posts tagged ‘historical fiction’

A first rate tale, second rate prose

February 22nd, 2017
A first rate tale, second rate prose

The Fall of Giants, by Ken Follet

I love the ambition of this book, and it seems that Follett achieved his goal: the grand tale of the political upheavals of the early 20th Century Europe, and then the unfathomable horror that was the Great War. I really like how meticulously detailed and carefully researched the book is. He spins a fascinating plot, even if it is implausible.…

Cloud Atlas

September 7th, 2010
Cloud Atlas

by David Mitchell

David Mitchell is by far my favorite author these days. I’ve read all his books and every one is awesome, but the very best is Cloud Atlas. Mitchell has a very intense way of writing. He can create a character in a particular time and place, seemingly any time and place, from the 18th Century to the 1970s California, to contemporary Japan to science fiction far into the future.…

Trek

September 7th, 2010
Trek
by Mary Hunt Jentsch

Trek is the memoir of world war II written by my grandmother, Mary Hunt.  She was american, and a Radcliffe college girl when she fell in love with my grandfather, a German man studying at Harvard. After they graduated they married and went to live in Switzerland, and then Germany. They had two children: my mother, Erika, and my uncle Jerry.  Trek recounts the story of the nearly idyllic pastoral life of my grandfather’s family In rural Eastern Germany.…

Master and Commander

September 7th, 2010
Master and Commander
by Patrick O’Brien

For any reader who has a soft spot for 18th Century historical fiction, the Aubrey-Maturin series, by Patrick O’Brien, are essential. These are written with vivid detail combined with a curiously modern sense of plot: the plots seem to meander in a realistically random way.…

Corelli’s Mandolin

July 16th, 2010
Corelli's Mandolin

by Louis de Bernières

This is the sort of novel that transports the reader to an extraordinary time and place. Vivid, passionate, and erudite, it is lovely writing. If the vocabulary of the first chapter doesn’t make you sit up and get out the dictionary (i.e. computer) then you are more literate than I.

The essential subject is that the horror of the second world war intrudes on the paradise of Greece.…

Capricornia

July 16th, 2010
Capricornia
epic novel by Xavier Herbert.

Perhaps Herbert saw himself as Australia’s Dostoyevsky. Capricornia rolls along like a massive, tragic steam powered freight train through northern Australia’s early history. Herbert sees the central issue of Australia being race, and particularly the “half-caste” offspring of aboriginals and white immigrants.

This is a wonderful epic set in a corner of the globe that even Aussies don’t visit that often.  And yes, there are steam locomotives in the tale.…

The Cellist Of Sarajevo

July 16th, 2010
The Cellist Of Sarajevo
by Steven Galloway

I have morbid curiosity for what evil deeds humans can do to each other. The siege of Sarajevo was easily one of the most brutal wars of the late 20th century, almost as horrific as the Rawandan genocide. This small novel puts one in that terrifying time and place and asks how could one retain one’s humanity amid senseless cruelty and murder?

I assume it is essentially historically accurate.  …