David Williams

Author David Williams
Top Reviewer Ranking: 9,382
Helpful votes received on reviews: 82% (146 of 177)
In My Own Words:
I am a writer as well as a reader. Scarily it is getting on for forty years since BBC Schools Radio gave me my first commission, and I have been writing as a part-time freelance ever since, mainly plays for the Beeb, and for education publishers. I got involved also with writing questions and formats for various TV and radio quiz shows. It's only in the last five years that I have been able to wri… Read more

I love the classics, especially British and Russian novelists of the nineteenth century, but I try to give as much time as possible to contemporary work too. Two of my favourite short story writers are Alice Munro and William Trevor. Among novelists … Read more

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Top Reviewer Ranking: 9,382 - Total Helpful Votes: 146 of 177
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
4.0 out of 5 stars Pitch perfect, 18 Aug 2014
Nothing much happens in this slim novel but the tone, the phrasing and the subtle characterisation make the book a delight to read. It's clear that Misuji Ono, first person narrator and artist of the title, is a prototype for the butler Stevens in the more ambitious 'The Remains of the Day', and I have seen this confirmed in an interview with Kazuo Ishiguro in The Paris Review. Both men are precisely spoken, nostalgic observers of their own life, evincing a mixture of pleasure and regret, with undercurrents of self-regard and disappointed entitlement. Both are unreliable narrators, apologists to 'mistakes' in some of their life choices while drawing a veil over certain details and… Read more
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
That I was constantly asking myself the question 'Is this good or merely clever?' is an indication that I was never fully engaged by a novel that over-feeds the brain while starving the soul. There are passages of brilliance - the build-up to the crisis in Amsterdam is a stand-out example - but I was eventually numbed by sensory detail and worn down by the sheer labour of negotiating through unpruned introspection by the psychological wreck that is the central character Theo. Perhaps dazzled by a reputation gained by her earlier work, an over-indulgent, over-respectful editor has in this case spoiled Ms Tartt and ultimately spoiled what could have been a modern masterpiece. I recognize that… Read more
One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson
One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson
I read every Bill Bryson book as soon as I can, and can always rely on him providing me with an informative, entertaining and rewarding read. All three elements are here in this absorbing profile of 1920s America. The book focuses on the people who were making history in the nation at that time - from Charles Lindbergh and a subordinate cast of aviators to sporting heroes Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey, from reluctant President Calvin Coolidge and the eccentric industrialist Henry Ford to the murderous lovers Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray and racketeer Al Capone.

This is popular history written with Bryson's characteristically infectious enthusiasm (I always imagine him as a kid rapt… Read more