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Little Bee (Library) - IPS Cleave, Chris ( Author ) Apr-01-2009 Compact Disc CD-ROM – 1 Apr 2009


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Product details

  • CD-ROM
  • Publisher: Tantor Media (1 April 2009)
  • ASIN: B004XGNQM6
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (299 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Chris Cleave's debut novel INCENDIARY was a prize-winner and international bestseller, published in 20 countries.
Inspired by his early childhood in West Africa, THE OTHER HAND is his second novel. He is married with two children, and lives in Kingston-upon-Thames. He keeps a website at www.chriscleave.com and can be found on twitter.com/chriscleave.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Jackie on 3 Mar 2009
Format: Hardcover
I haven't read the book yet, so can't comment on how good it is. I just wanted to let people know that this book has been published under the title 'The Other Hand' in the UK.

I almost bought both books, but realised (just in time) that they were the same thing.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By John M VINE VOICE on 14 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a book that from the blurb and cover comments seems to me to have been overly praised. The story begins quite promisingly telling the story of a young asylum seeker from Nigeria in an immigration detention centre in the UK. It is written in the first person from the perspective of two different voices: the Nigerian girl and a young British woman who is a fashion magazine editor who met the Nigerian girl whilst on a beach holiday in Nigeria with her husband. The British couple are drawn unwillingly into becoming part of her story to escape from those trying to remove witnesses to atrocities associated with claiming land on behalf of oil companies looking to exploit oil-rich land in the delta region where native Nigerians were living. I'll say no more about this to avoid a spoiler.
The opening uses the girl's voice in a comic fashion and so is a little reminiscent of Marina Lewycka's novel 'Two Caravans'. However, the comic observations quickly become a little overdone and oppressive for me. The book then changes tone and the use of comic observation vanishes giving the reader the feeling that the story has almost been taken up by a different writer.
Some of the characters and scenarios lacked credibility for me, including the key beach confrontation scene, which is of course the linch-pin of the novel. I also found the character of Lawrence unconvincing and some behaviours inconsistent, particularly those of the Nigerian girl who seems to graduate from innocence to develop something of a Machiavellian streak. The language and Batman fixation of her son also becomes grating. The story seems to waver badly halfway through and lapses into sentimentality. The ending is also rather inconclusive. In summary, a rather unconvincing story, which I'm sure could have been better. It was however fairly easy reading. Don't be too taken-in by the blurb or you will no doubt be disappointed.
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104 of 114 people found the following review helpful By BlestMiss T on 1 July 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I realise now that some of the negative reviews of this book have actually been rather charitable. I ignored them at my peril. Bar the second and best written chapter in this literary travesty (the reason I've given it two stars instead of one), this novel is a poorly researched, stereotype-ridden, self-important and manipulative waste of time.

Cleave wanted to make a point about refugees and asylum seekers and chooses the most clumsy and heavy-handed way possible to do it. The moral: people in the west lead such shallow and selfish lives and those darkies way yonder have such a hard time of it. Ergo westerners should be more grateful for their lot and help out a bit and Johnny foreigner should always hope for a great 'white' messiah to come to their rescue.

Cleave unwisely picked a country like Nigeria, not somewhere relatively obscure thus if he got things factually wrong hardly anyone would notice. Judging by what Cleave said in the Notes section of the book he watched some news reports on conflicts over oil taking place in Nigeria's Delta states and had the temerity to try and give his own-half baked view on what can be a very complex issue. He chooses the wrong ethnic group and part of the country to set these scenes of immense conflict. He assumes Nigerians -despite re-iterating several times that it's an anglophone country- don't know how to speak correct English unless they read the Times or Guardian. This is inspite of the fact a good deal of us already speak Dickensian English without need of even setting foot in Blighty. Cleave claims he got the protagonist, Little Bee's, 'authentic' Nigerian speech patterns from close listening and reading a couple of books on Nigerian idioms. He clearly didn't do a good job.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Greg on 28 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback
I suspect my main problem with this book was the fact that it was given such a big build up by the professional reviews that I expected more than it delivered. The cover note about not giving away the ending was clever but only added to the disappointment since the finale was no big deal.
I liked the review by the Nigerian lady who felt patronised. I felt similarly. There was something of a hectoring tone throughout the book making the reader feel as if you are a shallow westerner with no regard for Nigerians who, in truth, are generally just as "civilised" , if not more so, than us westerners. Some of the dialogue is very unrealistic, forced and stilted despite some sentimental heart-string tugging moments.
All in all, an "Emperor's new clothes" novel.
I'm afraid I won't be going back to Chris Cleave anytime soon.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Davison TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 24 Sep 2012
Format: Paperback
I picked up The Other Hand in a charity shop and I said to my friend: Isn't this the best blurb you've ever read? For the record the blurb goes something like this:

"We don't want to tell you what happens in this book. It's a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it...once you have read it you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either"

This is really clever, and I've never seen it before, but this book goes further still. Inside the cover there's a letter from the Editor utterly effusive in its praise for the book and compares it to David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas and Thomas Keneally's Schindler's Ark in terms of the global impact it's going to have.

Impressive, no? Then suddenly you realise that both the blurb and the letter are just part of a marketing strategy, designed to make you buy the book and talk about it, and that's all. But there's a problem here, if you're going to make this kind of extreme over the top guarantee that this novel will be a modern classic, that it will be one of the best books that you the Reader, will ever read, then it damn well better live up to it in every sense, or you look utterly ridiculous.

For the record, the assertion is utterly ridiculous.

The novel is average at best, and is yet another novel set amongst the crashingly tedious London Media and Social Elite which occupy about 1% of this country, but seem to occupy a lot of its novels.
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