The Remains of the Day


I was directed to this novel by CNN presenter Fareed Zakaria when he called it “the best book I read in 2017”.

Being woefully ignorant of the author, Kazuo Ishiguro, I was expecting some literary expose on a subject in Japan. And he has indeed written in this area, but this book is firmly set in English culture, especially as it flourished before the second world war.

It is essentially a memoir/love story of an English butler working in an upper class mansion, Darlington Hall, headed by a politically active 'Lord' in the years leading up to the war.

Things Fall Apart


This story illustrates the meeting of the African tribal, clan life in Nigeria with European colonialists in the form of Christian missionaries.

This novel was originally published in 1957, but was re-released in 2010.

It is organized into two parts with more than 20-five to seven page chapters making it easy to start and stop reading.

The Illegal


Reviewed Aug. 2016

Like Lawrence Hill's other three novels, I found 'The Illegal' compelling reading. His first book 'Any Known Blood' was an easy, mostly comfortable autobiographical read about family relations.

'Some Great Thing' was comparably relaxing with a journalistic setting. A character from that book, Mahatma Grafton, a journalist/editor is re-used in this latest novel.

The Wind Cannot Read


Reviewed May 2016

This is the first of four novels written by Richard Mason. Mason was about 27 when the book was published, variously described as 1946 or 1947.

There seems little connection with the book and the enigmatic title, 'The Wind Cannot Read', which is taken from a line in a Japanese poem.

With a second world war Royal Air Force officer penning a novel based on his experiences one might expect gallantry over the skies of Britain or mainland Europe. But he was far away doing something seemingly quite un-airforcey.

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built


Reviewed January 2012

This is about the tenth book in the series starting with the ‘No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’. Each book in the series involves the same eight to ten characters and is set in Gaberon, the capital of Botswana. Botswana has one of the most civil and best functioning societies in sub Saharan Africa.

As to the title: “traditionally built” is a euphemism for ‘stout’. And that is the build of the heroine of the books.

The Inheritors


Reviewed October 2015

I come to this novel a full 60 years after it was first published. While not as famous as his 'Lord of the Flies', Golding is not alone in thinking 'The Inheritors' his best novel.

And just imagining such a story goes beyond that of most novelists. Most extrapolate and elaborate common modern human themes and experiences to express ideas we can readily share. Golding creates a variant of 'human', our closest ancestor, the neanderthal, and endows them with a way of life and viewing the world.

Goat Song


Reviewed Mar. 2015

While right under my nose, I came to this book circuitously. I had wanted a “disposable” book to take with me on a trip and accustomed to library borrowings, was resisting even the used book prices.

I discovered this historical novel in my own long since augmented book collection. I have no recollection of when or why or how it came into my possession, but it was at least 15 years ago.