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There’s something about this book that breaks down the wall of fiction and leaves the reader feeling viscerally overwhelmed by what they‘ve just read.
At fifteen, I discovered Raymond Carver in a book of short stories that two friends of my parents kindly let me lift from their house in the middle of a car trip. Carver writes wonderfully about empathy.
The novel, Bel Canto, is one of my favourite books of all time. It offers suspense, well-developed characters, and universal themes of love and forgiveness.
Does it make sense to “review” great poetry? The following is from Milosz’s Campo dei Fiori:
“In Rome, on Campo dei Fiori,
baskets of olives and lemons
cobbles spattered with wine
and the wreckage of flowers.
‘When I think of autumn, I think of someone with hands who did not want me to die.’ Tenderness is in short supply in nine-year-old Claudia’s life, but as she lies ill in bed with her mother taking care of her, she is in no doubt that she is loved.
In which an elderly woman, a music teacher, invites her unwilling students to give a musical recital at her home.
George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) was a great believer in the power of empathy to move her readers. Back when she was writing in the 19th century, empathy was generally known as ‘sympathy’.
What exactly does it mean to be human? Andrew Martin, a Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, is not himself. This becomes clear when he’s found walking naked through the manicured grounds of his own college, apparently having suffered amnesia or nervous breakdown brought on by overwork.