Amanda's Circus

Archive for Reading

I’ve just finished ‘Before the Fall’ by Juliet West

 I’ve had to double-check myself whilst I’ve been reading this book because one sunny day I found myself shouting at my family: “Fetch the fly spray! We don’t want no flies in here.” They gave me those long frowns – what’s she playing at now, laughed to each other and of course, carried on with […]

2013 Reading: the books so far…

Here is a list of my current reading and in case you’d like to try any of them, I’ve rated them as follows: ***** Brilliantly written, innovative, I was intrigued and couldn’t put it down **** Brilliantly written, I was intrigued *** Interesting and well-written **Interesting but it was a struggle to finish it *I couldn’t finish […]

Half Blood Blues – Esi Edugyan

I’ve just finished ‘Half Blood Blues’ by Esi Edugyan Edugyan’s second novel is not only a gripping page-turner but beautifully written. Narrated by Sid Griffiths, a Baltimore jazz musician living in Nazi Berlin in 1939, the voice thrums like his deep string bass in flawless syncopated rhythms. The novel begins in Paris in 1940. Listen […]

St Petersburg – city of stories

I have just returned from chilly St Petersburg with its frozen canals, brilliant sunshine, sudden snowstorms, and the vast Neva River. I’ve always wanted to visit partly because I am fascinated by Russian history but mostly because I’ve always loved Russian literature and music. I’m thinking here of Dostoyevsky, Chekov, Tolstoy , Turgenev, Nabokov, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Bulgakov, Shostakovich, […]

Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

There Once Was a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour’s Baby This is a marvellous collection of short stories by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya. To find out my reaction to these surreal fables, read my article on the experience below: From the moment I began the first story, I was compelled to read with the same […]

Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

I’ve just finished – There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour’s Baby From the moment I began the first story, I was compelled to read with the same desperate energy that drives Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s characters to survive. These are fantastical stories, apocalyptic urban folk tales, sinister, surreal. This is optimism in […]

I’ve just finished…The Mayor of Casterbridge

The Dorset landscape has a mystical and deeply private beauty; there is a sense that things are going on, and have been doing so for many centuries, hidden things that are too private to talk about. Hardy evokes this in his writing. I’ve just finished reading The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy.  Casterbridge is, of […]

Gold Boy, Emerald Girl – a quiet voice talking

Earlier this year, the British government warned us that Britain was soon likely to become an offshore outlet for China, or something similarly outrageous. I had just finished reading Yiyun Li’s extraordinary collection of short stories, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl so China was on my mind. It was a fortuitous coincidence to discover a recording on […]

About writing, trickery and a little music