Book 30: The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan

“People say 9/11 was the worst terror attack of all time – was it? I think the small bombs that we hear about all the time, that go off in unknown markets, killing five or six, are worse. They concentrate the pain on the lives of a few. Better to kill generously rather than stingily.”

So declares one of the Kashmiri terrorists in Indian-American Karan Mahajan’s new novel. Continue reading “Book 30: The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan”

Book 29: White Teeth by Zadie Smith

For the first half of Zadie Smith’s debut novel I was frequently reminded of Salman Rushdie’s better work, most notably The Satanic Verses.

White Teeth has none of the magical elements of Rushdie’s great and controversial novel but it’s stylistically similar and touches on many similar motifs and themes: the racial melting pot of modern London, family discord, the battle between religion and secularism. Continue reading “Book 29: White Teeth by Zadie Smith”

Adaptation review: 11.22.63

Stephen King’s 11.22.63 asked an interesting question: what if JFK hadn’t been assassinated on that fateful November day?

Sadly, he didn’t really even try answering said question. Rather, he wrote a plodding, painfully overlong time travel story that almost entirely concerned itself with the mechanics of saving JFK rather than grappling with how the world might really have changed if he’d seen out his presidency. Continue reading “Adaptation review: 11.22.63”

Book 28: Margaret The First by Danielle Dutton

Margaret the First tells the story of the real-life Margaret Cavendish, a 17th century noblewoman, feminist and science-fiction author whose opinions and eccentricities – like turning up to the London theatre topless – earned her the name ‘Mad Madge’. Continue reading “Book 28: Margaret The First by Danielle Dutton”