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The Makioka Sisters /Junichiro Tanizaki

Junichoro Tanizaki is one of the Japanese literary giants of the twentieth century. I was invited to a book club where the book under review was his The Makioka Sisters. This is the story of 4 sisters, the daughters of an Osakan merchant, whose family wealth and status is dwindling in the 1930s. I [...]

February 16, 2019 // 0 Comments

Normal people/ Sally Rooney

Irish writer Sally Rooney is very much ‘literary flavour of the month’ with two successful and critically-acclaimed novels now published. Her second Normal People I approached with some wariness. It won the Costa Prize and there was some concern that it failed to land the Man Booker. [...]

January 11, 2019 // 0 Comments

History as bunk (or maybe not)

It inevitably comes with the territory that dramatic depictions of historical figures and events have a tenuous relationship with the actualité. On several levels there is nothing particularly bizarre in that statement if you think about it. Let’s begin with the fact that virtually all dramatic [...]

January 4, 2019 // 0 Comments

Family times

They say that simple things please simple minds. Over time the Byfords, who love playing parlour games such as Name In The Hat, a variation of it – sometimes known as Who Am I? – in which everyone is issued with a ‘sticky’ on their forehead on which is written the name of a [...]

January 3, 2019 // 0 Comments

Book journal

One thing we don’t do on the Rust is product endorsement for financial gain. Readers may not realise that when, for example, a celebrity is recommending somewhere or something in a newspaper he/she is expecting a high payment. So when I recommend the Moleskine range of journals it is because [...]

December 28, 2018 // 0 Comments

Justin Cartwright

One discovers the death of someone one knows in all sorts of ways. Normally somebody closer to the deceased than I informs me. Yesterday I learned of the passing of novelist Justn Cartwright aged 73 from his obituary in the Telegraph. A few years ago I saw quite a bit of him. I was a consultant to [...]

December 11, 2018 // 0 Comments

Disobedience

I was interested to see this recently released film directed by Chilean Sebastian Lelio as I had read the book by Naomi Alderman and I have family who live in the Hendon Jewish community in which it is set. The novel – Naomi Alderman’s first – won her the Orange Prize but was not [...]

December 7, 2018 // 0 Comments

Tombland/CJ Sansom

Historical faction has proved a popular genre but some are better than others and CJ Sansom in his Shardlake series is the best. Why so? In his Shardlake novels you get three things: (1) a murder mystery; (2) social and political history; and (3) colourful characters. Tombland is his 7th Shardlake [...]

November 27, 2018 // 0 Comments

Bateman House, Burwash

On what may well be the last hot day of this glorious summer extending into autumn, I was delighted to be visiting yesterday Bateman’s, the home of Rudyard Kipling, just east of Lewes which he bought in 1902 for £9,300 which came with 33 acres. At the height of his popularity and fame Kipling [...]

October 11, 2018 // 0 Comments

An early ending

At what stage does a disgruntled reader give up on his/her book? It’s an issue that troubles many a book club. Some have rules that provided the member gives a cogent reason he/she can give up. I was guest at one where Saul Bellow novel The Adventures of Argie March was “set”. At least half [...]

October 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

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