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Shouting at the Ship Men Paperback – 2 Apr 2000

17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New edition edition (2 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753809524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753809525
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 840,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Tim Geary's third novel is a beautifully written and sensitively imagined portrait of a Canadian innocent trying to survive in contemporary London. Geary has also taken a big risk, creating a female protagonist who narrates her own story: an ambitious move that has tripped up many a talented male writer. But Geary succeeds brilliantly. His heroine, Portia Mills, is an utterly convincing female voice. A single 27-year-old still haunted by the death of her father 14 years previously, she comes over to England and gets embroiled, albeit willingly, in a kind of Chelsea set of semi-It girls and their well-heeled boyfriends. Jamie and Emma, Charlie, Camilla and Fee: Geary draws them deftly and with just the right amount of satire. Meanwhile Portia is adrift, involved in this world but not of it, and painfully conscious that she is simply getting old rather than getting on. When a relationship goes wrong, it all becomes too much for her and she begins to crack. Geary is not afraid to plunge the emotional depths as Portia falls apart, but even more importantly, he is not afraid to give us an ending full of realism, hope and reconciliation. -- Christopher Hart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Jun. 2000
Format: Paperback
This was recommended to me by a good friend of mine whose judgement I trust implicitly so even though it was written by a man (I apologise for being sexist) and had an odd title, I bought it. It has to be one of the best literary surprises of my life. This book has that feature of all the best books - you start reading and by the end of the first page, you are captivated by the writing, by the pictures the author paints - you can smell the air and hear the voices. I won't go into the story - it's been described above. Suffice it to say that this is a story that will stay with me a lifetime, that I had to cancel a lunch engagement to finish it, that I cried (and laughed) while I was reading it and that I finished it only to start it again (I didn't feel I had given the early pages enough attention first time round). Read this book - recommend it to your friends. Tim Geary is a remarkable writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Glilla Bear on 9 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This novel bored and annoyed me by turns, until I reached the point, about half way through, where the plot twists to become a "love-triangle" of sorts. Some of the graphic descriptions of so-called "love-making" are so utterly and pointlessly detailed and full of disgusting language, that I was tempted to abandon the book altogether. Portia (Pea) is paranoid - an extraordinarily selfish and unsympathetic heroine: it does turn out that she is screwed up for a reason, but not until the end of the book. Written in the first-person, one does find a considerable and qualitative disjunction between what comes out of Portia's mouth and what she is narrated as having in her head. This is unconvincing. Some of the writing is pretentious, with much name-dropping by certain characters who seem to have little knowledge of the great artists they mention (Elgar, Austen etc). There is much Rendellian fiddling with words - at times, especially near the beginning, one feels as if one is doing a Ximenes crossword - so keep a dictionary to hand! The hero, Luke, (Portia's posh lover) is so naif as to make one weep for him. The title (others have mentioned its pretentious ring) turns out to have negligible point. The story ends unsatisfactorily, leaving you wondering whether Pea is reconciled to her life, to Luke, to her friend Kaz, to her rescuer, Ulla who has found her on the shore like a piece of beached jetsam. And yet - ironically, one finishes by thinking that one has read something that might, just might, be a substantial piece of fiction. If the title makes you believe you are getting something in the Sebastian Barry class, however, then do think again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Mar. 1999
Format: Hardcover
I totally loved this book. It's funny and moving and tackles universal issues. It is told by a 27 year-old woman and I really couldn't believe that it had been written by a man. It's about a woman called Portia who has never been able to understand why her father killed himself when she was younger, and who is desperate to get to England -- where he was from -- so she can try to understand him, and herself, better. She blames her Canadian mother for her Dad's suicide and so wants to get away from her and begin again. Without giving too much away, she goes to England, falls in with the wrong crowd and in love with the wrong person, and then she starts finding things out about her Dad that she really doesn't want to know. I stayed up all night finishing the book. It's much better written than a normal page-turner.The descriptions of things are amazing and the relationships that Portia has with her boyfriend, her mother and her lover are incredibly well told. You can totally believe all the characters, and even though Portia isn't maybe the easiest character in the world, you really understand why she is the way she is. We've all got friends like her! By the end, she has changed, and has accepted that she was wrong. You believe that her life will get better. Tim Geary has done an amazing job of getting inside the head of a 27 year old woman. I'm 28, and I felt so many of the things that Portia feels. The way he writes about England and the English is funny, but the books's also quite sad and moving. I even cried at the end. You really should buy and read this book, so you can be talking about it before everyone else!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Jun. 1999
Format: Hardcover
I haven't even finished this book yet, but am enjoying it so completely that I couldn't wait to shout about it. I am a writer and my book is currently in the top twenty bestsellers, which is wonderful, but when I read a book like this, it makes me want to spit at the injustice of the publishing world. This book is a thousand times better than mine - this is the book that I always wanted to write and I couldn't because it's so difficult to write this well - Tim Geary makes it look so bloody easy! If I could write a book even half this good, I would die happy.
It's the little things that make this book so special - Portia storming out of a wedding because she couldn't cope with what was being expected of her socially, the competitiveness between Luke and his brother, the way he describes summer dying in a matter of hours one weekend, Portia not feeling like having sex first thing in the morning but doing it anyway. Nothing grates, there are no cliches, it's all so familiar yet there are descriptions of situations, places and emotions that I've never seen before in any novel. Geary also manages to make you really like Portia, who is, quite frankly, the type of girl I would steer clear of in real life, who I would be suspicious of, and that is such a clever thing to be able to do.
Although this is a stunningly well-written novel, it doesn't take itself at all seriously - it is literary with a small L. It is accessible and commercial. There is no reason why this book shouldn't appeal to the same sorts of people who have been buying my book its thousands. So why have I never heard of Geary and why is his book going to sell a tenth of mine?
It's all so unfair. Rectify this situation immediately by buying this book for all your friends and talking about it to strangers on the street!!
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