Grendel’s Mum

BEOWULFbeo

J. R. R. and Christopher Tolkien

Mariner Books, August 2015

 

A thousand years on, the sharpness of Beowulf‘s images still strikes us. Longships cruise amid icy spray. A king stares with fear amid the riches of his hall. Then comes the fiend Grendel stalking across the moors. Tolkien’s translation weds to these visions the rhythm and grandeur of language that rumbles even as it exults, which rolls like the swells of the sea. Continue reading

Don’t Pay the Theremin – Until It Gets You to the Other Side

US CONDUCTORSus conductors
Sean Michaels
Bloomsbury, July 2015, RRP $29.95

There are a number of different ways to write a novel based on historical characters. You can go for a modernisation of the characters and follow the general story but change bits of the plot – Susan Kay’s Elizabethan Legacy, which is a total romp and hugely enjoyable despite it’s lack of accuracy.

You can interweave an imaginary character into a historical narrative; Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon introduces Lawrence Waterhouse into the development of the code breaker during WWII to such an extent that I have no longer any idea what really went on because my memory of the history is so tarnished by reading it. Loved that book: I have a cat named after Enoch Root, one of the minor characters. Continue reading

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