Paperback: Burning Bright, By Tracy Chevalier
Reyhana is a journalist, writer and researcher specialising in issues surrounding Muslim communities, community cohesion, radicalisation and counter-terrorism policy. Reyhana contributes to the Huffington Post UK and hosts a blog on ‘how to successfully combat extremism.’
Sunday 02 March 2008
Tracy Chevalier is best known for Girl with a Pearl Earring, a novel based on the Vermeer painting of the same name. This book adopts a similar approach, intertwining the story of two children forming a friendship in London at the end of the 18th century with the work of their neighbour, the poet William Blake.
Jem Kellaway and his family have recently arrived in the city from Dorset after suffering a terrible loss. His friendship with a streetwise Londoner, Maggie Butterfield, and the way their journey through life influences Blake's work, makes for enjoyable reading – but it's Blake who makes it worth reading. A radical free spirit unappreciated during his lifetime, and whose religious and political beliefs cut him off from polite society, his life is a gift to any novelist.
Readers who enjoy Chevalier's style will find much to admire in her depiction of London in the 1790s, but for all its descriptions of bustle and activity there's something anaemic about the whole project. She doesn't hold back from revealing the city's dark side, but her idea of darkness always seems a little too pale.
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
Drake matches The Beatles' record with 14 singles in top 100 chart at the same time
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl: First look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Catwoman comes out as bisexual
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Justin Kelly interview: On James Franco playing a gay man who renounces his homosexuality
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'