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Little Hands Clapping Hardcover – 4 Feb 2010


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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: 14 x 2.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 568,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'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

Book Description

'Totally sick and brilliant in all the right ways. He sucks you into his world and before you know it, you're willingly trapped. So very smart. I loved it' DOUGLAS COUPLAND --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Simon Savidge Reads on 3 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 By Federhirn on 26 July 2010
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 on 8 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
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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