Going Gauguin

30 01 2016

The Moon and Sixpence by Somerset Maugham


Charles Strickland, a conventional stockbroker, abandons his wife and children for Paris and Tahiti, to live his life as a painter. Whilst his betrayal of family, duty and honour gives him the freedom to achieve greatness, his decision leads to an obsession which carries severe implications. Inspired by the life of Paul Gauguin, The Moon and Sixpence is at once a satiric caricature of Edwardian conventions and a vivid portrayal of the mentality of a genius.

Maugham is such a great writer and this is another outstanding example of his art. Highly recommended


four stars

Hello darkness my old friend

23 01 2016

Death is a Welcome Guest by Louise Welsh


Magnus McFall was a comic on the brink of his big break when the world came to an end. Now, he is a man on the run and there is nothing to laugh about.

Thrown into unwilling partnership with an escaped convict, Magnus flees the desolation of London to make the long journey north, clinging to his hope that the sickness has not reached his family on their remote Scottish island.

He finds himself in a landscape fraught with danger, fighting for his place in a world ruled by men, like his fellow traveller Jeb – practical men who do not let pain or emotions interfere with getting the job done.

This is a world with its own justice, and new rules.
Where people, guns and food are currency.
Where survival is everything.

Grim stuff. But actually really rather good in a post-apocalyptic practical survival kind of way. As a read it is relatively unchallenging but Welsh does a grand persuasive job of presenting a very realistic scenario in this the second book in her Plague trilogy. Particularly amused at the Sunday Mirror quote on the front cover: “utterly contagious”. Indeed.


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