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Politics Paperback – 1 Jul 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (1 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099459027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099459026
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 355,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Adam Thirlwell was born in London in 1978. He is the author of two novels, Politics and The Escape, and a project with international novels that includes an essay-book, which won a Somerset Maugham Award, and a compendium of translations edited for McSweeney's. He has twice been selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His work is translated into 30 languages.

Product Description

Review

"Extremely accomplished...very sophisticated" (A S Byatt Guardian)

"One of the funniest, most stylish and utterly original debuts in years" (The Times)

"This is a clever book. Fantastically clever...funny and strangely insightful... A genuinely original book" (Daily Mail)

"Dazzling...clever, funny and original" (India Knight Observer)

"Allusive, barbed, cocky, flamboyant, reckless, obscene and very funny" (Time Out)

Book Description

Adam Thirlwell's sharp, funny, entirely original and explosive debut.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ben on 15 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I should probably start off by saying that I only read the first 100 pages of this book. I don't normally give up on novels and I have made it to the end of many books that are much more badly-written than this one, but after 100 pages I felt absolutely no connection to the characters and had tired of waiting for something to happen.

I suppose this book would be classed as 'literary-fiction'. We know it is literary-fiction because absolutely nothing happens. You can read 100 pages and find that the only notable event was that three people went shopping and one of them needed a poo. However, whereas most literary-fiction novels can draw you in with prose and keep you interested with engaging characters, this book reads like the diary of a self-absorbed teenager gossiping about his friends - and not in a good way.

Whereas some authors of literary fiction might try to be clever by using overly clever language, it seems that Adam Thirlwell is trying to be clever by using mundanely basic language.

I found his writing to be as bland as the people he was writing about. The characters in the book were described in the most basic ways: 'Moshe likes this because..., Nana doesn't like this because...'.

When a writer is so obvious and prescriptive in the description of his characters, it is difficult for the reader to feel anything towards them or to use their imagination in order to add meat to the characters' bones.

The author is much venerated and this book has received great reviews, so I was surprised that I didn't enjoy it.I am perfectly happy to admit that I didn't 'get' the book. Perhaps there is some deep and meaningful layer of narrative hidden amongst the tepid descriptions of the characters' humdrum lives.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By whateverthismeans on 11 Oct 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was interested to read Politics from when I heard that Adam Thirlwell was a fan of Milan Kundera and his Art of the Novel. I had also heard him accused of trying to emulate Kundera's style and failing, and I had heard that Politics was not a particularly good book.
It is all too easy, however, to make comparisons with Kundera. Like him, Thirlwell divides his chapters into short, numbered sections, and he also adopts a definite authorial voice. However, it should be clear that he has not followed The Art of the Novel word for word, as his style is definitely his own.
Perhaps the authorial voice is one place where he is accused of failing to imitate Kundera. I disagree with such accusations: Thirlwell's voice is less subtle than Kundera's, and worse off for it, but he doesn't appear to be trying to sound like anyone else. This voice however is at times annoying and patronising. "I think you are going to like Moshe." he says, introducing a character on the first page. "His girlfriend's name was Nana. I think you will like her too."
It would be wrong to forbid an author from liking his own characters, no matter what they do in the book, but in trying to force his opinion on his readers, Thirlwell somewhat defeats the object of creative writing. It is interesting to have authorial insight at times, such as when he directly explains why he has made a character do a certain thing, but it does make it difficult to form a personal interpretation, and this could come across as very off-putting.
Thirlwell's use of characters is also similar to Kundera's, with both authors taking a theme, using it as the title of a novel, and describing how it affects the characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ikula Nappa on 15 Mar 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was ok although a bit disappointing compared to all the reviews and seemed to rely a bit to much on graphic and shocking sex. There was a lot of focus on one character's insecurities which, despite the author's early assurances that we would like him, he really just came across as annoyingly self involved.

However, good points are that the author had an original writing style that involved the reader, as it was quite conversational. It was also quite easy to read and had the ability to keep the reader turning the page, although some of the sexual descriptions were at times a little too graphic (the discovery of thrush....) but I suppose that does add realism. It's a strange one, definitely worth the read if only to make up your own mind...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 9 Dec 2010
Format: Paperback
I gave this three stars, because maybe I'm confused and there's something going on that I don't "get". I have read half this book and I've decided not to keep going. It's boring. Even the sex scenes are boring. And I don't think I'm ever "going to like Moshe" or any of the other characters. Oh, and why are they all talking like drunks and slurring their words? Isshat how wezoound when wuh tawk? Not me.
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By Fin C Gray on 30 Sep 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What this has in common with Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being is the dully flat characters it employs to make the authors intended theories about politics and philosophy. Thirwell seems to be trying the same tricks as Kundera and ends up leaving one weak with disinterest and lack of involvement. Like TULOB I was left with no real visceral sense of any of the characters. I'm glad to close this book.
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