The Last Estate by Conor Bowman

The Last Estate by Conor Bowman is a rare miniature treat.  The book, little over 160 pages, contains multitudes.  It focuses on the story of Christian Aragon, the last surviving son of a Provençal vintner.  He is nearly seventeen in 1920 and the shadow of his older brother Eugene, killed in the Great War, looms large.  The hot summer has Christian conflicted by the opposing forces of lust and virtue, the former represented by the young geography teacher Miss Playben and the latter by the cantankerous Jesuit priest, Father Leterrier.  Fr. Leterrier tortures his students with interminable lectures about Holy … Continue reading The Last Estate by Conor Bowman

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Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder (1945) by Evelyn Waugh

In Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot, Pozzo remarks, “They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more.”  Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh represents one of those lights gleaming in the darkness between the grave of the First World War and the impending night of the Second.  The novel, published in 1945, is the reminiscence of Captain Charles Ryder.  The story opens with Captain Ryder’s Army Company transferring to Castle Marchmain, an estate all too familiar to him.  Since he looks back on the past, a heady mix of nostalgia and satire … Continue reading Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder (1945) by Evelyn Waugh

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An Adultery (1987) by Alexander Theroux

Alexander Theroux’s name returned to the news with the publication of Laura Worholic; or, The Sexual Intellectual. The 878-page work can be intimidating to readers, especially those unfamiliar with Theroux’s bombastic, encyclopedic, maximalist style.  A gateway to his larger works would be An Adultery, written more than two decades earlier and less than half the length of Laura Worholic.  The writing is as straightforward as the slip of a plot. Painter Christian Ford loves Farol Colorado.  Farol is married and Christian is going out with Marina.  Complications ensue.  While the adulterous male narrator may be one of the most clichéd … Continue reading An Adultery (1987) by Alexander Theroux

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