The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, by Yukio Mishima

In this beautiful and dark novel, we read about a young man's obsession with the famous Golden Temple in Kyoto, Japan. Mizoguchi, who is unpopular and ostracized for his stuttering, is introduced to the temple by his father, and eventually becomes an acolyte there. After seeing the temple every day, he becomes more and more …

The Train Was On Time, by Heinrich Böll

In another war novel by Böll that does not feature battle or action, a young soldier, Private Andreas, boards a train and is immediately overcome with the certainty that he will soon die. As the train rolls on, Andreas' certainty grows, and he even begins to narrow down exactly the time and place that he …

The Silent Angel, by Heinrich Böll

I bought this based on W.G. Sebald's recommendation, and it did not disappoint. Set in Germany, in the weeks after the war has ended, the story follows one soldier as he wanders the wreckage, looking for food, shelter and love. The writing is continuously subtle and deft, and the imagery almost always seems to be …

Hill House vs Hill House

The 1959 Shirley Jackson Gothic horror novel, The Haunting of Hill House, has spawned two  Hollywood movies, a radio adaption, numerous parodies and copycats, and has influenced novelists and film writers for decades. Most recently, it’s been made into a TV series by Netflix which, after I heard from so many people how great it …

Back from the doldrums

Hello world! I've been having a hard time writing lately, but I'm happy to say my funk is over, and I'm producing fictional words again! I've gone back to a project I was working on last year, and I've rediscovered the thread, which is not something I'm usually able to do when I'm away from …

Book catch up #2, good ol Nabokov

Whenever I've read something boring or confusing, or just plain bad, I read some Nabokov as my next, cause it's guaranteed to be good. This time I read Pnin, and as always, it was beautiful, funny, and just lovely. Pnin is a Russian living in America, and teaching Russian at a college. He is absent …

I, Claudius by Robert Graves

This was an interesting and entertaining, though not always very engaging read. Told from the point of view of  Claudius, a stuttering, limping, nephew of the emperor Tiberius. I have no idea how much of this is historically accurate beyond the births and deaths of these people, but it painted a disgusting picture of the …