Orwell’s Cough by John Ross (book review)

04/02/2013 § Leave a comment

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A collection of medically focused mini-biographies of literary greats, most of who are connected by acquaintance and shared ailments. Although comprising some occasionally tenuous theories, Orwell’s Cough is fascinating whether you’re interested in literary or clinical history. It details the development of medicine via profiles of prolific authors plagued by the signature illnesses of bygone creative minds; mental disorder and venereal disease. From a collection of well researched essays Ross has put together a sinuous and gritty read that will enable you to see the writers of your favourite works (and their doctors) in a new, and not altogether flattering, light.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Book Review)

28/11/2011 § 1 Comment

Aomame, a feminist assassin, and Tengo, an aspiring author, are bound together by fate within 1984’s alternate reality; 1Q84. In this world their lives become dominated by a cult and the quirky and intoxicating teenager who has escaped it with a story to tell. Murakami’s deadpan writing style insists on minimal descriptions of an unfamiliar environment and is overwhelmed by character’s speech and thought, which is often patronisingly simplistic and repetitive. Disconcerting sexual forays and unrewardingly bizarre fantastic elements make this lengthy, long winded novel an un-enjoyable read. 1Q84’s omnipresent “Little People” simply don’t measure up to Orwell’s “Big Brother”.

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