Party with a bang

25 10 2014

Dr Fischer of Geneva by Graham Greene

 

 fischer

Doctor Fischer despises the human race. When the notorious toothpaste millionaire decides to hold the last of his famous parties – his own deadly version of the Book of Revelations – Greene opens up a powerful vision of the limitless greed of the rich. Black comedy and painful satire combine in a totally compelling novel.

Short, brutal and really rather splendid. For some reason I had never picked this up before and I’m really glad I did. It really is a dark and gripping read.

 

stars-3-5

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Luminescent

4 10 2014

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

 

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 It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

Generally avoiding Booker winners until they have had time to cool off I thought I would have a go at this monster while on holiday this year. It really is outstanding. I didn’t think the author would be able to sustain the complicated interplay of stories and timelines but she does so with tremendous skill. Highly recommended.

4.5 stars

 








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