Fearful ministerings

19 10 2013

The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene


For Arthur Rowe the charity fête was a trip back to childhood, to innocence, a welcome chance to escape the terror of the Blitz, to forget twenty years of his past and a murder. Then he guesses the weight of the cake, and from that moment on he’s a hunted man, the target of shadowy killers, on the run and struggling to remember and to find the truth.

It’s a really quite enjoyable read in which a convincing wartime atmosphere is evoked. Something of a Kafkaesque tale in which we never really quite know what’s going on.  A classic Greene entertainment but with a darker side too.


6 10 2013

Stoner by John Williams


Stoner is a perfect novel, so well told and beautifully written, so deeply moving, that it takes your breath away’ New York Times

William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at nineteen to study agriculture. Later, he becomes a teacher. He marries the wrong woman. His life is quiet, and after his death his colleagues remember him rarely.

Yet with truthfulness, compassion and intense power, this novel uncovers a story of universal value. Stoner tells of the conflicts, defeats and victories of the human race that pass unrecorded by history, and reclaims the significance of an individual life. A reading experience like no other, itself a paean to the power of literature, it is a novel to be savoured.

A wonderful book this. Quiet, measured and terrifically powerful it is a really potent portrait of one man’s ordinary yet extraordinary life. Highly recommended.

There is also an excellent review of the book by Christopher Bigsby in the Times Higher.

4.5 stars

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