hotel offers stupendous revelations. There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects. (Tyrolean inn brochure, according to Gerard Hoffnung)
  • (A doctor is at an elderly relative's deathbed) "The old sawbones, eh?" he bellowed ... "Just in the nick, perhaps. Haul the old girl back by the short hairs, if you ask me. Devilish smart at his work ... Always take a fence with more confidence when I know he's out with us."
  • Too often, when a man of Monty Godkin's mental powers is plunged in thought, nothing happens at all. The machinery just whirs for a while, and that is the end of it. (P G Wodehouse, Heavy Weather)
  • ...the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Laurence took his grid (Kipling, The Five nations)

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