Neil Rathmell – writer

100+ essays on literary topics

Category Archives: Fiction

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

It was the best of Dickens, it was the worst of Dickens

As no lady or gentleman, with any claims to polite breeding, can possibly sympathise with the Chuzzlewit Family without being first assured of the extreme antiquity of the race, it … Continue reading

January 4, 2018 · Leave a comment

A short story by Giovanni Verga

A young Sicilian woman called Nedda declares, at the end of a short story by Giovanni Verga, that it is better to be dead than alive and thanks the Holy … Continue reading

June 8, 2016 · 2 Comments

Submission

By coincidence, I finished reading Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel, Soumission, just a few days before Sadiq Khan, a Muslim, was elected Mayor of London. In the novel, another Muslim, Mohammed … Continue reading

May 25, 2016 · Leave a comment