‘Mrs. Engels’ and the Triumph of Voice

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It’s been a couple of weeks since I read “Mrs. Engels” by Gavin McCrea, but it’s stayed with me. The memory, not the actual book, which I immediately mailed to my brother-in-law upon completing, because it’s also the sort of work one feels compelled to share. In short, it was amazing. Continue reading

Why I Love ‘The Way We Live Now’

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A mortifying admission, but I had never read anything by Anthony Trollope until last week.  My youthful hatred of Dickens cast a shadow over the entire Victorian era. Nor did it help that Trollope had written so many books, none universally acknowledged as drastically better than the others, so one could feel confident starting with that. It’s the Joyce Carol Oates problem, made worse (it must be acknowledged) by his being a 19th-century male. I expected — what? Sermons, sentimentality, one-dimensional female characters. What can I say? I was a fool. Continue reading