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The Gone-Away World Paperback – 29 Jan 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Windmill Books (29 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099519976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099519973
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

What? What can I possibly tell you? I was born in Cornwall. I live in London. I have the best wife imaginable, wonderful kids. My life is presently devoid of those meaningful traumas we're all supposed to believe are the seat of creative energy. I like Italian wine, Swiss skiing, English cheese and Belgian beer, deckled edges, Asian food, and writing. I don't like shellfish. They are yuck. A friend of mine recently told me she can't eat squid any more because squid are sort of charming and friendly, and now I feel guilty about calamari.

I care about things. Random things, unlikely things.

I'm a messy person.

I write on a variety of digital devices of varying antiquity. I like pens and paper, too.

I read widely, not in a very focused way. I retain knowledge in patterns rather than lists.

I really like spa hotels.

I'm not a fan of movies whose central theme is the lack of availability of root crops. This is a surprisingly large genre.

I once accidentally ate my breakfast next to a live tiger.

Product Description

Review

"Its scope and ambition are extraordinary, its execution is often breathtaking, and its style is by turns hilarious, outrageous, devastating, hip and profound ... Hugely entertaining" (Independent on Sunday)

"Breathtakingly ambitious ... A bubbling cosmic stew of a book, written with such exuberant imagination that you are left breathless by its sheer ingenuity" (Observer)

"[A] post-apocalyptic triumph ... Immensely rewarding ... Genuinely terrifying" (The Times)

"A stunning debut" (Scotland on Sunday)

"Exuberant...Wildly inventive" (Michael Gove The Times)

Book Description

The literary debut of 2008 - part adventure, part comic opera, part geek nirvana

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon-Kunde on 8 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
"If we one day cease to exist, what will be remarkable is that we were ever here at all."

What I love about post-apocalyptic novels is that pretty much anything can happen in it. And it happens in John le Carre's Son's first novel.
At the beginning at the story, most of the the world has exactly done what the title says, gone away.The reasons for that happening, and how some of the world was saved by the Jorgmund Pipe seem to have something to do with a band of adventurers , who, as the story opens, are being called upon to save the world. Again.
The narrator recounts his schooling, his training in kung fu (with Master Wu), his student-politics days and his work at a top-secret military installation where they are building a fancy weapon. Then he is sent off to war, the fancy weapon is used, and the world goes all post-apocalyptic.
From there it goes all comic from horse/men monsters to "shark things with legs" and arguments about the use of sheep in the battlefield ("A warsheep would be a cross between a dolphin and a small, limber elephant." ). Evil ninjas("Ninjas are silly. They are the flower fairies of gong fu and karate." )and a pack of very strange but harmless mimes.("I have known heaven, and now I am in hell, and there are mimes." )

It's a beautiful love story too.I had to laugh out loud when a particularly boring and sentimental sequence before the climax is interrupted rudely by the lovable military combat instructor Ronnie Cheung, who calls everyone "Bumhole" and now insists, effectively, that they get on with the bloody story.(more Ronnie Cheung moments are needed ).
It's like Joseph Heller,-Stephen King,-Ben Elton,-Ian M Banks together writing a story...on drugs kind of novel.It's funny , intelligent, philosophical and after 200 pages into it I wished that it never will end.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. J. Hill on 16 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I just don't get all the criticism that has been levelled at this book: it is certainly one of the best books I have ever read. Don't get me wrong, it is complex, convoluted and verbose. These are precisely the things that make it superb. The book is very, very clever (which may explain why some people are so opposed to it); very, very violent (which may explain why some people are so opposed to it); very, very funny (which may explain why some people are so opposed to it) and very, very enjoyable (which probably doesn't explain why some people are so opposed to it, but you can never tell). Whenever I run out of books to read (which is often, since I read 3 to 4 books a week, if not more), I always come back to this and everytime i do I love it. After all, what's not to love? Ninjas, Pirates, post-apocalyptic world, very bad bad-guys, very bad good-guys, murder, kidnap, intrigue and social divide.

And did I mention funny? Because it really needs to be stated at least twice. Admittedly, the first time I read it, I needed to consult a dictionary more than once (and that's quite impressive- I'm rather wordy myself), and several times I needed to google up some reference or another. However, it was all worth it. I find myself waiting to see what Mr Harkaway puts out next. It's either going to be truly magnificent or complete and utter tosh. Either way, I'll give it a go!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. Charlesworth VINE VOICE on 25 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm a fan of weird dystopian fiction, so I looked forward eagerly to receiving my copy of The Gone Away World for review. Apart from a few minor points, I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable read- and a surprisingly quick one for such a thick volume. If you don't like deliberate eccentricity, then this is probably not a book you'll enjoy. If ninjas, mimes, student anarchists and shrew tachycardia make you giggle, then read on.

The tone of The Gone Away world can slightly frenetic, and it does feel a bit like spending time with a hyperactive and slightly pretentious teenager, but in the context of the post- and during apocalyptic world in question, this served to set the scene rather well. Harkaway is fond of descriptive passages that go off on tangents to the main story. I'm a biologist by training, so my inner nerd rejoiced at soliloquies on shrew tachycardia or the use of sheep in battle. I loved the narrator's descriptions of growing up in Cricklewood Cove, childish relationships and rumoured cannibal dogs, and Master Wu made me burn with the desire to take up Tai Chi; many details of the world drew me in and held me mesmerised. Others, such as the shrewdly observed student anarchists, made me snort. There were moments where The Gone Away World felt uncomfortably close to our own, and the weird mix of characters and humor revealed a lot more than I expected.

I can see how some of the descriptive writing could be described as froth, and is utterly tangential to the main story. However, the main story isn't why I read novels. As it stands, the apparently simple plot of The Gone Away World is revealed to be not so simple- delivering a whopping and highly original twist that I didn't see coming even when it had hit me over the head several times.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. WEST-SOLEY TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Always a fan of post-apocalyptic plots, I wasn't disappointed by Harkaway's exploration of his particular ideas about a reconstructed, shattered world. An eclectic mix of shock and dark humour, and some engaging, expertly drawn characters mean that there is a lot to get your teeth into. The idea of the inevitable cycle of rise and fall is played out in an intriguing mish-mash of the war and sci-fi genres.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a holiday novel or a light read, then this probably isn't it - it's a book you have to approach with the same kind of heavyweight attitude that the writer injects into it with some very carefully crafted prose. And perhaps that is the book's sticking point - it's so carefully constructed along rather orthodox lines that at times it feels a little false. That said, if you have the patience with it, there are some fascinating tableaux to explore. Stick with it when it loses pace - there is light at the end of the tunnel, and your reward for pushing through is a very enjoyable end to the book.
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