Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad: Symbols, Associations and Chinua Achebe’s famous critique: Part One

I have been wrestling with this piece for a couple of weeks now – and my deadline was today. As it approaches three in the afternoon, my post has grown … Continue reading

November 15, 2013 · 6 Comments

Not So Quiet by Helen Zenna Smith

Not So Quiet purports to be the diary of Helen Zenna Smith, a young woman who becomes one of “England’s Splendid Daughters”, an volunteer ambulance driver at the French front … Continue reading

November 14, 2013 · 12 Comments

Belong To Me by Marisa de los Santos

It’s a cliché for a reader to say they wish a book wouldn’t end, but sometimes cliches are true, as in this case with this novel. Most of the characters … Continue reading

September 24, 2013 · 2 Comments

What Lies Within by Tom Vowler

We all lie, whether we admit it or not. We lie to ourselves in self preservation or self-justification, we lie by omission – choosing to stay silent rather than speak … Continue reading

August 2, 2013 · 9 Comments

Snappy as she does it

One of the things I like most about Nancy Mitford’s writing is her cheerful willingness to set down in print her transitory moments of vitriol. Things that you or I … Continue reading

July 19, 2013 · 3 Comments

An Exquisite Sense Of What Is Beautiful, by J David Simons

An Exquisite Sense Of What Is Beautiful is an accomplished and finely structured novel that takes a wide sweep across the world and through time, from London to Japan and … Continue reading

July 12, 2013 · 1 Comment

Beyond the German Garden

At last the world has a decent scholarly study of (some of) the novels of Elizabeth von Arnim. She has legions of fans, but no biography remains in print, and … Continue reading

July 10, 2013 · 7 Comments

May We Be Forgiven

May We Be Forgiven, A. M. Homes’s Women’s Prize for Fiction-winning sixth novel, opens with a horrific car crash, an affair, a murder, and a divorce. I won’t lie: by … Continue reading

July 5, 2013 · 9 Comments

Beside the Sea by Véronique Olmi (Translated by Adriana Hunter)

‘I like songs. They say things I can’t seem to say. If I didn’t have these rotten teeth I’d sing a lot more, a lot more often, I’d sing my … Continue reading

June 5, 2013 · 6 Comments

The Perfect Suicide by Lotte Worth

‘I loved him, missed him and hated him. Every day. Although it did me no good…’ . Following a family tragedy, Emma escapes to university in search of a new … Continue reading

May 30, 2013 · 6 Comments

The Polish Boxer by Eduardo Halfon

There is a passage in The Polish Boxer in which the narrator, a Guatemalan literature professor and writer named Eduardo Halfon, tells a musician he has just met about his … Continue reading

May 29, 2013 · 1 Comment

Evolving Arthuriana

One of the earliest appearances of King Arthur in written English was in a work by a monk called Gildas, who died in 572. Arthur is also mentioned in the … Continue reading

May 22, 2013 · 5 Comments

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

When people talk about the Great American Novel, this is it, this is what they mean. It’s a masterpiece and like all masterpieces, it has timeless appeal. I have read … Continue reading

May 10, 2013 · 7 Comments

Singapore high-rise

Lee Jing-Jing’s novel If I Could Tell You is haunting, affectionate, honest, and placidly down-to-earth. I couldn’t put it down: her writing is beautifully subtle, and the story winds you … Continue reading

May 1, 2013 · 6 Comments

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Acknowledgment

  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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