“Murder Underground,” by Mavis Doriel Hay

Novel, 1934 Genteel crime novel set not in some country estate, but the nonetheless leafy environs of Belsize Park in London, with a trip up to Coventry thrown in for good measure. While this, and the quite revealing look at life in a boarding house provide a different backdrop, the plotting and mystery are fairly run of the mill. Still, the book works quite well … Continue reading “Murder Underground,” by Mavis Doriel Hay

"One-Way Street," by Walter Benjamin

Non-fiction, 1921-34 Cultural and philosophical essays written in Germany, in the early part of the twentieth century. As such, and as Benjamin was Jewish, these pieces are poignant. Much of their meaning and drift may puzzle the lay reader not especially versed in the period, nor particularly in philosophical writing. But still, the more accessible pieces on “Unpacking my Library” and “The Work of Art … Continue reading "One-Way Street," by Walter Benjamin

"Voyage in the Dark", by Jean Rhys

Novel, 1934 Hugely evocative novel set in a modernising London and focusing on the challenges, loves and  friendships of Anna, a young Caribbean chorus girl. This is an account of despair, drunkenness, abortionists and questionable morality, but nonetheless, life’s vitality shines through. Some really keen writing which descriptively tells its story and sets seedy, desperate scenes, with occasionally flights into more modernist streams of consciousness. Continue reading "Voyage in the Dark", by Jean Rhys