Login Dark

In brief: Listen; The Temple of Fortuna; Poor Things – review - The Guardian

Author: The Guardian

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2023/oct/29/in-brief-listen-on-music-sound-and-us-michel-faber-the-temple-of-fortuna-elodie-harper-poor-things-alasdair-gray-review

Image of In brief: Listen; The Temple of Fortuna; Poor Things – review - The Guardian

Listen: On Music, Sound and UsMichel FaberCanongate, £20, pp368Admirers of Faber’s elegant novels and short stories will be thrilled to discover that, judging by his first work of nonfiction, he is equally accomplished in other fields.Listen, by turns discursive, celebratory and reflective, is a beautifully written and endlessly readable paean to music, examining both the role that it plays in our lives and what it has meant to Faber himself.He is no snob, but no indulgent populist, either.Instead, he has written the best book of its type since Alex Ross’s The Rest Is Noise.The Temple of FortunaElodie HarperHead of Zeus, £16.99, pp384The conclusion of Harper’s magnificent Wolf Den trilogy has been keenly anticipated, and thankfully, it’s every bit as good as its predecessors.Again focusing on Amara, the slave turned courtesan turned intriguer, Harper evokes ancient Rome with a classicist’s authority and a storyteller’s innate pace and intrigue, skilfully combining pathos and humour with plot twists. The tough, principled and canny Amara remains one of the most fascinating characters in contemporary historical fiction, and her milieu is a fine combination of the gilded and the gritty.Poor ThingsAlasdair GrayBloomsbury, £9.99, pp336 (paperback)With the award-winning film adaptation of Gray’s 1992 novel due in cinemas next year, this welcome reissue of his masterpiece will introduce him to a new generation of readers.Gray’s narrative, a straight-faced but wildly inventive account of the travails of Bella Baxter, a reanimated child-woman who embarks upon a sexual odyssey across Europe, is a heady mixture of everything from Frankenstein to The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, with a dash of William Boyd’s The New Confessions, too.Equal parts hilarious and horrifying, it remains dangerously compulsive.

Subscribe To Our NewsLetter