I’ve finally gotten a chance to sit down and look over my notes to write a review on this wonderful book. Herman Koch is one of my favorite authors. I will read more by him. Was it better than The Dinner? In some ways, yes and in others no. Both are terrific.

Marc Schlosser, is a Dutch doctor, a General Practitioner who has some high-profile patients. He is a mediocre doctor who simply gives lip service to his patients. The sight of naked bodies repulses him. Marc’s wife is Caroline. He has two daughters, Lisa and Julia.

One of these high-profile patients is Ralph Meier, a well-known stage actor who has been recently tapped for a television series to be shot in California. He has a wife, Judith and two sons. Ralph is overweight and a braggart. Obnoxious to the nth degree.

Marc and Caroline become socially connected to Ralph and Judith. Ralph extends an invitation for them to stay in a summer house that he has rented. He makes sure to let them know it does have a swimming pool. Caroline does not want to go, however Marc without conferring with her, heads out to a place very close to the house Ralph is renting. Caroline is not happy.

Since they did not take Ralph up on his invitation to stay at the summer house, he invited another couple instead, film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, Emmanuelle. Marc, Caroline and the girls end up pitching a tent in Ralph’s yard and staying there.

At this point, things start happening. Not all of them good. The characters, all unlikable to me, play a part in the drama that unfolds.

From this point on, I will not reveal a lot. Let it suffice to say that much transpires over the summer and this book kept me turning pages, laughing during parts of it and horrified during other parts.

The ending was very sad in my eyes. I believe that the attitude expressed in the book is one that is commonplace in America today.

In a nutshell, as in The Dinner, I really disliked all the characters in this book. I did, however, give it five ***** as it well deserves it.


Herman Koch is a Dutch writer and actor. He has written short stories, novels, and columns. His best-selling novel The Dinner has been translated into 21 languages. He has acted for radio, television, and film. He co-created the long-running TV series Jiskefet.


Want to hear a fascinating interview with Mr. Koch about this best-selling book? You can catch it on YouTube?

This is another interesting webpage I found talking about Herman Koch. He is one of my favorite authors, which is pretty strange, in that I really hate all of his characters. Brilliant in my opinion.



recently I had the pleasure of conducting an author interview with Kevin Ansbro. Kevin is the author of four books. One of them is a collection of short stories that truly delighted me. He is a master wordsmith and writes mostly in the magical realism genre. I have fallen in love with his books and have read all of them. What follows are the questions asked and Kevin’s wonderfully honest answers:

1. In your opinion, does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Hi, Glenda.
A mind filled with self-delusion is as much use to a writer as a chocolate teapot! I’m a firm believer that a writer learns more from constructive criticism than they do from artificial flattery.

2. Have you ever considered writing a book in another genre from your preferred one, maybe under a pseudonym?
If I did, my pseudonym would be a toss-up between Rooster Hipthrust and Lancelot Mustang!
I write in the magical realism genre and endeavour to weave something outlandish into the fabric of our real world while still making it seem believable. To write something that would appeal to the masses would be a whole lot easier, but where is the art in that? It’s like telling a gourmet restaurateur that he could make more money by taking on a McDonald’s franchise!  : )
I did, however, really enjoy dabbling in different genres in The Minotaur’s Son: & other wild tales.

 3. In your opinion, do you think a writer can be effective if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
In order to drag an unsuspecting reader through the gamut of emotions, the writer should themselves be able to draw upon their own life experiences. I love to elicit strong emotions in my readers, whether they hoot with laughter, sob uncontrollably, or want to throttle me because I’ve killed off their favourite character! My muse is altogether a restless genie, a conniving devil, a wanton mistress and a fairy godmother.

4. Did the publishing of your first book change your process of writing?
Absolutely! My first manuscript for Kinnara was made considerably leaner by the publishing editor, much to my chagrin (although I was guilty of hyperbole). I straightaway saw the sense of her advice and henceforth adopted a ‘less is more’ approach.

 5. Have you read a book that you considered to be under-appreciated by the masses?
I feel that Yann Martell’s Life of Pi often goes unappreciated. I read it in 2002, immediately after it had won the Man Booker Prize. I was wholly intrigued by the improbable premise of a boy sharing a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger in the middle of an ocean, and was thereafter taken on an absorbing adventure. A clever book and a great read! 

6. Have you read a book that you considered to be overrated by the masses?
Too many to mention; especially nowadays, where the big publishers put their financial muscle into promoting humdrum books that create a whirlwind of undeserved hype. Sadly, the best authors are dead. My advice to everyone is to occasionally read novels that have stood the test of time if they truly crave excellence!  : )

7. What does literary success look like to you?
Success, for me, is the knowledge that I’ve taken my readers on a magic carpet ride around the world and beyond. Astonishingly, some even come back for more!

 8. How do you go about selecting the names of your characters?
I choose my characters’ names very carefully: their monikers should not only suit their nationality, but should also befit their personality. Charles Dickens was a master at this: how could Bill Sikes be anything but a brute? How could Scrooge be anything but an old miser?

 9. What was your hardest scene to write?
Without a doubt it was this: I included a rape scene in one of my books (The Fish that Climbed a Tree). It served to reinforce the inhumanity of one of the bad guys (Yuri Voloshyn), but wasn’t done gratuitously and the reader is spared any unnecessary detail. I ran it by my wife, as it weighed heavy on my mind, but she said it was instrumental in accentuating the clear and present danger that this thug posed.

10. What was your favorite book as a child?
It depends at which age:
The first books to enthral me were Aesop’s Fables. I couldn’t get enough of them as a little kid and their allegorical quintessence has remained a part of my authorial psyche ever since. Aged ten, I read a book titled Elidor, by Alan Garner (kids stumbling into a dark parallel universe). Not long after, I fell in love with Gerald Durrell’s Corfu trilogy. His descriptive writing instantly beguiled me and I’m still a huge fan.

11.  If you could ‘live’ inside a fictional story, which would it be and why?
A wonderful question, Glenda! I was asked something similar by Goodreads a while back, so I’ll replicate my answer here:
Blinged-up with the most spectacular wings in the cosmos, I would swoop into the pages of Les Misérables at the point before Jean Valjean is forced to steal a loaf of bread to feed his sister and her starving children.
I would ask that he ignore my freakish appearance and accept my no-strings offer of a great deal of money.
Then, safe in the knowledge that I have saved a good man from a great deal of hardship, I would return to the 21st century for a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake.  : )

Thank you for inviting me to take part in this author interview, Glenda. I loved your questions (not a clichéd one among them) and had a blast answering them!  
Warmest regards and happy reading!

I want to thank Kevin for allowing me to conduct this interview and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did. Kevin is a wonderful person, with a great sense of humor that comes across in his books. He lives in Norwich with his lovely wife, Julie. They love to travel and have been many places. Kevin is also a foodie and loves fine dining.




I read this book during the first part of 2018 and, apparently never wrote a review on it. I loved it. It was long. Over 700 pages. But I can honestly say that I never lost interest or even thought about putting it down. I loved the well-developed characters. Donna Tartt’s prose was beautiful and brutal. The main characters, Theo and especially Boris were both special in their own way. Boris, what a character he was. There are many more characters that were developed for this story perfectly.

The book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014 among many other rewards. All well deserved in my humble opinion. While I devoured its 700+ pages I went to Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Las Vegas, Nevada (aka the gambling capital of the US), and New York, New York (nothing to say here. Some love it, some hate it). Theo seemed to love it.

The story begins with Theo and his mother visiting the Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY. Theo’s father is not around. During their visit, there is a terrorist attack, a bomb that kills his mother. Theo grabs the famous painting, The Goldfinch and absconds with it. From that point forward Theo experiences heartbreak, happiness and every emotion in between. There is much joy in this book as well.

The character that I was most fascinated with is Theo’s lifelong friend, Boris. Theo meets Boris, an immigrant from Russia. Theo is a daring boy and adds excitement, albeit not always appropriate behavior, to the story. There is so much more to this book but I won’t go any further. Please read it for yourself. It is fantastic.

I Highly recommend this book. Especially Charles Dickens readers.


Donna Tartt from what I have read, is a very private person. She is not on social media or any of the usual avenues that authors use to promote their books. I did, however, find an interview with her that I found to be quite interesting. During the interview she talks about The Goldfinch. Everyone who is a fan, and those that are not, should check it out.

Donna Tartt Interview



I have taken some time between when I finished this spectacular book and writing this review.
Sometimes when I read a unique book such as this one was, I have a really hard time reviewing it. I feel I don’t have the words to describe what a fantastic book 

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

 it really is but I shall give it a try here.

It is 1922 and the Bolsheviks have taken over power in Russia and have abolished all ruling classes. Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov has been stripped of his title and placed under house arrest at his place of residence, The Metropol Hotel. He is doomed to spend the rest of his days, not in his luxurious Suite 37, but in a cramped attic room. If he should step outside the hotel at any time, he will be shot dead. The Count is a true gentleman who approaches this sentence with a good attitude. He commences making friends with the staff of the hotel and the guests.

He makes the best of the fact that all of his possessions, as well as his title, have been taken from him. First, he meets a precocious nine-year-old girl, Nina, and forms a lasting friendship with her. He accompanies her on her journeys throughout the hotel and, since she has acquired a passkey to all the rooms, nearly every nook and cranny is explored.

The author created a fascinating cast of characters, one of which is Nina’s daughter, Sofia, who ultimately ends up in his care and rears as he would his own daughter. There are many others that the reader will get to know throughout this wonderful book. And I defy anyone not to feel as if they are a part of the admiration society for the Count. As a matter of fact, I fell a little in love with him.

There are humorous shenanigans in this book that left me laughing out loud. And at other times, I almost cried.

You can view an interview with Amor Towles on YouTube at…

Amor Towles has created an outstanding novel here. I have purchased Rules of Civility. If it is a fraction as well written as ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’, it will be exceptional.

About the Author

Born and raised in the Boston area, Amor Towles graduated from Yale College and received an MA in English from Stanford University. Having worked as an investment professional in Manhattan for over twenty years, he now devotes himself fulltime to writing. His first novel, Rules of Civility, published in 2011, was a New York Times bestseller in both hardcover and paperback and was ranked by the Wall Street Journal as one of the best books of 2011. The book was optioned by Lionsgate to be made into a feature film and its French translation received the 2012 Prix Fitzgerald. His second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, published in 2016, was also a New York Times bestseller and was ranked as one of the best books of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune, the Miami Herald, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the St. Louis Dispatch, and NPR. Both novels have been translated into over fifteen languages.

Mr. Towles, who lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children, is an ardent fan of early 20th century painting, 1950’s jazz, 1970’s cop shows, rock & roll on vinyl, obsolete accessories, manifestoes, breakfast pastries, pasta, liquor, snow-days, Tuscany, Provence, Disneyland, Hollywood, the cast of Casablanca, 007, Captain Kirk, Bob Dylan (early, mid, and late phases), the wee hours, card games, cafés, and the cookies made by both of his grandmothers.