Thursday, January 27, 2011

General Fiction – Arturo Perez Reverte, Jean Rhys, George Saunders, Carol Shields, Susan Sontag, Patrick Suskind, Graham Swift, Steve Szilagyi

Arturo Perez Reverte, though not a household name, is quite well known as the author of The Dumas Club and many other books. I have several of his novels, including The Dumas Club below. The Dumas Club was made into the film by Roman Polanski. Called The Ninth Gate, it totally ignored the Dumas portion of the book, and concentrated instead on the quest for the mysterious magic book.


A writer of mostly depressing books, Jean Rhys is best known for the novel Wide Sargasso Sea, a sort of prequel to Jane Eyre, telling the story of Rochester’s mad wife.


George Saunders on the other hand writes weird, funny sad stories of dysfunctional persons, set in his own off beat universe. CivilWarLand In Bad Decline contains the stories "Offloading for Mrs. Schwartz" and “Downtrodden Mary's Failed Campaign of Terror", which sort of gives you an idea of his style. Pastoralia includes the superb short story The Falls available here on online.

saunders_civilwarland saunders_pastoralia

Now you don’t hear much about Canadian writer Carol Shields these days, no doubt because she passed away in 2003. Her novel The Stone Diaries won the Pulitzer Prize and several other awards in 1993. I recently reread the three of her books I could find in my library and enjoyed them enormously. I thought i had a copy of her novel The Republic of Love, but have yet to unearth it. Happenstance is actually two novels, back to back, telling firstly the wife’s story, then the husband’s or the other way around if you so wish.


shields_happenstance shields_maryswann

The Volcano Lover by Susan Sontag is the superbly written story of vulcanologist Sir William Hamilton and Emma Hamilton who became the mistress of Lord Horatio Nelson.


Patrick Suskind is famous for just one book – Perfume The Story of a Murderer, published in 1985.


English writer Graham Swift is fairly well known and won the Booker Prize in 1996 for his novel Last Orders. My favourite of his books is Waterland, which alas I can no longer find on my bookshelf. I have others…

swift_outofthisworld swift_shuttlecock

And to end this post, the wonderful Photographing Fairies by Steve Szilagyi, loosely based on the Cottingley Fairies. It’s written with blithe insouciance, a style that belies the darker nature of the story.


I’m drawing to the end of this particular part of my book collection, but will go back to it later on, as there are still heaps of interesting fiction books to scan.

Coming up next will be “T” writers then “W” to “Y” after that.

No comments: