Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

"The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories" by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury, 2006)

I struggled with this. The back cover mentions merges of Jane Austen with Angela Carter, or Grimm and Austen. I couldn't see Carter. I saw Poe and Lovecraft pastiche. I read the title story, "The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse", skimmed the rest then gave up. Perhaps I've missed the best parts but for me the language is that of whimsy or fable even when it needn't be, the narrator opinionated without being interesting - "In 1819 the proudest man in all of England was, without a doubt, the Duke of Wellington. This was not particularly surprizing; when a man has twice defeated the armies of the wicked French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, it is only natural that he should have a rather high opinion of himself" (p.103).

Other reviews

  • Good reads
  • Lucy Hughes-Hallett (These stories are as uneven as left-overs are likely to be, but the good ones are very, very good)
  • Jen Larson (if you are not willing to go along with the fiction of a scholarly introduction to Clarke's world, then it is a good bet that you will not have the patience to wade through the eight slight tales that follow)

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