Tag Archives: war

Review of ‘The Report’ by Jessica Francis Kane

The ReportThis is a strange book; it takes a really interesting historical event – a fatal crush at an Underground bomb shelter during World War II – and then takes an oddly detached viewpoint on it.

The author turns the event into a mystery and by doing so is unable to concentrate on the most interesting part of the story – the experience and emotions of the people caught up in the crush. The actual description of the crush only lasts a few pages and the rest of the novel is taken up by the narrative of the people writing the report on the accident and making a documentary about it set 3 years after the event. It would have been more interesting and enjoyable if it had been a blow by blow description of the incident from the viewpoint of the people involved rather than a sterile reflection on the events.

The fictionalisation of events to create a mystery surrounding why the crush started seems to undermine the reportage elements of the story, leaving it confused and lacking in a clear perspective.

It was a shame; this storyline handled in a different way has the potential to be riveting and very moving.

Review of ‘Half of the Human Race’ by Anthony Quinn

ImageI really enjoyed this novel. It is beautiful and written in a simple A to B, past tense, third person narrative. It’s such a relief to read something written in a traditional style which allows the plot and characters come to the fore.

This novel features some fascinating topics including suffragettes, cricket, World War I. It is engaging and opens a window on life in the 1910’s. The main characters, star-crossed lovers Will and Connie, are fully rounded, flawed but likeable people; it was a joy to spend time in their company.

It was lovely to read a book so unashamedly English, I particularly enjoyed reading the scenes at the cricket and I thought that the secondary storyline of retired sportsmen and suicide was very moving and is as relevant now as it was in the early twentieth century.

I would highly recommend this novel.