Thursday, September 23, 1993


by Evelyn Waugh

The story of a hapless reporter out of his element. It was very funny, extremely well written. I really don't have much comment except that it started with a scene that built up to nothing whatsoever, then got very good. The telegrams were especially bitingly satirical. The ending was funniest, and it was a happy ending for all.

four stars

Sunday, September 12, 1993

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

by Robert Louis Stevenson

The scientist Jekyll wants to see if the "bad" side of man can be isolated, but doesn't realize the consequences for him when he succeeds. Told in multiple narratives, it's a well-written, engrossing story of man's pride and fall.

Includes the intriguing story "The Suicide Club;" it too was well-written and engrossing, a continuous story in three parts, but each part was a short tale in itself. The faux retelling, as if from an Arabic story, was a great touch. The second part had the blackest humor. The eloquence of the characters was compelling; the language as a whole, far from being antiquated, was charming. Great.

Friday, September 10, 1993

A Hero Of Our Time

by Mikhail Lermontov
translated by Paul Foote

A collection of previously published stories about Pechorin, a Russian officer, who turns out to be hardly a hero. Said to be the first Russian psychological novel. In my opinion, the author himself was more interesting (he wrote this – his sole novel – between the ages of 21-25, killed in a duel over a trivial insult at 26) than his book, which had awkward, obviously translated phrases (something I have an automatic eye for these days), way too much purple prose and little action/poignancy. On the other hand, when there was interaction and emotion between the characters, it was excellent. All in all, fairly good. I liked "Princess Mary" and "The Fatalist" best.

three stars