Prospero’s Isle

Latest articles

  • Some George Eliot books

    by Ray

    Adam Bede (1859)
    A rich, complex, indubitably well-written tale of seduction and disappointment in a bucolic, pastoral setting that has its charms, even though one could find the almost ethnological concentration on the ways and manners of the village people herein portrayed not quite as (...)

  • Some Ismail Kadare books

    by Ray

    Chronicle in Stone (1970)
    A homely and almost nostalgic evocation of life in a sleepy provincial Albanian town in the 1940s before, during, and after its occupation by Italian, German and partisan forces (in that sequence) during the Second World War. The politics are almost surprisingly (...)

  • Some E.T.A. Hoffmann books

    by Ray

    The Devil’s Elixirs (1815)
    Hoffmann is one of the masters of the romantic movement in Germany, he is one of my favourite authors, and this book is usually considered to be his masterpiece, so Achtung!
    This novel, his first, about the doings of a strange monk who guards a mysterious elixir of (...)

  • Some Mario Vargas Llosa books

    by Ray

    The Cubs and other stories (1959)
    This was Mario Vargas Llosa’s first published story, about growing up and learning about life on the streets in Lima, a theme he developed extensively in his impressive first full-length novel The Time of the Hero (La ville et les chiens). Darned interesting. (...)

  • Some W.G. Sebald books

    by Ray

    Vertigo (1990)
    This is a literary essay on memory and the tricks it plays on us by a modern master of evocative, erudite, clear-sighted prose. Sebald takes us in the superb opening chapter with Stendahl through the Alps during Napoleon’s Italian campaign to meditate on the contrast between (...)

  • Some P.G. Wodehouse Books

    by Ray

    Very Good, Jeeves!
    Although I have always been a P.G. Wodehouse fan (how can one possibly not be?), I have tended to avoid the Jeeves books on the (foolishly mistaken) grounds that they would be too predictable, preferring the almost-always-wildly-funny collections of stories about Archie (...)

  • L’ALBANIE - Septembre 1968

    by Marie

    Aujourd’hui, dimanche pluvieux. Il commence seulement à faire beau ce soir.
    Je suis sur mon lit, en tailleur sur ma splendide carpette albanaise qui pour l’instant me sert de couvre-lit. Dans la case en paille, avec les vêtements accrochés dans tous les coins, on se croirait dans un de ces (...)

  • Good Words

    by Ray

    These are some useful words that I have come across fairly recently (since my previous Good Words Register was last seen going north in a Montreal taxi in the wee hours of a morning, never to be seen again, some 4 years or so ago) that have been used to good effect by the rather top-notch (...)

  • Seule sur le chemin de l’Exode - 1940

    by Marie

    Le petit carnet rouge de Simone Benedetti (1940)
    Je livre le contenu du carnet rouge et les récits du Printemps et de l’été 1940, tels que notre mère, Simone Capitaine, les a laissés. Serge a peut-être d’autres témoignages de nos parents à nous confier.
    Ce que je retranscris peut être tantôt très (...)