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A Book for All and None [Kindle Edition]

Clare Morgan
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

One crisp, clear day, across a cobbled Oxford street, Raymond Greatorex catches sight of Beatrice Kopus. Raymond, a brilliant but ageing don whose specialty is Nietzsche, has withdrawn into a lonely world of scholarship. Beatrice is in Oxford researching Virginia Woolf, and distancing herself from her husband, Walter. When Beatrice reappears in Raymond's life, they embark on a love affair.

Beatrice becomes convinced of a link between Friedrich Nietzsche, Louise von Salomé - the young Russian émigré who bewitched him - and Virginia Woolf. As Walter faces ruin in his glittering career, Beatrice and Raymond seek refuge in the past. Stories of Nietzsche's madness and his obsession with von Salomé become intertwined with those of Raymond's ancestors, and their beautiful, crumbling home on the Welsh borders.

But there are even greater mysteries linking the past to the present, and in their quest to find one set of answers, Beatrice and Raymond stand to uncover a secret that will profoundly change their understanding of who they really are.

Product Description


a wonderfully constructed edifice; ideas, possibilities, emotions, dreams bounce and echo from one to another, creating a subtle meditation on the limitations of and the potential for love and transcendence (Tim Pears Author of Landed and In the Place of Fallen Leaves)

Complex, thought-provoking, multi-faceted - an extraordinary achievement (Francesca Kay Author of An Equal Stillness)

A formidable debut (Suzi Feay INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

A Book for All and None [is] a work grand enough in its ambition to house not only a trio of modern characters but also characterizations of Nietzsche, Salome, their mutual friend, Paul Ree; and occupying a room not quite of her own, Virginia Woolf...Morgan seems determined to show just what, in her first novel, she can carry off...she masters her disparate materials impressively...[the] novel unfolds like a work of paper-sharp origami to reveal its incredible secret. (TLS)

This intensely academic novel is stuffed to bursting with good things... Past and present are very neatly plaited together (THE TIMES)

Morgan manages that symphonic trick of weaving her parallel narratives into a spell-binding, effortlessly propulsive unity (THE INDEPENDENT)

Morgan's novel echoes AS Byatt's 'Possession' but has a contemporary edge all its own (TIME OUT)

This debut novel of love, madness and creativity is written with eloquence and artistry. (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

Woven into this ambitious brainteaser of a novel is the beginning of Nietzche's intense, obsessive relationship with Lou von Salomé in 1882, Woolf's Pembrokeshire sojourn of 1908, and the origins of her first book, The Voyage Out... it is unashamedly intellectual and sensually written. (THE GUARDIAN)

Reflecting its modernist influences, A Book for All and None is a novel of ideas and aesthetics, exquisite in its descriptive passages, but driven by a tension between the cerebral and more fundamental emotional needs. (Jonathan Ruppin WE LOVE THIS BOOK)

A beautifully written debut novel from Monmouthshire-born Clare Morgan, A Book for All and None brings Virginia Woolf and Freidrich Nietzsche to life in a modern love affair set partly in Pembrokeshire and the Welsh borders. (Steve Dube WESTERN MAIL (Cardiff))

Book Description

A beautiful, haunting literary debut from an extraordinary talent and future prize-winner.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 570 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (2 Jun. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #471,798 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By hfffoman TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a novel about the several intricately linked lives: Walter, a construction tycoon; his wife Beatrice, an academic dedicated to researching Virginia Woolf; her friend Raymond, an academic dedicated to researching Nietzsche; Virginia Woolf herself; Nietzsche himself; and Raymond's ancestors. That makes at least 6 intertwined stories related in parallel. The book is expertly constructed so I have no complaint with the amount of skipping between threads, although the author does have a soap-like habit of doing it at contrived moments to generate suspense.

The prose style is extremely unusual and if you don't like it you should definitely give the book a miss. To give an idea, here are some examples:

"The ghosts. Chief among these were perhaps the ghosts of himself, the various versions of what he was...His likenesses, more or less him to one degree or another, accompanied him. He saw himself through the glass of time, first brightly and then darkly, diminishing in size and power right back through his babyhood...back through into the darkness where he was nothing but a jot." (p109)

"For he knows that this is his day, this is his moment. His footsteps are even now merging with Nietzsche's. He can feel the affliction. His head gets larger on his neck and his blood chants upwards." (p235)

"He understood what she said only with a time lag. The words came hurtling into his brain as though a space had been prepared for them. Perhaps, he thought afterwards, the space had always been waiting." (p239)

I was tempted to dismiss this as pretentious art-speak but the more I read the more I felt that nearly every flight of eloquence (and there are many of them) was relevant, appropriate, clever and interesting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By HeavyMetalManitou VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This was a frustrating book in many ways. Right from the start, Clare Morgan showed her mastery of descriptive prose. The story, however, failed to stir up my interest. The book falls into the realm of creative nonfiction; Clare Morgan took key facts about Friedrich Nietzsche, Virginia Woolf and Lou de Salomé (who had complicated interdependent relationships), and filled in the blanks from her imagination. While this task demanded admirable academic rigour and creativity, the old-fashioned style of writing comes across as overly wordy and formal, which keeps the reader at a distance rather than drawing him/her into the story. This was the case for 139 pages: style over substance.

Then a change happened. From out of the blue, a chapter of such poignancy that it set all my senses alight. Morgan's description of how Love came to Earth, helped by her cousin Chaos, is steeped in myth and majesty. The writing here is neither old-fashioned nor modern, but timeless. The chapter is nothing short of captivating.

I wish I could say that the rest of the book maintains a similar level of brilliance; it doesn't, although from that point on the story is more consistently engaging. There are flashes of spectacular prose, especially when describing Nietzsche's dark moods and uncompromising beliefs.

The parallels between the modern-day characters (who often act as the story's narrators) and the historical figures are cleverly written. There are, however, too many loose ends for my liking. OK, leave one loose end to let the reader make up his/her mind about the way in which a particular plotline plays out. Leaving a plethora of loose ends flapping in the wind, though, is lazy writing that fails to leave the reader with an enduring sense of satisfaction.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book that Really is for All 28 Jun. 2011
This first review from our family is from Jane, my wife, who got to the book first. I will add my comments when I have finished reading the book, which I am really enjoying.

Jane writes: I had heard "A Book for All and for None" by Clare Morgan described as "academic", so it was with great trepidation that I began to read it.... I am most definitely not an academic!

So it is to all like minded souls that I appeal... please don't be put off selecting this book!

I found it fascinating, a real page turner, very engaging ..... a book I feel that can be read on many levels, so much so that I am reading it again!... I just didn't realise just how luxuriously descriptive language could be!

Clare has taken me on a journey, full of twists and turns, never feeling bored ... or completely out of my depth! And if I thought I had missed something, I just happily back tracked ... she has a wonderful ability to paint the most fantastic pictures with words.... And to make it a hugely enjoyable read.... The story(ies) just flow from the page...

It is a real voyage of discovery... I am so looking forward to Clare's next novel!

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvellous development of a brilliant idea 25 Jun. 2011
By G
This is a beautifully written and meticulously composed literary novel. It successfully develops intertwined narratives of past and present as it artistically blends historical characters to fiction. The scenes are constructed with great precision and subtlety, and I found myself immersed in the character's world and intrigued by the plot as the story unveils the mysteries of the relationship between Beatrice and Raymond against a background link between Nietzsche, Salome and Woolf. The emotions, lives, dreams and possibilities of both worlds reverberate against one another as the affair between Beatrice and Raymond becomes ultimately an investigation of who they really are. A great story and a delightful read!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book for All and None
"A Book for All and None" is a joy to read in the first three pages of that particular part of the book. Over all l like the structure. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Stephen Archer
5.0 out of 5 stars Read and re-read a wonderful classic
I loved this book - in fact I bought it twice! I was in the middle of reading it when I broke my wrist and launched forth into the uncertain world of kindle. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Google chat user
1.0 out of 5 stars A book I could not read
I picked this book because I loved the title and the description sounded interesting. The first chapter was tough, but I kept trying. Read more
Published on 1 Mar. 2013 by C. Jeffery
2.0 out of 5 stars A book which wasn't for me
I have had A BOOK FOR ALL AND NONE for months now since I selected it from the Vine programme. During these months, I have on numerous occasions tried to get into it. Read more
Published on 19 Oct. 2012 by Brida
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising blend of literature and politics
I chiefly enjoyed the ambition and demanding nature of the writing rather than becoming absorbed with plot and characters. Read more
Published on 7 Oct. 2011 by Elisabeth T.
4.0 out of 5 stars Not something I would usually read but certainly will appeal to many.
This is a book I chose to randomly review, normally I am meticulous when choosing but I thought I would go for something different hence the random choice. Read more
Published on 5 Sept. 2011 by Reviewser
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book For Some
I was drawn to this novel by the information on the book's inside cover, bought it immediately and looked forward to reading it. Read more
Published on 4 Sept. 2011 by Susie B
2.0 out of 5 stars Too pretentious.
I could hardly wait to read this book, it seemed to hold all the elements I usually love in a literary novel: high writing, ambitious scope, literary references galore. Read more
Published on 15 Aug. 2011 by Book Critic
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
This is an original and ambitious book. It intertwines stories which are not really related, and yet the book does hang together as a whole. Read more
Published on 30 July 2011 by If Only You Knew
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe not for all.
A Book for All and None is a complex novel interweaving many different strands, ideas and voices. The main story revolves around the relationship between Beatrice Kopus, who is in... Read more
Published on 5 July 2011 by Charliecat
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