26 Following


Letters from a Stoic - Seneca, Robin Campbell

Composed by Seneca the Younger during his retirement after he had worked for Nero for more than a decade, these letters to procurator of Sicily Lucilius Junior inspired Montaigne and a host of others with their practical wisdom, eclectic Stoicism, and varied rhetoric.

Winter's Tale - Mark Helprin

My favorite contemporary fantasy after Gormenghast and Little, Big. The sort of big, yet grounded achievement you don't see too much outside of the Latin American magic realists. Superb, funny, awe-inspiring.

The Twin - Gerbrand Bakker Starts off hard and becomes kind by the end as the lead character finds redemption in the life that has been handed to him partly because of his own weakness.
The Knot of Vipers: A Will of Spite (The Nobel Prize Collection) - Francois Mauriac, Francois Mauriac, Edouard D'Araille, Gerard Hopkins

I don't know if this is Mauriac's best but I can see why Nabokov loved it so much. It reminds me a lot of Pnin if Pnin wasn't so weak-willed, and of Becket's Molloy with a more "realistic" context and a much meaner main character. Meaner but somehow lovable, very much like a Nabokovian character.

Radiant Terminus - Antoine Volodine, Jeffrey Zuckerman

Reminds me a lot of Lem and the films of Tarkovsky. Beautiful and bleak. Immersive, effortless world-building. Frightening and funny as well. Better without all the meta stuff in Volodine's usual work (at least what I've read of it). Very visual.

In Sunlight and in Shadow - Mark Helprin

Rapturous epic of the city, as magical as Helprin's great Winter's Tale even if it is not a fantasy. It is as immersive as anything ever conjured up from fairyland. 1946 New York City is the equal to Lud-in-the-Mist, Narnia, Middle Earth, Wonderland and Looking-Glass World, Gormenghast. Veteran Harry Copeland's return home and to the family business is perturbed when he meets singer Catherine Thomas Hale and they fall for each other. She chases him as much as he chases her through Broadway, Long Island, the high and low haunts of the city's criminals. But her finance won't give her up without a fight, and Harry has to summon the courage he found in the war to win her.

Spellcaster - George Bachman

A literary fantasy about Christine, a Provencal socialite trying to find a remedy for psychic visions that seem to be killing her while her adopted sisters, wealthy and ambitious American debutantes, try to land titled but poor Englishmen in 1890s England. When the only occultist who can provide a cure will only do so if Christine gets the oldest sister to marry the occultist's paramour, one of those poor aristocrats, so the two can share the sister's part of the wealth, Christine has to decide between betraying her family and saving her life.