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Articles by Melanie Gay

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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

The Age of Innocence/Edith Wharton

Having enjoyed The Reef I moved onto Edith Wharton’s best-known work The Age of Innocence. Published in 1920 when she was 58 it won her the Pulitzer prize , the first woman to achieve this. The central character is Archer Newland, a young and rich lawyer, and the novel is set in the Gilded Age of [...]

May 25, 2023 // 0 Comments

April in Spain/John Banville

John Banville is an Irish writer who has won the Booker Prize for The Sea and written murder mystery novels under the pseudonym Benjamin Black. This novel has a double narrator – psychopath hitman Terry Tice and retired Dublin pathologist John Quirke – and a double setting – [...]

May 9, 2023 // 0 Comments

The Reef / Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton the first female writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Age of Innocence is a novelist of whom I have heard but not read. The Reef was written by her in 1912. The story is of George Darrow , a 37 year old diplomat , travelling to see his fiancée the widow Anna Leath in France. She [...]

April 19, 2023 // 0 Comments

The Heath /Hunter Davies

The Heath is a vade mecum by writer and journalist Hunter Davies of a year in the life of Hampstead Heath (2019-2020). The author, born in Cumbria, has lived most of his life in Hampstead and is therefore well-qualified to give this well written, enthusiastic and informative account. He covers the [...]

April 19, 2023 // 0 Comments

Manderley Forever/Tatiana de Rosnay

My immediate reaction upon reading Tatiana de Rosnay’s biography of Daphne du Maurier is do we need another one? Margaret Forster has written the definitive biography. Justine Picardie’s Daphne covers a critical period in her life when the latter was under time pressure to produce a biography [...]

March 29, 2023 // 0 Comments

Reappraising Jane Austen

In a previous post I was rather negative about the Jane Austen novel Persuasion.   In last week ‘s edition of Radio 4’s In Our Time various academics discussed its importance and made many good points that I had missed on the characterisation, observation and depiction of Bath. Here is a link [...]

December 25, 2022 // 0 Comments

Bournville/Jonathan Coe

Jonathan Coe is emerging as the chronicler of our times. In his latest novel Bournville he traces the origins of Brexit back to VE Day – and subsequent noteworthy events thereafter – as seen through the eyes of the Lamb family who live in the Bournville suburb of Birmingham an utopian [...]

November 16, 2022 // 0 Comments

The Romantic/William Boyd

You never what to expect in a William Boyd novel but – like Any Human Heart – this is a sweeping cradle-to-grave story of Cashel Ross set in the nineteenth century. Cashel was born in Cork. He was told his parents had died when their boat capsized and he was brought up by his Scottish [...]

November 3, 2022 // 0 Comments

Petworth Literary Festival/Simon Sebag Montefiore

Yesterday I attended the Petworth Literary Festival where Simon Sebag Montefiore was interviewed by Davide Soskin about his new book The World.    This is a history of the world through families. His thesis is that the treatment of history is too narrow – whether of a country or a [...]

October 31, 2022 // 0 Comments

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont

This 1971 novel by Elizabeth Taylor – her eleventh – short-listed for the Booker Prize [images herein taken from the 2005 US-produced movie version of the same name directed by Dan Ireland with a largely-British cast list headed by Joan Plowright as Mrs Palfrey and Rupert Friend as [...]

October 24, 2022 // 0 Comments

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