Literature

  • An Unnecessary Woman, by Rabih Alameddine
    A breathtaking portrait of one reclusive woman’s late-life crisis, which garnered a wave of rave reviews and love letters to Alameddine’s cranky yet charming septuagenarian protagonist, Aaliya, a character you “can’t help but love” (NPR). Aaliya’s insightful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and her volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left.
  • Possession, by A. S. Byatt
    An exhilarating novel of wit and romance, an intellectual mystery, and a triumphant love story. This tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets became a huge bookseller favorite, and then on to national bestellerdom.
  • The Eyre Affair (and other novels of The Thursday Next series), by Jasper Fforde
    Fans of Douglas Adams and P. G. Wodehouse will love visiting Jasper Fforde’s Great Britain, circa 1985, when time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously: it’s a bibliophile’s dream. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Bronte’s novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career.
  • Still Time, by Jean Hegland
    Until John Wilson met the warm, wise woman who became his fourth wife, the object of his most intense devotion had always been the work of William Shakespeare. From his feat of memorizing Romeo and Juliet and half a dozen other plays as a student to his evangelical zeal as a professor, John’s faith in the Bard has shaped his life. But now his mental powers have been diminished by dementia, and his wife has reluctantly moved him to a residential care facility. Even there, as he struggles to understand what’s going on around him, John’s knowledge of the plays helps him make sense of his fractured world.
  • Thinks…, by David Lodge (also neurosciences)
    Thinks… unfolds in the alternating voices of Ralph Messenger, director of the Centre for Cognitive Science at the University of Gloucester, and Helen Reed, a novelist and writer in residence at the university. Mutually attracted, the two end up in a moral standoff that is shattered by events that dramatically confirm the truth of Ralph’s dictum: “we can never know for certain what another person is thinking.”

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