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Tag Archive for ‘literature’

The master of Louisiana noir

Cadillac Jukebox (Dave Robicheaux #9), by James Lee Burke @@@@ (4 out of 5) Veteran detective Dave Robicheaux of the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Department is reluctantly drawn into a case involving the decades-old assassination of Louisiana’s leading NAACP leader. Aaron Crown is serving time for the murder but protests his innocence, and a Hollywood film… Read More ›

An Indian novelist celebrates cricket

Selection Day: A Novel, by Aravind Adiga @@@ (3 out of 5) Aravind Adiga entered the literary world with a splash in 2008 when he won the Booker Prize for his debut novel, The White Tiger. Although I frequently find Booker Prize-winning books to be unreadable, I picked up The White Tiger, anyway. My interest… Read More ›

What? Literary critics I agree with?

I never thought I’d say this, but here it comes. I have discovered that there is, indeed, some overlap between my choices in reading and those of some of the country’s top literary critics. On December 16, the New York Times published lists of the ten top books of the year as chosen by each… Read More ›

A fascinating Chinese detective novel

A review of The Chinese Maze Murders (Judge Dee #1), by Robert van Gulik @@@@ (4 out of 5) Robert van Gulik’s series of 16 Judge Dee mysteries are set in China sometime during the era of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). They’re grounded in his intensive scholarly study of ancient Chinese detective stories, some of… Read More ›

Another winner from James Lee Burke

A review of Burning Angel (Dave Robicheaux #8), by James Lee Burke @@@@@ (5 out of 5) James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series transcends the bounds of detective fiction and deserves the title of literature. Burning Angel, the eighth book in his time-tested series, proves the point. These novels are worth reading for their prose… Read More ›

Was politics during the Great Depression really like this?

A review of All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren @@@@ (4 out of 5) Robert Penn Warren’s 1946 novel, All the King’s Men, is widely regarded as one of the best American novels ever written. Seventy years after its publication, it appears on high school and college reading lists throughout the country. Partly… Read More ›

A brilliant and witty novel about dirty politics

A review of The Porkchoppers, by Ross Thomas @@@@@ (5 out of 5) If you’re looking for insightful writing about dirty politics, the novels of Ross Thomas have no peer. Dirty politics, union-style In The Porkchoppers, Thomas portrays the behind-the-scenes reality of a high-stakes labor union election, and it ain’t pretty. The picture is likely… Read More ›

Murder on ice in a small Swedish town

A review of The Ice Princess (Fjallbacka Book #1), by Camilla Lackberg @@@@ (4 out of 5) The gruesome murder of a young woman named Alexandra Wijkner has scandalized the small coastal town of Fjallbacka and given its incompetent police superintendent an opportunity to regain his position in the big city of Goteborg, or so… Read More ›

A detective novel that stacks up against the best work of Southern writers

A review of A Morning for Flamingos (Dave Robicheaux #4), by James Lee Burke @@@@@ (5 out of 5) When you think of Southern writers, the names William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, Robert Penn Warren, Tennessee Williams, Margaret Mitchell, James Dickey, and Harper Lee may come to mind. I’ve read many books by these and other illustrious authors from the American South, but none has called… Read More ›

It’s Literature, but is it a good book?

A review of I Saw A Man: A Novel, by Owen Sheers @@@ (3 out of 5) Some writer or critic — I forget who; it was somebody who gravitates to Literature with a capital “L” — defined the content of a novel as “something happens.” The late Joseph Heller even wrote a novel with… Read More ›