Waldo Gemio

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Waldo Gemio

Waldo Gemio’s book reviews

Unextraordinary tale about the eponymous escaped convict set in Bermuda in the days when it was a convict island, Trow's attack on a clergyman's fiancee, and the subsequent pursuit. If this were a movie, it would have a couple of good set-pieces but there's nothing new or unique here.
02/14/2010
Francesca Bassington hopes that her charming but recalcitrant son, Cosmo, will endear himself enough to the wealthy Elaine Frey to become engaged to her, thereby solving their financial worries. But 'the unbearable Bassington' has to compete with an up-and-coming and equally selfish politician, Courtenay Youghal. The scene is set for a great deal of sharp humour, elegant writing, and strangely moving insights into the human condition. 'Saki' (H H Munro) pulls off the difficult trick of making the reader ultimately sympathise with an eminently unlikeable anti-hero. Much of the writing is suffused with elegiac poetry, too. If you only know Saki through the short stories, this novel is full of pleasant surprises. Highly recommended.
04/18/2009
Run-of-the-mill detection in which a murderer is tracked down by the unnamed narrator in record time. No surprises here.
04/07/2009
Perfectly readable tale of a middle-aged doctor's nearly disastrous love for a woman he rescues from a stabbing. The doctor and the mysterious beauty are very well characterised, as are all the incidental characters, and a certain amount of tension is reached before the conclusion. All the same, I won't be rushing to read anything else by Hungerford.
03/16/2009
Well, this one really took me by surprise. I even had to check to see that this was really by Mark Twain and not a piece of sabotage by a frustrated scribe. It turns out that this is, indeed, by Twain, though he didn't own up to its authorship until 26 years after it was written (1880);it's a story in which Shakespeare and Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth I, aongst others, are trying to work out who farted so thunderously, while discussing, in graphic detail, various sexual practises, including rams masturbating after copulating one hundred times, and the wearing of phallus-shaped hats. If you're offended by the 'c' word, stick to Tom Sawyer.

It's only twelve pages but it's packed with jokes, and literary criticism: "...Shaxpur did rede a part of his 'King Henry IV', ye which, it seemeth unto me, is not of ye value of an arsefull of ashes..." Poor Shakespeare.
03/08/2009
Entertaining manhunt story with a neat twist.
02/28/2009
An off-beat, platonic love affair in which an unfulfilled man sets up a special altar to remember not only his would-be bride but every person dear to him who breathes no more...except one: his former best friend who did him an unspecified wrong. He eventually speaks to a 'faded beauty' who is a frequent visitor to the altar and they strike up a friendship based on their mutual rejection of the living. The main interest in this story lies in the main character's inability to admit to himself the truth of his feelings. The plot, such as it is, is dependent on coincidence, and the ending is rather abrupt, but James weaves a spell here not soon forgotten.
02/23/2009
This short novel by one of Norway's 'Great Four' (and a Nobel Prize winner) explores a man's relationship with his obsessive mother and the other women in his life. But 'Sons and Lovers' it ain't. Perhaps something was lost in the (apparently unattributed ) translation. The short piece appended to this 'A Painful Memory from Childhood' could be seen as a coda, or as a separate story. It describes, in chilling detail, the trial and execution of a popular young man, seen from the perspective of a child. All the same, it strikes me that there is a little too much sympathy for a man who killed a woman with an axe, the first blow not killing her outright, leaving her begging for mercy; there's also an implication that because she had 'lain with other men' she might have deserved what she got. I won't be reading any more Bjornson in a hurry.
02/09/2009
It's great to see this title come on the Manybooks site. Having just read the the first of the second series - 'Thrones, Dominations', started by Sayers and finished by Jill Paton Walsh, set in the prelude to WWII - it's interesting to see the younger, funnier Wimsey, still suffering traumas from his WWI experiences in this first book, which introduces us to his future brother-in-law Inspector Parker, Wimsey's manservant/sidekick Bunter, wholly indispensable as always, and Wimsey's redoubtable mother, the Duchess. My only complaint, apart from the obviousness of the killer, is the unlikely execution of the crime itself. Still, every page is a delight. These books are still being published and selling well, so it's a real bonus that the first two are now available for free to new generations.
02/07/2009
Curiously uninvolving tale of a gentle giant who deserts and ends up fighting on both sides (republican/royalist) of a Spanish/Chilian (sic) conflict; part war-adventure, part-love story. Told in the third person as a recollection, and decades after the events, Ruiz (for me, at any rate) never comes alive.
02/06/2009
Tom Lowe - Mystery-Thriller Inspired by Butterflies
FEATURED AUTHOR - Tom Lowe is a mystery-thriller author who currently writes three series. The Sean O'Brien series features Florida as a backdrop. After his wife dies of ovarian cancer, O'Brien tries to put the pieces of his life back together. His powers of observation, both in human nature and crime scenes, attracts wounded people in his direction. But his past often intersects with the present leaving a future that that's beyond his choosing. As our Author of the Day, Lowe tells us all about the latest Sean O… Read more