‘A Terrible Kindness’ by Jo Browning Wroe

In 21 October 1966, a coal slag heap fell on top of Pantglas Junior School and neighbouring houses in the small mining village of Aberfan in South Wales, killing 116 children and 28 adults. This is fact. I remember it happening. I can see now the headline in our local paper, lying on a chair... Continue Reading →

‘The High Mountains of Portugal’ by Yann Martel

Yes, the high mountains of Portugal do exist, in the north east of the country, but, as the author writes, they are not very high at all. A more exact description of them would be a 'plateau', of scrubland and moor. The book The High Mountains of Portugal falls into three parts, with three different... Continue Reading →

Review: Here We Are by Graham Swift

This book won the Booker Prize in 1996. 'Here We Are' is short (195 pages in medium font size) and gentle. The setting is Brighton and the summer of 1959, immediately before the whirlwind that was the 1960s blew in and 'modern life' begun. Magician Ronnie and his assistant Evie are performing in variety on... Continue Reading →

Two French Detectives…

Last week found me reading two very different French detectives: Maigret and the Lost Girl by Georges Simeon and The Dying Season by Martin Walker. What had they in common, apart from their Frenchness? Nothing, except that these books were chosen for the September meeting of the St Andrew's Book Club, which I missed through... Continue Reading →

‘Regeneration’ by Pat Barker

I am quite the wrong sort of reader for this book, and therefore the wrong person to be reviewing it.  War and soldiers are not my thing at all.  Poetry, I don't get on with, either.   I read it because it was the St Andrew's Book Club book.  Last month it was Sidney Chambers and the... Continue Reading →

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

'The Elegance of the Hedgehog' is a literary novel, set in an expensive Left Bank apartment block in Paris.  The hedgehog is the despised concierge, Renee Michel, apparently the stereotype of her profession.  She looks dowdy, appears slow of intellect, owns a cat and the sound of her television blares from her flat.  Her tenants... Continue Reading →

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