Neil Rathmell – writer

150+ essays on literary topics

Category Archives: Fiction

In the beginning were the words

There are certain words and phrases that are so closely linked to a particular source that the association is never lost. Such words and phrases must be used cautiously, if … Continue reading

May 4, 2021 · Leave a comment

Frankenstein meets the Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison’s reputation depends on one thing, Invisible Man, a novel, the only one he wrote, published in 1952. Mary Shelley’s reputation depends on several things: being the wife of … Continue reading

April 7, 2021 · Leave a comment

The unwanted

Kamala Markandaya published her seventh novel, The Nowhere Man, in 1972. The huge success of her first novel, Nectar in a Sieve, published in 1954, had not been repeated and … Continue reading

March 24, 2021 · Leave a comment

Again! Again!

It is a refrain familiar to parents who read bedtime stories to their children. A familiar story can never be heard often enough and must be told as nearly as … Continue reading

January 27, 2021 · Leave a comment

Vladimir Nabokov’s way with words

Joseph Conrad, born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, is widely admired as a master of English prose, which is all the more remarkable since his first language was Polish and his … Continue reading

December 30, 2020 · Leave a comment

The novel of the film

Water by Bapsi Sidhwa is the novel of the film by Deepa Mehta. ‘The film of the novel’ is a much more familiar phrase, the subject of many discussions about … Continue reading

November 6, 2020 · Leave a comment

Three kinds of novel, Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Woodlanders’

The difficulty in reading The Woodlanders is in knowing what kind of novel it is. Sometimes it reads like a psychological case study, sometimes like a fable or even a … Continue reading

August 15, 2020 · Leave a comment

Shakespeare and the modern novel

Shakespeare must have read anything and everything that came his way, not just the sources for his plays, which are well known, not just the classical authors who, if Ben … Continue reading

March 16, 2020 · Leave a comment

Telling tales

One day, when she was a little girl, my mother lost her temper with her older sister, Dinah, who had been telling lies about her. In her still barely articulate … Continue reading

December 14, 2019 · 1 Comment

Just a novelist

Radclyffe Hall’s 1928 novel about love between women is almost a curiosity today, little read and even less understood. Her sixth novel, following Adam’s Breed, for which she had won … Continue reading

August 5, 2019 · Leave a comment