Flash Reviews (9th August 2013)

The Dogs and The Wolves by Irene Nemirovsky
I love Nemirovsky’s novels. The way she writes is just sublime, and I am so glad that her translators respect this and reflect it in their work. Everything about this story is exquisite – the writing style, the descriptions, the characterisation, the dialogue, the way in which characters forge relationships with one another, the settings… I absolutely adored the author’s portrayal of the sharp divide between opulence and poverty, and how it has the power to affect an entire family. Ada, the protagonist, is just adorable, and it was a real pleasure to see her grow as the book progressed. The Dogs and The Wolves is certainly my favourite of Nemirovsky’s books to date.

Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale by Gwen Cooper
I can’t resist a good cat story, as April knew when she sent me this lovely book, and this one is particularly adorable. I loved Homer from the first page, particularly for the way in which he rallied against his disability and learnt to do things that cats able to see take for granted. Cooper’s writing is so nice. I don’t like using the word ‘nice’ at all and try to avoid it in my reviews, but it is wonderfully applicable here. Her prose is so gentle and patient, and she really gave an insight into adopting a pet with a disability.

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
I spent the weekend just gone in France, and got through rather a lot of books. I did take some paperbacks with me – of which I read and very much enjoyed two and abandoned one – but I did a lot of my reading on my Kindle. I filled it with classics when I got it as a graduation present, and it’s nice to be making my way through them at my own pace. I have read a few of Forster’s books before, but this was the August choice for my Goodreads book group, and I thought I ought to join in. My review of it is rather a mixed one, despite the fact that I did enjoy it overall.

Let us begin with the positives first. I really like Forster’s writing style, and the sense of place was well crafted. The mixing of cultures and the sharp differences between them was well portrayed.

And now for the negatives. I know that this book was written around a century ago and it was something which was sadly rather common at the time, but I still struggle to see how any mother could leave her child for a year whilst she travelled around Italy. I found that a lot of characters were introduced at the beginning of the novel, and as such, it was a little difficult to keep track of them at first. I didn’t much like any of them either. The plot was interesting enough but it did feel a little thin on the ground at times, and the ending was incredibly odd and unexpected. All in all, it feels quite mediocre in comparison to Howards End and Maurice, and it is nowhere near as well developed as A Passage to India.