Reading Life


Monday, March 30, 2015

Wolf Totem

Jessica Teisch's "Chinese Novels in English Translation" is a notable article in the Mar/April 2015 Bookmarks.

One of the novels that drew my attention is Wolf Totem, a semi-autobiographical novel by Jian Rong. 

Rong was a Red Guard in the sixties who hoarded the Western books he was supposed to burn.

He volunteered to work in Mongolia where he has the freedom to read. In this remote area, he becomes fascinated by the grassland wolves.

In this semi-autobiographical work, Jian Rong writes a fictional version of these events -- applauding freedom and the Mogolian herdsmen.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

Graham Moore won an Oscar for the screenplay adaptation of Andrew Hodges' Alan Turing: The Enigma. 

Before he wrote the screenplay for Imitation Game, howeverMoore wrote this novel, The Sherlockian. 

The Sherlockian is a remarkable literary thriller published in 2010 that alternates between the present and nineteenth century London.

One of the "Irregulars," a fan group for Sherlock Holmes fiction, may have murdered one of their own and pilfered a rare Sir Arthur Conan diary. Harold, one of the irregulars, is haplessly drawn into the affair and determined to work out who killed Alex Cale. 

In a parallel story, set in the past, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, receives a strange package (a letter bomb) in the mail. Doyle has taken a seven-year break from writing about Holmes. 

The letter bomb has a newspaper clipping about a murder. This inspires Doyle to track down the killer in a manner that would make his fictional creation, Holmes, proud.

Doyle discovers a connection between two unlikely cases. In one case, a young bride with a three-headed crow tattoo is strangled and placed in a tub. In another, a woman in Whitechapel is found strangled in an alley.

He and his friend Bram Stoker conduct surveillance on their own and later work in conjunction with Scotland Yard. 

In many respects, The Sherlockian is a thriller. The scenes are fast-moving and captivating and the characters lives are at stake. 

Since Moore writes from a position of great knowledge about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his creation, Sherlock Holmes, it is also a top literary thriller.

If you want to read more about Arthur Conan Doyle and his friendship with Bram Stoker, you may want to read Julian Barnes' novel, Arthur and George

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