Italo Calvino: Under the Jaguar Sun – Review

Another work of genius from Calvino. I can’t help but love virtually everything this man writes. The only reason for the 4 star rating is I feel I need to re-read this collection before I can judge it as being as brilliant as some of his other works. Of the three, the first two stories in particular are as beautifully written as they are inventive and imaginative. I would have loved to read the 5 completed stories in full context of the ‘frame’ that Calvino had imagined them fitting into. I’m sure, had he lived, this could have reached the lofty heights of his best works. An impressive, sensuous literary achievement.

Stephen King: The Gunslinger – Review

My first experience reading King. After an interesting beginning culminating in the slaughter of a dreamlike desert town (where I could see elements of King’s horror writing that make him such a well known author) there really wasn’t too much to capture my attention. The majority of the middle was a fairly dull adventure story dotted with small glimpses of the protagonist’s backstory. There were definitely some good elements that help to build the slightly surreal, post-apocalyptic world King is trying to create, but they didn’t really do much to hold my interest. However the climax of the story and the inevitable encounter between the gunslinger and the man in black was fantastic. Suddenly we’re thrown into a metaphysical monologue with an extended dream sequence that reads like a mescaline trip and starts to show us the route King might be taking the rest of the series. Overall I think 3* is a fair rating. I’m not in a rush to read any more King books after this one but I’d quite like to come back to the Dark Tower series at some point in the future.