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The Mind Game Paperback – 10 Nov 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (10 Nov 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014029421X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140294217
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 3 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Heartbreak, betrayal, blind animal terror--emotions are events in the brain and the uniqueness of our feelings is one of the things that makes us human; Hector Macdonald's debut thriller The Mind Game is a virtuoso exploration of those emotions. Oxford student Ben finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of happenstance--he is seduced by Cara at a party and Jenny, who loves him, cripples herself attempting suicide; he is asked to participate in an experiment by a don he hero-worships and finds himself shipped off to a Kenyan resort with Cara, a large expense account and sensors picking up his every feeling; he is framed for drugs charges and flung into a hell-hole jail. Ben discovers that there is no fact of which he can be sure, and almost no one whom he can entirely trust--and he swears vengeance on those who have tricked, corrupted and betrayed him. Macdonald's novel is a twisted maze of ambiguous motives and hidden meanings; it is an impressive display of virtuoso plotting and vivid local colour. It is also an intelligent and inventive display of the author's readings in evolutionary psychology and his concerned musings on where science may lead us. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Madanzi is Paradise on Earth and lying on the beach with the bewitching Cara, Ben finds it easy to forget the real purpose of his trip to Africa. Yet he knows that nothing this good comes free and he is prepared to pay the price. For this vacation is in fact the first crucial stage of some ground-breaking research by Ben and his renowned Oxford professor who are on the brink of developing a cure for sickness of the mind. An ingenious thriller in the bestselling tradition of The Beach.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Archy on 13 Nov 2008
Format: Paperback
This was certainly a book that kept me reading - at least until two thirds the way through, when it started to get ridiculous. I'm all for plot twists, but this had more than a corkscrew.

The first part was great; a student willingly enrolls in a psychological experiment in Kenya, where he's given a free holiday with his girlfriend. I won't spoil the twist, but anyway you can see it coming all the way through the first part. Curiously, that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the novel; it's when the scene switches back to England that it gets annoying.

Once I'd found my suspicions were correct, it made me suspicious that more twists were on the way. I was right. Some are rather obvious, some are not, but by the end I'd ceased to care, which is a shame, because, with a little more subtlety, this could have worked out very well.

The characterisation is slight, the plot twists rather convoluted, the scientific aspect highly implausible, and the end it was disappointing. Even so, it did keep me reading for much of its length, and it's not bad for a first novel. Someone needs to tell Hector that 'less is more' when it comes to twists.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Feb 2002
Format: Paperback
This book has been compared to the beach and is similar on many levels. The story is of a young oxford student who takes part in an experiment on emotions in Africa for his "brilliant" supervisor and gets a nasty series of shocks in the process. It's fairly easy reading and the story itself is not bad. However, the major flaw with the book is that, despite the authors best intentions, it isn't quite believable. The oxford set up is wrong especially the "brilliant" lecturer, who sounded more like a teenager's fantasy than any oxford lecturers I've met. I simply didn't believe in the research project itself, despite some decent twists in the plot. The author gets a bit too carried away with trying to create an evil plot which is unfortunate because the book could have been good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Jun 2001
Format: Paperback
After hearing a synposis of Macdonalds debut novel on the radio, I was gripped. Once I had started to read it I was unable to leave my chair. This book startles the reader, even though some of the twists are predictable, which ultimatly makes the reader feel clever and has 'one-over' the authour (believe me, Macdonald is always in control). It really is a mind game, mainly in the literturey sense, but what Macdonald has done is played a mind game with the reader, throwing his emotions about throughout the book, as is done to a primary character in the first chapter. The psychological and biological slant is not to obscure for the average reader, which has been a problem with previous science novelists and the ending is not a disapointment, more of a shock. Overall a blinding and eye-opening read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fatolliesbook on 28 Aug 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm not going to say too much about this book. The early scenes of some students having a jolly time move on with our main character flung deep into some exotic dangerous location with his top totty girlfriend and a few mysterious characters. Danger is never far away but the girlfriend appears to be far braver than the lead character. It all starts to go wrong and terror takesover. If this was my holiday i would not know whether to laugh or cry. When you finally catch your breath and work out whats going on you realise what a great book this is.
You read the word rollercoaster in many reviews but this book has some very clever twists.If only young Hector had written The Beach!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 April 2001
Format: Paperback
I spotted every twist before it came and it became so obvious that I was suspicious of every part of the story, thinking 'this is a set-up'. I had to finish it in case I was wrong and the denoument would indeed turn things around, but I was ultimately dissapointed. Don't read if you want something to really challenge you; but if you're after an easy read and don't want to think too much, it's quite enjoyable if you don't over-annalyse the plot. So, a promising start for a first novel - I'll look forward to further work from this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. L. Rider on 12 Jun 2001
Format: Paperback
Superbly written and researched this book will really engage your mind. The twists and turns are well thought through and the ideas presented are both concise and thought provoking. You really feel for the lead character and share his desperation and consternation. One of the few recent books to offer an original idea and deserve reccomendation. You'll love it if you like intelligent thrillers and even more so if you've ever visited Africa. I had it on the shelf for ages and can't believe I waited so long to read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Mar 2001
Format: Paperback
This is one of those books. You WILL remember where you were the moment you read it. Mainly, this is because its liable to fill your head to the exclusion of everything else for a week or two. You think you're reading a fast (and very good) thriller then you realise its a lot more important than that. This book is set to change the way we think about progress. Its scary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sheena on 23 Mar 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Or perhaps I am the only one who got bored with 'The Castle' and gave up on it.
Anyway, this is full of excitement. There is a certain dreamlike quality to it too, in that nothing is as it seems, and there is an underlying nagging discomfort as if something bad is chasing you but you can't quite see it.
Or perhaps I am the only one whose dreams are mostly like that.
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