Geoffrey Fox

Reflections & Inquiries

A bit of wisdom, a lot of conversations


The Hidden Pleasures of Life: A New Way of Remembering the Past and Imagining the Future by Theodore Zeldin My rating: 3 of 5 stars “One is only nominally alive if one is incapable of giving birth to thoughts one had never had before and of being inspired by what others think.” (p. 394) Theodore … read more »

Living on watercress


Sweeney Astray by Seamus Heaney My rating: 3 of 5 stars Sweeney (Suibhne in Irish) was a ferocious war chieftain or ¨king”, perhaps in the 9th century A.D. (the songs about him are at least that old), raging in battle and disregarding all the rules of war until the day he defied the holy cleric … read more »

Polar + histoire


I read this book on the recommendation of Michèle Audin, whose blog La Commune de Paris has been enormously helpful in my research for my novel The Bookbinder. As I say below in my review, Hervé Le Corre is a very effective writer of dark suspense and brings the fears, terror and heroism of the … read more »

Sequels of apartheid


The Afrikaner by Arianna Dagnino My rating: 5 of 5 stars Marvelous. Arianna Dagnino takes the reader into some very diverse regions of South Africa and Namibia, and much deeper into their history (the protagonist is a paleaontologist seeking and finding evidence of the earliest human settlements, possibly the earliest in the world, hundreds of … read more »

Witness of disruption


L’éducation sentimentale by Gustave Flaubert My rating: 4 of 5 stars [My delight in this book came from the beauty of Flaubert’s descriptions and phrasing and also his acute observations of the  turmoil preceding, during and following the great social revolution of 1848 in France, especially Paris. This despite the ridiculous, comical passivity of his … read more »