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Articles by Melanie Gay

About Melanie Gay

A former literary agent with three published novels of her own, Melanie retains her life-long love of the written word and recently mastered the Kindle. She is currently writing a historical novel set in 17th Century Britain and Holland. More Posts


Inspired by the excellent Ken Burns documentary of Ernest Hemingway I decided to read one of his works. For Whom the Bell tolls I read at school and found it heavy going. Farewell to Arms I knew the story from the film. I’m not a reader of short stories so I plumped for the audio version of The [...]

July 30, 2021 // 0 Comments

Recent fiction: Barcelona Dreaming & Widowland

Both the above two books – written by Rupert Thomson and C.L. Carey – were favourably reviewed but I had not heard of either author. Barcelona Dreaming is three interlocking short stories set in modern Barcelona. In the first Amy, who has a curio shop, meets a young Moroccan outside [...]

July 14, 2021 // 0 Comments

A Good Read

An interesting issue was raised in this week’s Good Read on Radio 4 presented by Harriet Gilbert – namely, you can enjoy a book at one period of your life but not in another. She gave as her example The Franchise Affaire by Josephine Tey. I read a lot of Christopher Isherwood as a kid [...]

July 8, 2021 // 0 Comments

The Rock Pool (Cyril Connolly) and The Shot (Philip Kerr)

I am an enthusiast and when I review a book it’s generally  in the hope that it will be read. However in the above two I have no such aspirations. I must have read The Rock Pool at least 40 years ago when I had a greater interest in writers of the 1930s. It struck me as a louche account of [...]

May 15, 2021 // 0 Comments

Project library

My main project for Lockdown 3 was to overhaul my library. This proved both rewarding and challenging. I located books I never knew I had and a few I never wanted. I found some old favourites – like a beaten up paperback of Keith Waterhouse’s Our Song, a humorous bittersweet account of his [...]

March 23, 2021 // 0 Comments

On Chapel Sands/Laura Cumming

Laura Cummimg’s non-fiction book is the story of the abduction of a three year old girl from the beach at Chapel Sands, Lincolnshire. To say more would be a spoiler as Laura Cumming is the narrator and at the beginning of the book the relationship between her and the abducted girl is unclear. [...]

March 16, 2021 // 0 Comments

Presumed Innocent/Scott Turow

Scott Turow is an American best-selling author and this is his first novel published in 1987. It draws from his experience as a Public Attorney in Chicago and is very much a book by a lawyer for lawyers.  This said he has a gift for characterisation and writing. He was described to me by the [...]

February 25, 2021 // 0 Comments

Blood Orange/Harriet Tyce

This debut novel has been hanging about on my Kindle for some time. Harriet Tyce (author) It was recommended both by a good friend who is an art tutor and The Richard and Judy Show.  I fancied a page-turner after some demanding reading. My critical assessment is that it is indeed a page-turner but [...]

January 22, 2021 // 0 Comments

John le Carre

Although espionage is one of my favourite genres, I cannot list John le Carre’s novels amongst my favourites as the smoke and mirrors often left me confused. I preferred the dramatisations and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy remains one of the best productions I have seen on television. I can however [...]

December 15, 2020 // 0 Comments

Trio/William Boyd

A new William Boyd book is always a significant publishing event as he is one of Britain’s most popular novelists and you do not know what to expect. In a writing career that early on embraced drole colonialism in West Africa but has included espionage and a broad sweep of a life by journal in [...]

November 19, 2020 // 0 Comments

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