S. Pollard

Helpful votes received on reviews: 83% (141 of 170)
Location: England


Top Reviewer Ranking: 133,801 - Total Helpful Votes: 141 of 170
King Jesus (Penguin Modern Classics) by Robert Graves
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I, Claudius, Claudius the God and Count Belisarius are among my favourite books, so I was delighted to learn that Robert Graves had written other historical novels. Having had a Catholic upbringing (I have now lapsed, like many), I thought I would buy King Jesus.

In the aforementioned three novels, Graves hits a sweet spot between scholarly research and narrative drive. I felt that Claudius and Belisarius were real men, but also characters in a work of fiction. Graves's beautiful, unfussy, intelligent style was perfect for the treatment of these 2,000-year-old personages.

I don't know whether he was spooked because he would be accused of heresy or because Jesus is… Read more
Nazi Literature in the Americas by Roberto Bolano
2.0 out of 5 stars All skin and no banana, 16 Oct 2011
This is basically a concept novel. Well, I say "novel". This is basically a concept selection of thematically-linked short stories, many of which are so similar that two days after I have finished the book they already blur into one indistinct memory.

One or two of these stories in a more orthodox collection would definitely stand up - I really liked The Schiaffino Brothers and Luz Mendiluce; I'd love them if I came across them in a collection by Borges for example. But Bolano effectively strait-jackets himself by the title he chooses for the work, by the very limited concept of the work itself.

Even though the book is relatively ("mercifully" would be the more… Read more
The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming, 20 Sep 2011
I won't bore you with my interpretation of the plot, that's for a discussion group. Should you buy the novel? I hope my opinion helps you decide.

The good: Sharp, precise, unfussy prose style. Well researched characters. As much as anyone living in 2011 can judge, it has an authentic historical feel.

The bad: Now this is the thing, actually very little, but...

The mediocre: I obviously do not share the same sense of humour as the various reviewers who find this novel amusing - I barely cracked a smile. While I acknowledge creating a plot around real life events is more difficult this is a rather one-track boy-meets-girl novel. I found Fritz very… Read more