The epic story of a great man, told through letters, diary extracts notes. From a few pages in it becomes both a gripping novel and a convincing historical document. Interesting to read alongside Robert Hughes' flawed but inspiring Rome... and four days in the Eternal City.
My Brilliant Friend, by Ferrante 8/10
A talented girl grows up just outside post-War Naples, awed by her odd friend, Lila. Will continue with this trilogy.
The Great Agony and Pure Laughter of the Gods, by Jamila Safari 9/10
I had put this off for a while as I was somehow never quite ready for the harrowing story of a child soldier in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The events described are horrible, but told in a way that is readable. The story is rather mechanistic, and the characetrisation a little too easy, but there is an impressive optimism here, mixed with a much broader view of Congo than comes through in news reports,
Rome, by Robert Hughes, 8/10
Have always enjoyed Hughes art criticism, but was discouraged by a savage review by Mary Beard. Flawed maybe, but it made our trip more fun.