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Man or Mango?: A Lament [Paperback]

Lucy Ellmann
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

4 Feb 1999

Eloïse and George, a pair of star-crossed lovers...

Eloïse spends her time avoiding the human race and making lists of damaging encounters and the length of time it takes her to recover from them: 'Speaking to postman: half an hour... Preparing to make phonecall (days) indefinite'. Yet she is also desperately yearning for George, her sometime lover, an American poet embarked on an epic of ice-hockey. Equally besotted, George has pursued Eloïse to England. When the two are reunited by chance the results are truly explosive...


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; New edition edition (4 Feb 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747259054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747259053
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,499,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

A faultless perfomance... Brilliant comedy (Time Out)

Bold, wonderful... I shall read it again (Times)

Lucy Ellmann is brilliant... So read it (Victoria Glendinning, Literary Review)

Dazzling... Writing of such a high calibre... Flashes of humour and understanding so brilliant (Susie Boyt, Independent)

Book Description

Lucy Ellmann's first novel for seven years exceeded even the highest expectations, a comic masterpiece that will charm readers everywhere.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reinventing the Mango 24 May 2000
By Kate
Format:Paperback
I like the way Ellman writes, the way this novel is more than just a linear tale. This is a playful use of the novel form, a story in pieces, of people in pieces. It is packed with quotes, lists and fragments of poetry. The chapters are short, the writing sensuous, the characters good enough to love and hate. Bee observations, Moby Dick, the holocaust and why men grow big vegetables, this is a book to think about for a while afterwards.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Twisted Humor 30 April 2004
By Elizabeth Hendry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Man or Mango is a twisted little book, full of dark and twisted humor--it's certainly not for everyone, but if you enjoy a bit of black comedy every now and then, you are sure to enjoy this terrific novel. The novel mainly concerns Eloise--a misanthropic recluse given to hilarious rants--and her former lover George, who is just ever so slightly more social than Eloise. The two are former lovers, haven't seen each other in years, and they each live in their separate worlds trying to avoid misery that company brings. Sounds miserable, but it's truly funny. As I said before, not for the faint of heart, but if you can take it, you'll love it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read 19 Feb 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a strange, quirky book by an incredibly talented author. The characters are wonderful, the most alive and unpredictable ones I've read in a long time. The structure of the book isn't traditional or intentionally satisfying, which is refreshing and frustrating at the same time. In all, though, it's quite an experience if just for the way she can turn a sentence.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clever writing style 28 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is great for those who like to think about what is going on. Lucy Ellman has a unique writting style that grabs your attention and puts you into the lives of her characters. At the end there is an ending you would not normally expect, but one that is thought to of brought the story to an end.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A provocative fascinating failure 13 July 1998
By Natalie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Ellmann has a wonderful imagination and an ascerbic black humour that is riveting. I like her brilliant use of pastich: the book is full of quotation, allusion, lists, letters, different narrative strategies, including some visual effects. The poetry, for example, is hilarious and enormously clever. It is no mean feat to write such deliberately bad poetry. On the other hand this novel should be, could be, much more than a post-modern bricolage. Why have such an apocalyptic ending when we are already convinced that Eloise's celibate state really is a tragedy for her; her life of fussy despair is more interesting that plate tectonics. I also think that Ellmann is overbrimming with material. Owen and Ellen could be a novel of their own, Eloise's parents and their shuffling off of this mortal coil seem to premise a magnificent story. I think finally that Ellmann should have used these characters in several different and more tightly focused novels. MAN OR MANGO could have been one of those "loose baggy monsters": a 700 page novel which ends up thoroughly exploring the intriguing cast of characters. As it is, characters like the three old ladies, Niamh, and the doctor's family have scant interest for us since we barely have a chance to get interested. This is a time of vapid writing, vapid novels, and one rarely meets a novelist as _smart_ as Ellmann. I will certainly read everything else she has written that I can get my hands on and watch out for her writing in the future. I feel like saying: Lucy, you are TOP of the class, but I KNOW you can do much much better." Is that really fair? Shouldn't I just be happy to have found a writer who really is intelligent, funny, and original? I give MAN OR MANGO five stars, not because of what it ends up doing but because I am convinced that the author could have done it......because she is a five star writer whose book has many many five star moments, although they could be, should be more deftly pulled together.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Is it me? 30 Dec 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I don't know who writes the critic blurbs that appear on book covers like this one, but I think someone must be having me on about this book.
'Quirky, striking .. successfully portrays her the tortured psychology of modern love' says the Spectator. 'Funny, original and altogether excellent' according to the Literary Review. 'An anarchic lament of such scope and intensity that it has an almost vertiginous quality to it', the reviewer in the Independent says.
I might be living in a parallel universe, or feeling unusually curmudgeonly, or overreacting to all that Christmas bonhomie ... but I resented every moment I wasted on this. I only kept reading to see if it got better - and because I could not believe there was not more after all the impressive reviews. Even more confounding, this was was nominated for Britain's prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction.
There's no doubt that Ellman can write: the interesting and sometimes bizarre lists presented throughout are clever and well-constructed; there are some snatches of well written poetry; and promise in some of the characters. Unfortunately, the rest of it is puerile, pretentious and irritating.
Oh, and a warning: there is gratuitous coarse language which to my mind adds nothing to what passes for the narrative.
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