Another wide-ranging selection this month introducing me to authors I had not previously read.
The first, “The Human Stain” by Philip Roth is one that I heartedly recommend and I will be on the lookout for others by this author. It is set in the late 1990’s, in the time of President Clinton’s impeachment hearings and the scandal over Monica Lewinsky and the frenzy of prurience that released. The story is narrated by Nathan Zuckerman who acts as an observer of the slowly revealing story of Coleman Silk, a retired professor of classics. I thought the book not only well-written but a fascinating exploration of American morality and its effects.
Another American writer for the second offering of the month – “A Sinclair Lewis Reader – Selected Essays and Other Writings 1904 – 1950”. You may have heard of him because he topped the Amazon best-selling books list in the aftermath of the 2016 US election with his 1935 dystopian satire “It Can’t Happen Here” detailing life after the election as President of a fascist. Having turned down the Pulitzer Prize, Lewis became the first American writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature “for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters” ably demonstrated in this selection of his writings providing critical views of American capitalism and materialism between the wars. Particular highlights for me were “Gentlemen, This is a Revolution” and “Cheap and Contented Labor”.
This month’s third book, “The White Hotel” by D M Thomas, is not for everyone due to its explicit content and disturbing violence. It is multi-layered novel encompassing erotic fantasies, a case history of a patient as told by a young woman to Sigmund Freud and a testament to the Holocaust. I didn’t find it an easy read but what is one man’s meat is another’s poison – it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the 1981 Cheltenham Prize.
If you are interested in any of the books, please contact Debra Thatcher on 01572 823910 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.