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Tasting the Wind [Paperback]

Allan Mayer
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

8 Dec 2008
Set against the background of the 1980's movement of people from long-stay 'Mental Handicap' hospitals into the community, this is a unique blend. In 'Tasting the Wind' the thriller meets the 'lad novel' in a story which is dark, gripping, humorous... and above all hopeful.

Product details

  • Paperback: 405 pages
  • Publisher: YouWriteOn.com; 1st edition (8 Dec 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849233802
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849233804
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 629,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Author

50% of the author's royalties are going to Derian House Children's Hospice.

From the Back Cover

Christmas Eve, 1976: a man dies, tied to his bed in a
Victorian Mental Institution...
Andrew saw what happened. Eddie saw what happened. But their severe learning disabilities prevent them from communicating what they have seen.

Ten years later, the hospital is destined for closure and Andrew and Eddie move to a bungalow in the community.

Enter Martin Peach, who has come into care work for all the wrong reasons. As if the challenge of helping six severely disabled people settle into a sometimes hostile community is not enough, his new manager, ex-nurse Della Belk, has a deadly secret which links her to the new residents...

Can Martin and his colleagues put together the fragmented clues about Andrew and Eddie's pasts before one of them becomes the next victim?

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book needs to be read! 18 Mar 2011
Allan Mayer's thriller Tasting the Wind writes an excellent portrayal of people with mental difficulties in a care home. I think it works because the author has used his experiences of working with such people, and so you can clearly tell that the book is well researched.

It's a clever book that mixes suspense/thriller with genuine moments of comedy which isn't slapstick but sincere real life comic moments. An uncomfortable read at times, but that's down to the author forcing us to read something that we'd rather not know about - life in a care home.

Loved it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful insights in a superb thriller 19 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book after hearing Allan Mayer read some extracts from it at a conference - and I'm so glad that I did. Anyone who was around during the 'big resttlement' of the 1980s will cringe as they recognise many of the absurdities and contradictions of the time. These are beautifully captured by Mayer in the debates about language and 'real choice', the early experiments at social integration ending in tragi-comic farcical outcomes in pubs and shops and his hilarious minutes of residential home staff meetings. He also gives a riveting portrayal of the utterly, bizarre, other-planetary world of the long-stay hospital: that asylum where people were anything but safe, the hospital were people weren't ill and didn't get treated, the NHS facility where most of the staff were more institutionalised than the patients. If you weren't around at that time then this book will give you a searingly honest portrayal of what it was like, including the mistakes and the new absurdities perpetrated by some of the well-meaning but at times over-zealous 'liberators' who supported people out of the hospitals.

However the book is much more than this. At different times it had me shaking with laughter, welling up with tears and consumed by rage - sometimes within the space of one or two pages. He is a gifted comic writer, but never at the expense of the people of he is writing about and has created a world of believable, rounded people, including the people with severe learning disabilities who are the stars of the novel. Although very, very funny at times this is not a comic novel - it has very serious themes and an underlying poignancy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking 5 Mar 2013
By Sarah
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A brilliant read that I couldn't put down. At times upsetting but a poignant end with laughs along the way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read 18 Mar 2011
By Lynne
What a book. Sadness, humour, reality, and above all truth. This novel has it all. You will care for the characters as much as Allan obviously does. Well written with deep understanding and care. Don't miss this one...No matter what your taste in genre, Tasting the Wind will appeal to you.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And now for something completely different... 4 April 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an uncomfortable look at the first moves to introduce care in the community. It is a shocking revelation of the institutions that were the historical basis for the care of those with special needs and the resistance of a society not prepared for the implications of change. The Thatcherite policy based as much on cost reduction as on improved opportunity, is tried and tested. However, on a human level it is about the ability to look beyond appearances and to recognise the need in us all for real caring relationships in our lives.
Despite the weighty topic it is not a heavy-going book. It is written in a flowing and approachable style and there is a great deal of humour. I found myself laughing out loud on quite a few occasions The characters come alive. I wonder if Martin Peach is based on the author himself, I enjoyed the evangelical Simeon and the intellectual Jane. But I think Della is the real success. She is portrayed with just the right measure of malevolance. We must all have met people of this ilk - they play the system while destroying those in their path who come in the way of their own selfish goals.
The book dragged for me a little in the early stages but after the halfway point I couldn't put it down. The ending did not disappoint!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tragic but funny 30 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good read, well written self published book. Pity I can't buy more copies at a reasonable price. Assume it is now out of print.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Those Were The Days 21 Oct 2013
As someone who worked in one or two of the old Victorian institutions at the time Care in the Community was introduced and later in communtiy units, I read this novel with a sense of horrified nostalgia. Of course, the reality was worse than what the author portrays, probably because the whole truth would be deemed too horrific, too unlikely to believed. But he gives a good impression of how wrong it all was. The only other book I have read that does a similar job would be William Horwood's Skallagrigg, which is, to be honest, a much better novel but only slightly comparable as it has a very different plot.
The disabled characters were all recognisable types I had come across time after time and well drawn. I thought the staff and other 'normal' characters tended to be stereotypes and lacked originality. The thriller aspect of the plot was a bit weak, much more so than the care critique which was very powerful. The author might have doen more about the economic and political angle of this sort of care - the need to spend as little as possible (my final budget before I left care was £2 per person per day to cover everything from food & drink to cleaning materials and my boss was wanting me to cut it!), the MP's safety in the knowledge that there are not many votes in community care, the fact that care in the community when the community doesn't care is an oxymoron too far for many people.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
Not only a gripping story but as someone who lived through the closing of institutions and opening of group homes it bought back the challenges that prejudice and societies... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Disappointed
4.0 out of 5 stars Tasting the Wind
"Tasting the Wind" has two things going for it. The first, and most obvious, is the thriller storyline. Read more
Published on 15 Aug 2011 by BigAl
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't start reading it when you're busy!
A well crafted story that gathers momentum as it progresses until it becomes a page-turner. The characters develop nicely through their interaction with each other and the world in... Read more
Published on 16 Jun 2011 by Becca
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy read
Had been told that this book was based on a true story - not sure now about that now I have read it. Does give a bit of an insight though
Published on 9 Mar 2011 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended Reading
reading this book brought back so many feelings - some nostalgic and some very uncomfortable. Having worked in residential care with adults with learning disabilities in the years... Read more
Published on 16 Sep 2010 by Mrs. Julie M. Aspin
5.0 out of 5 stars A legend
If you work for people with learning disabilities I recommend this book. Everything in it is so familiar. It is well thought out. Just read it. Read more
Published on 18 Feb 2010 by Lobby Ludd
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concepts, lost a bit in terms of narrative
I loved the start of this book. I loved the way it captures so well what we can only imagine to be the frustrations of a person with communication methods which are different from... Read more
Published on 8 Jan 2010 by H. D. Doel
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