Archive for the ‘Classic’ Category


Although she wrote all her life,Elizabeth Jolley didn’t get her first book published until she was 53. Thereafter she published 15 novels, four story collections and four non-fiction books. The daughter of an Austrian mother and English father and a transplant to Australia from England, she became one of Australia’s most celebrated authors and won at least 16 awards. Yet by the time of her death in 2007, her books were out of print.

June 13, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Australia, Classic, United Kingdom, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

INFINITE JEST by David Foster Wallace

I’ve thought a great deal about this review, since beginning the book, in fact. (I wonder if even the word “review” is the right one. A review implies more than I think I can deliver.) This is no ordinary book and writing about it is not a normal experience. This book is big and thick and juicy and full of complexities, ripe with humor and allusion, digressions and insights. For this reader, it is the book of a dream. I mean that in two ways…

May 12, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Allegory/Fable, Classic, Contemporary, Humorous, Reading Guide, Scifi, Unique Narrative

CAIRO MODERN by Naguib Mahfouz

Set in the 1930s and published in 1945, CAIRO MODERN is, by turns, ironic, satirical, farcical, and, ultimately, cynical, as the author creates a morality tale which takes place in a country where life’s most basic guiding principles are still uncertain. World War II has kept the British on the scene as a foreign power, a weak Egyptian monarchy is under siege by reformers, and the army is growing. As the novel opens, four college students, all due to graduate that year, are arguing moral principles, one planning to live his life according to “the principles that God Almighty has decreed,” while others argue in favor of science as the new religion, materialism, social liberation, and even love as guiding principles. None of the students have any respect for their government, which they see as “rich folks and major families.”

December 28, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Classic, Egypt, Nobel Prize for Literature, Satire, World Lit, y Award Winning Author


Thomas Bernhard is a wonderful wordsmith. He weaves his story in riffs like jazz motifs or the most beautiful of tapestries. In a tapestry, there may be repeat stitches but the colors and gauge change, the dynamic conspires to grow and become something else just as it is being created. Like a weaver or jazz musician, Bernhard repeats the essence of his message in many ways, giving the reader a marvelous opportunity to see into the protagonist’s mind. He is a natural story teller.

December 21, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Austria, Classic, Facing History, Translated, Unique Narrative, World Lit


Two young people caught in a mundane existence are at the heart of REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates. April and Frank Wheeler, formerly lively Greenwich Village singles, have become an ordinary suburban Connecticut married couple. The book is just as poignant now as it was when it was first published in 1961. Named one of Time’s top one hundred novels of the 20th century, it was re-released in time for the December 2008 movie version.

November 30, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Classic, Contemporary, Debut Novel, NE & New York

CHANGING HEAVEN by Jane Urquhart

A brilliant riff on Emily Brontë’s WUTHERING HEIGHTS, this highly original novel is as bracing and wild as the weather itself, impossible to pin down, virtually plotless, yet sweeping all before it. Just as one speaks of a novel of ideas, this is a novel of emotions — emotions in their purest form, taking possession like a natural force, and largely divorced from the normal ties of cause and effect. This is not a book for those who demand realism and logic rather than a novel organized by poetic association and contrast. But for those who approach it as the unique vision of a poet who just happens to be writing in prose — wondrous prose — it is something very special indeed.

October 4, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Canada, Character Driven, Classic, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author