A Love of Reading: Reviews of Contemporary Fiction

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McClelland & Stewart, Jan 14, 2011 - Literary Criticism - 320 pages
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Every year, Robert Adams prepares a series of five reviews of contemporary novels, to be delivered alone on a theatre stage to sold-out audiences in Toronto and Montreal. In A Love of Reading Adams has now gathered 18 of his most brilliant reviews, from Jack Maggs by Peter Carey and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, to A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and Barney’s Version by Mordecai Richler. In them he skillfully interweaves a nimble and entertaining discussion of plot, theme, and characterization with fascinating historical, biographical, and literary context. He is repeatedly drawn to the spectacle of less-than-perfect humans making their way in a hostile world, and as a result a review by Robert Adams is almost always a hugely satisfying mix of rich pathos and abundant humour.

Famously, Adams reads a book a day, from which he selects only those novels that are truly extraordinary, that have made him see some part of the world or some aspect of the human condition in a new light – because for Adams, the best books always take the reader on a journey, with a destination very distant from the point of departure. It should be not only a journey of discovery – an exploration of the author’s vision – but also of risk. By matching one’s own vision to that of the author, says Adams, the reader enters an exciting negotiation to produce a new vision of his own. This joint enterprise between reader and writer, the shared risk and the wonder of discovery, is the foundation of A Love of Reading.

• For the last six years, Robert Adams has presented an annual series of book reviews to sold out audiences. Eighty per cent
of Adams’ 3,000 subscribers in Toronto and Montreal renew for the following season
• This book is a selection of modern classics from a discriminating and entertaining guide
• Perfect for reading groups
Quill & Quire, noting the jump in sales of any book reviewed by Adams, has called the phenomenon “The Adams Effect”


From the Hardcover edition.
 

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Contents

PREFACE
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WRITER AND READER
THE TORTILLA CURTAIN
A PRIVATE VIEW
JACK MAGGS
WISE CHILDREN
THE FARMING OF BONES
CAPTAIN CORELLIS MANDOLIN
ASYLUM
A FINE BALANCE
THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE
CONFESSIONS OF A GIRL GANG
IN THE MEMORY OF THE FOREST
BARNEYS VERSION
CINNAMON GARDENS
SACRED HUNGER

PADDY CLARKE HA HA HA
BIRDSONG
THE POISONWOOD BIBLE
PALACE WALK
A TRIBUTE TO ADELE WISEMAN
PUBLISHERS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Robert Adams was born in South Wales. In London, he studied at the London School of Economics before becoming a teacher. In 1964 he came to Canada to continue his teaching career in several Montreal high schools. He was a lecturer at Concordia University and from 1972 to his retirement in 1997 taught at the Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne, where he became Chair of the English department. He is the author of The Life and Work of Alexander Bercovitch, Artist (1988), which was shortlisted for the QSPELL Award.


From the Hardcover edition.

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