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Shelter from the Storm
Shelter from the Storm
by Michael Mewshaw
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reminded me of Graham Greene, 17 Sept. 2003
This review is from: Shelter from the Storm (Hardcover)
I'm generally not a great fan of thrillers, but "Shelter" is very well plotted and beautifully writen. The setting is wonderfully wild - somewhere east of the Middle East, in one of the formerly Russian 'stans, now run by warlords and mafia. Two Americans find themselves caught up in dangerous events they can't fully understand. The expatriate angle as well as Mewshaw's interest in spiritual quests reminded me of Graham Greene. There's a marvellous, magical twist at the end. (I won't say any more and spoil it.)


Do I Owe You Something?: A Memoir of the Literary Life
Do I Owe You Something?: A Memoir of the Literary Life
by Michael Mewshaw
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A literary pleasure, 10 Sept. 2003
I started Do I Owe You Something on a plane trip and I couldn't put it down for the rest of the weekend. During his own writing career, Mewshaw has met and befriended some of the 20th century's greatest writers - Graham Greene, Gore Vidal, Paul Bowles and many many more. He depicts these friendships with humour, sympathy, even pain (Mewshaw's no sycophant; he doesn't shy away from letting us in on his sometimes bloody literary disputes). The writing is terrific, as penetrating as that any of any of the memoir's subjects. Mewshaw gives fascinating insight into what it means to have a literary relationship, and Do I? should appeal to anyone with an interest in litererary subjects.


Men and Collections
Men and Collections
by Brian Jenner
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Coffee Table book, 10 Sept. 2003
This review is from: Men and Collections (Hardcover)
I noticed this book because of its interesting hand-sized shape and design - I just wanted to pick it up. So it was a pleasure to find that the contents match the cover in quality. Some amazing personalities are profiled here (want to know what sort of person would collect ovens, or sand? Find out here!). Jenner gives us intriguing insight into the collecting subculture. My one (slight) criticism is that I would have liked there to be more commentary on the question of what makes people collect typical things like stamps or art. Jenner's focus is definitely on the weird and wacky. I think this will make a good Christmas present for some of the male members of my family.


Power and Stone
Power and Stone
by Alice Leader
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Read, 2 May 2003
This review is from: Power and Stone (Paperback)
How is a family affected when a man moves his wife and sons far across the world to pursue his career? What's it like to move from an urban centre of imperial power to an occupied territory? Can children bridge the cultural differences, make friends? Familiar questions in the age of globalisation - and, also, it seems, in Roman Britain of AD 130, as it's depicted by Alice Leader in her riveting children's novel, Power and Stone.
While Leader's novel feels contemporary, it's also steeped in history and careful research into both Roman and Brigantian customs (the Brigantes are the tribe in the vicinity of the fort along Hadrian's Wall where the novel is mostly set). Whether describing a Roman parade ("The soldiers were in their finest uniforms with full body armour, helmets with plumes, swords and, in their right hands, "hastate", points vertical with the poles resting on the ground by their right feet...The armour glistened in the cold sun, and the size and physical condition of the soldiers could not fail to impress as they formed an iron wall, four men deep.") or a Brigantian village ("They could see a settlement of round stone huts, encircled by a double enclosure of deep earthwork ditches. There were five thatched houses in the middle, each with a path leading to it. How funny, Marcus thought. First you walk up the hill, then climb over the ditches, then get to the enclosed area at the top and finally choose one path to take you to the hut you want. Don't they worry about the cold winds and rain?"), the writing is detailed, lively and engaging.
The characters are as compelling as the history: there's the ambitious father, unsure how to relate to his sons; his aristocratic, long estranged wife seeking a closer relationship with her husband; their son Telemachus, on the cusp of adulthood and yearning to stand alongside his father as part of the Roman military machine; their younger, sensitive son Marcus; and his friend Bran, a young Briganitan, with whom Marcus will unwittingly lead the family into danger.
For a time when I was younger "The Eagle of the Ninth" was my favourite book, and Power and Stone recaptured for me the excitement and epic feel of that earlier book. It's vivid, beautifully written and a great read for children - and adults!


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