Sunday, March 29, 2009

Today's Inquirer reviews ...

... Floyd Skloot on The enduring Cheever story.

... Jessica Schneider on Short river's long shadow on England.

... Yours truly on Romance and bloody battle. ( I notice a change was made that has resulted in something misleading: the treacherous knight mentioned at the end of the fourth paragraph betrayed both the town and the archers, from who Nick did not have to rescue Melisande.)

... Peter Rozovsky on Matt Rees: Crime novel offers insight into history of Palestinians.


  1. Frank,

    Good review of Bernard Cornwell's "Agincourt."

    I enjoyed the book and while reading it I was thankful I live in the 21st Century.

    Cornwell told me in an interview that the story is most important to him, yet he does his homework and he nails the era, I think.

    He did a good job of presenting what men thought and believed in regards to religion and war in that time, and he also gave us the awful sights, sounds and smells.

    Readers, I believe, will remember the smell for some time after reading the book. It was a brutal and filthy time.

    Thanks for the good review.


  2. Goreously and gorgeously recounted, Frank. Not a book I think I'll track down in this lifetime. Beautifully written, IOW. Nice to see someone actually quote from the book under review, though; know a few who could take a lesson or two from you.

    Tragically, the eye-dagger carnage didn't end there and then, particularly since in 1593, the self-possessed atheist, Christopher Marlowe (from whom Shakespeare copped so many chops), carelessly and arrogantly broadcast his belief that there were irreconcilable inconsistencies in the Bible and was thus mortally wounded in a tavern brawl at Deptford, three miles outside of London, by Ingram Frizer, apparently over a bar bill. Marlowe drew his dagger; Frizer wrestled it away from him and drove it through the 29-year-old celebrity's right eye.

    Plus ça change . . .

  3. Back when writers were men!

  4. Now, I know you don't mean, if you dropped the other shoe, "and men were writers" because most of your favourite writers are women, ISTM.

    But, I think you'll get a real kick out of an all-men's book-club story in The Globe and Mail which has the most astonishing comment attached to it, I can't help point out that it must not be missed. Incroyable! (The piece is slugged, "A pint and a chat with a man's man" and? Guess who this man's man is? Betcha could, too, if you thought about it for a minute, given our discussions of boxers, wrestlers, wrasslers,

    Yep, Morley's son: Barry Callaghan. Lovely piece; somehow, just know you'll enjoy it big lots (or, IOW, it's got balls and whistles on it :)).

    But, later, I got to thinking about men, writing, derring-do (as your so appropriately and punnaciously called it), and death; I recalled a death that really typified twentieth-century cruelty under Franco's regime.

    (And, I do remember the machine-gun greenguys when I was in Madrid at the same time Jim Morrison died in France, just serendipitously. Scary place, though, trying to see the Velázquez in Room 17 and watching them watching the little red-headed white dame. Creepy.)

    Here, I am thinking most horrifically and specifically of the assassination of Federico García Lorca:

    Franco's firing-squad, so the story goes, wrought its "poetic justice" by ending the queer's brief life with a shot to the rectum.
    p.s. During the late seventies, early eighties, when I drove taxi, our main garage was down the street from The 'Sheaf; so, natch, this then-drunk remembers the place all too vividly and it's described exquisitely