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Little Hands Clapping [Hardcover]

Dan Rhodes
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.00
Price: 9.82 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

4 Feb 2010
In a room above a bizarre German museum, and far from the prying eyes of strangers, lives the Old Man. Caretaker of the museum by day, by night he enjoys the sound of silence, broken by the occasional crunch of a spider between his blackened teeth. Little Hands Clapping brings together the Old Man with the respectable Doctor Ernst Frohlicher, his greedy dog Hans and a cast of grotesque and hilarious townsfolk, all of whose lives are thrown together as the town uncovers a crime so outrageous that it will shock the world. From its sinister opening to its explosive denouement, Little Hands Clapping blends lavishly entertaining storytelling with Rhodes's macabre imagination, entrancing originality and magical touch.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd (4 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847675298
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847675293
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 13.5 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 486,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'Oh, how we love Dan Rhodes. Reliably odd but fabulous.' --Guardian

'Suicide museum horror meets Gabriel Garcia Marquez romance, welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Dan Rhodes.' --John O'Connell, Waterstone's Books Quarterly

'Little Hands Clapping ought to be the book that brings Rhodes out of the `cult favourite' bracket ...' --Scotland on Sunday

'Combining heady romance, nihilism and despair, human failings, and a fair amount of spider munching, this is a unique, sparkling story.' --List

'After reading Rhodes's book, many little hands should be clapping very loudly indeed.'
--Alice Fisher, Observer

About the Author

Dan Rhodes was born in 1972. He is the author of Anthropology, Don't Tell Me the Truth About Love, Timoleon Vieta Come Home, Gold and, writing as Danuta de Rhodes, The Little White Car. In 2003 he was named by Granta magazine as one of their twenty Best of Young British Novelists. He lives in Edinburgh.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Hands Were Clapping At The End! 3 Feb 2010
By Simon Savidge Reads TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Where can one start in trying to write about the latest novel from Dan Rhodes? The reason I start this with that question is because you are reading away and then somewhere around page 60 something slightly dark and disturbing is mentioned in such an off hand and subtle way you almost have to re-read the paragraph one or two times to actually believe what you have just read. It's something that isn't hinted at in the blurb and so I am going to try and write about the book without mentioning it as giving it away would not ruin the read but maybe spoil the book a bit.

The book starts in the strange setting of a bizarre German Museum where an unnamed `old man' works and lives. He isn't quite security guard and isn't quite curate, he is quite curious. The fact in the opening chapter we meet him as he wakes in the night from sleep, hears there is someone downstairs ignores it and eats a spider instead before he calmly goes back to sleep leaves you filled with intrigue (well it did me) by page 8. Bring in his acquaintance with Ernst Frohlicher, the doctor everyone loves and admires and you set the seeds for a very interesting and unexpectedly dark tale about a truly shocking crime the become embroiled in.

Dan Rhodes has again, quite like in novel Timoleon Vieta Come Home, spun in a story set in Portugal where in a small town three children are born and all the local old town folk know that two of them are destined to be together forever and one will be born to love one but eternally be rejected and consumed with this unrequited love.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Little Hands Clapping is a novel that is quite unlike anything I've read recently. Told as a dark fairy tale, it has been compared to the movies of Tim Burton - although I am not sure the comparison is entirely valid.

Largely set in a Museum of Suicides in Germany, it tells the stories of the old man who works there, a doctor, a young couple of unusually beautiful villagers in Portugal, and various other people. Some drift in and out of the story in a quick dash of fairy tale prettiness, others appear again and again.

Throughout the book, a musical voice is maintained. Stories move quickly through plot, and the characters are archetypal (though not necessarily archetypes you've encountered before in fairy tales), simple, and all the more beautiful to read about because of that. The one thing that cannot be found in this story is a hero. Every character in this story has something dark or quirky or twisted in them, or in their past. No one is simply heroic.

Compared to Tim Burton's movies, this book is much more willing to break taboos, and when its characters are perverted, they are perverted to a point that not everyone may be comfortable with. Which is not to say that the book ever approaches the effect that someone like Glen Duncan can have - in Little Hands Clapping, the horrors of sinister minds are dealt with in a quaintified, pretty way, perhaps delving into the Gothic and magical realism, but never handled as complex psychological, harrowing, real world matters. And it gets away with it.

Perhaps fittingly, then, the theme of the book is beauty. Above all else, there is beauty, and the alluring, mesmerising effect it has. Two of the main characters are iconic beauties. Another character has such heartbreaking beauty that no one can refuse her.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Mingo Bingo VINE VOICE
In the Museum of Suicide lives an Old Man. By day he shepherds the occasional visitors about the exhibits and by night he removes the corpses of the suicides, who have misguidedly decided that they want to die in a place that understands their emotional state. He is aided by Doctor Frohlicher; who takes the corpses away at night and stores them in his garage, before eating them with his dog.

Somewhere in Portugal two beautiful children are born, Mauro and Madalena. Immediately the people of their town know they should be together, but as they grow older it becomes apparent that Mauro is world class beautiful, whereas Madalena is only small town beautiful, and so inevitably she is drawn to the Museum of Suicide, the Old Man and an appointment with Doctor Frohlicher.

Dan Rhodes knows his audience and unashamedly writes for them. This book is dark - gleefully so. There is no doubt that Rhodes is striving to be odd, but he manages this for the most part without feeling contrived.

It's a pleasure to read a book in which the parameters are so clearly defined. From the first page you know what you are going to get; if you enjoy the blackest of humour then you are in safe hands. Rhodes revels in his strangeness and in places is very funny indeed.

Each character has an extensive, quirky back-story and the majority of these histories are brilliant, however, the depth of these character studies is one of the few weaknesses in the book. Rhodes had so much pleasure in creating these grotesque people, that in a few cases he sacrificed relevance and plot progression for maximum weirdness.

The other small problem is one of tone. At times I felt I was reading a YA book and not the adult book intended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Package received in good time, item as described, very happy.
Published 2 months ago by Emma Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly original in an old fashioned style, grown ups fairy tail
What a fantastic concept, put together in a wonderful way. Dan Rhodes pulls you into this bizarre world of a museum in Germany and all that happens in and around it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Celeste
4.0 out of 5 stars Dan Rhodes at his darkest
I'm familiar with most of Dan Rhodes's novels; this one is rather different and very marcabre but as usual, well written and not a book you would put down for long.
Published 5 months ago by Nick
5.0 out of 5 stars What a strange and wonderful book.
I loved this book, Dan Rhodes has created a number of truly weird characters, and made them believable. It is dark and funny and a little bit silly. Read more
Published 5 months ago by laura higgins
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly brilliant, dark, twisted, funny and sweet
It's hard to add much to many of the glowing reviews already listed on here.
This was brilliant, perhaps the book I've most enjoyed so far this year.
Published 14 months ago by YeahYeahNoh
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I am new to Dan Rhodes but absolutely love his style of writing - tragic and sad, yet balanced beautifully with fantastic humour and poignancy.
Published 15 months ago by tac
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark page turner...
I really enjoyed this book. It's such a page turner that I read it in two sittings. I read it on the strength of 'This is Life' and found that the structure is similar, in that it... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jacqueline Christodoulou
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable quick read
I asked for this book for Christmas on the strength of the author's novel Gold, which I absolutely loved. Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2012 by F. M. M. Stott
5.0 out of 5 stars A real treat
I really loved this book! Funny, gothic, original; I can't really fault it. Dark themes but deceptively simple style. Really good fun read especially if you like quirky books. Read more
Published on 4 July 2011 by Miss Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
Dan Rhodes has exceeded all his previous works, and I have read and loved them all! I won't give away the slowly revealed dark centre of the piece, but will say that right from the... Read more
Published on 18 May 2010 by E. J. Turp
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