Three Short Reviews

A few of us were talking about books we had enjoyed this year as recommendation for Christmas. Here are a few of mine.

Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence, Michael Marshall Smith

I loved MMS’s early work and his ‘Straw Dogs’ series, then lost contact with his work. This turned out to be a great place to resume.

Hannah Green is a clever, funny, supernatural adventure about time, the Devil, and bad people doing bad things. Laugh out loud moments, an easy style, and strange and dangerous encounters. A perfect winter night read.

Nine Lives, William Dalrymple

Dalrymple is my favourite travel writer/historian at the moment, and this is one of his best books. Subtitled ‘In Search of the Sacred in Modern India’, WD helps us understand what it is to be a Jain nun, a Buddhist monk, a story-teller, A Sufi, and more.

Some of these ways of life endure, some, like the 20+ generation statue-maker and last in his family line, he catches at the very end of their times. Dalrymple writes with a transparent style, filled with warmth and compassion. Not many travel writers can make me cry.

 

Kingdoms of Elfin, Sylvia Townsend Warner

Back in print after forty years, this fine collection of stories from the courts of Elfindom are lyrical, witty, cruel, and charming.

As anyone who truly understand the fey knows, they might not be nice, but they can be funny. Essential and pleasurable reading for anyone who enjoys gently grotesque stories.

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