Therese Raquin

When it was first serialized in 1867, Emile Zola’s novel Therese Raquin was considered scandalous and “putrid” by critics, and no wonder, as the novel describes the sordid adulterous and murderous activities of the eponymous character and her lover. A relatively slim novel, the story starts with Therese’s strange circumstances, raised by her aunt as…

The Nine Cloud Dream

The Nine Cloud Dream is a 17th century Korean novel attributed to Kim Man Jung about a young Buddhist monk from a sacred mountain who falls from grace by obsessing over earthly pleasures. One day, upon returning drunk from the kingdom of the Dragon King, the young monk Hsing-chen meets eight beautiful fairies barring his…

On Chesil Beach

Ian McEwan’s novels never fail to engage me, whether they are over 500 pages or under 200. The same can be said about his 2007 novella, On Chesil Beach, which is about the ill-fated wedding night of a young couple, Edward and Florence. Florence is a talented violinist, and Edward is a young historian, and…

The Comfort of Strangers

The Comfort of Strangers (1981) is a short novel by Ian McEwan about a couple on vacation in an unnamed city which fits the description of Venice, Italy. Mary and Colin are neither married, nor living together, but have known each other for some time, and are in a loving but strained relationship.  During their vacation,…