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In The Name Of The Family

In The Name Of The Family Book Cover In The Name Of The Family
Sarah Dunant

The second of Sarah Dunant's novels about the Borgias, and her fifth set in Renaissance Italy.   She is a superb writer.  She has a rare talent as a novelist/historian. Her books are rooted as much in historical fact as she is able, and her dazzling imagination brings the daily lives of these extraordinary people alive - you know what they taste, what they smell of, what they wear, how they clean themselves, what illnesses they suffer and what diseases they carry.  She marries this imaginative intimacy with the epic narrative of Italian and Western European history of the period.  It is gorgeous, intoxicating, gripping and ultimately very moving.  I was surprised to find how emotional I was at the end of reading it.  Her characters - these real historical rulers - had lived with me in my head.  Her research has been vast and must have been enormously hard work, but she never writes to show off her knowledge: a rare and valuable accomplishment.

(If you haven't read her previous books, then best start with her previous Borgias novel, Blood and Beauty - better still with her trilogy of novels centring on ordinary women in Renaissance Italy. )



I don’t like doughnuts.

Mr Panda


I’m staying here.

Lots of book reviews to come tomorrow.  And a Quote if you’re lucky.



A Dilemma And A Question

Long story short.  I have no work at present and annoyingly I am about to have to renew my web host’s services (i.e. if I don’t the website disappears).

I can’t really afford  the money right now, but I love the blog because it keeps my creative juices flowing a bit and so helps my well-being.

I don’t honestly know who reads, likes or hates this blog.  So I am asking you, dear readers, would you like me to keep it going?  If I get an overwhelming positive response (hem-hem) I’ll find the money and continue on.


Human Light

I was really moved by this piece:


I’m Back

Hit reality with a big bump, but as can be seen from the photo the last few weeks gave me some escape.

There Will Now be A Short Intermission

Backson.  Bisy.  (Probably till early September.)

(You can subscribe to the Blog via email at bottom –  if you won’t want to forget about me)


The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.

Bill Watterson

Good Grief

Just been into town with my father to help him collect his pension. When we got into Post Office a single cashier was working and serving a male customer. We arrived next and alone in queue.

A woman who had draped herself and her shopping over the two seats (for customers who need to sit) was now dancing back and forth shouting (I think in her head she was helping) at the man being served. She gave out some postcode to the cashier:

“H for Harry, T for tuberculosis…”

By the time the two of them had finished there was 11 people waiting in the queue behind us. I pay attention to detail.

My Dad had forgotten his reading glasses but put in his PIN by sight and touch memory. Once to get the balance, then you have to take out the card and put it back in again (putting in PIN again) a second time to draw out the money. Then repeat with my Mum’s card. Cashier counted out the money loudly which I then shoved in my wallet feeling twitchy at the amount and looking like a son stealing his father’s pension money.

Then I had to go and get a clock battery so left Dad sitting, as it was too far for him to walk, praying he wouldn’t get mugged while I was away. At this point I noticed my flies had been open the whole time.

Went to a jewellers.

I was buzzed through two doors.

I muttered something about not being able to find this battery in any other shop, to which the assistant sweetly commented she was surprised as it is the most common sort. The battery cost £3. I flitted out rapidly making hilarious jest of supposing that transaction made a change from the usual multi-million dollar ones (MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR?) they had. She laughed politely and said they get all sorts.

Yeah, me being one of the “all sorts”.

At least my flies were up.