Thursday, April 23, 2009

Literary Value First

A couple of nice reviews -- Feature Reviews, no less -- by James Grainger in the current Q&Q of two of our Spring titles: Terry Griggs's Thought You Were Dead and Cynthia Flood's The English Stories. Of Dead Grainger writes, in part: Thought You Were Dead can be summarized as a playful deconstruction of the genteel drawing room detective novel, brimming with knowing winks to fans of the genre and the more highbrow reader ... Beith finds himself in the middle of a sinister plot of Chandleresque complexity. / The narrative and dialogue are clever and lively from beginning to end, and many readers will enjoy the layers of comic nuance as Griggs turns the genre inside out. Beith is a fine take on the stock character of the reluctant gentleman detective ..."

Of Flood he writes: "Flood artfully transplants the conventions of the Canadian Gothic story form and its obsession with death, isolation, madness and antural landscape into the satiric, provincial milieu of the genteel British lower-middle-classes enshrined in the works of V.S. Prichett. ... Flood creates a vivid gallery of British types ... (and) these stories ultimately acheive a brooding resonance that captures the literal and spiritual dampness of a provincial scene that all but died out with the last remnants of the British Empire."

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