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The Portable Door Hardcover – 6 Mar 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (6 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841491586
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841491585
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 14.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,113,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tom Holt's first book was published when he was just thirteen and, to his horror, he was hailed as an infant prodigy. While studying at Oxford, however, he discovered bar billiards and turned from poetry to comic fiction.

Product Description

Review

hugely inventive and highly amusing ...His sharply observed dialogue and the desire to think round corners and u-bends distinguish Holt's books. He has the ability to make the reader laugh out loud and should be treasured. (COMPUTERCROWSNEST)

A definite must for all fans of comic fantasy (ENIGMA)

The jokes are delicious (SFX)

The best similes since Douglas Adams. Buy it for heaven's sake (SFX)

Book Description

The course of true love never runs smooth - particularly when there's a goblin in the way! A wickedly funny new comic fantasy novel.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Roberts on 16 Jan. 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a brilliant book from a writer I enjoy but find rather hit and miss. Like others have mentioned, this is Tom Holt very much 'on form', with a well-written story full of wonderful wit and likeable characters. Paul Carpenter is the typical Holt pathetic main character, who starts a very strange office job with a sour-faced girl, who he happens to falls for and refrains from quitting his insane job to stay with. Together they tackle the insanely boring tasks they're set and eventually become friends as they try to discover the true meaning behind the company. Their relationship is enjoyable to watch as it unfolds, beginning, as always, with what seems to be mutual contempt. The characters are well designed and the tension between them creates a lot of touching 'moments', all of which are amusingly noted by Paul himself. I found the story came together very well, with lots of very strange things happening near the beginning all being explained at the end. More than one of the revelations that occurred made me smile and say out loud 'Of course!', which I'd say was the mark of a good book. Topped with some insane characters (just wait 'til Mr Tanner's mum appears) and Holt's token observational wit, this is a madcap read that I highly enjoyed. Good stuff.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "solwest" on 17 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
Imagine yourself beeing twenty-something, a total nerd with absolutely no future involving women in any way. welcome to Pauls world. suddenly he finds himself stuck with a job he didn't really want in the first place, spending all day with a woman that he doesn't like (but nevertheless falls in love with, by old habit) doing utterly meaningless things. And then strange things start to happen.
Mr Holt is a captivating writer. he steals your time so effortlessly you don't even notice it until it's 4 o'clock in the morning and you know your alarmclock is going off at 6...
while reading this book my husband constantly had to ask me what's so funny, cause i kept laughing load, and calling mr Holt a sick person. his writing combined with my own vivid fantasy and vizualisation made reading 'the portable door' an experience. I'm looking forward to reading 'in your dreams' once i get hold of a copy...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. L. Rutter on 16 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
I've come late to the Tom Holt party, but I'm glad I finally made it. This is the first book of his that I have read and I definitely intend to try more.

It is the story of Paul Carpenter, and how he takes a mysterious job in a mysterious firm where mysterious goings-on occur. I found it always interesting, a nice quick read and lightly humourous. I wouldn't say there were many laugh out loud moments, but I chuckled more than once or twice!

I think one of my favourite passages can best sum up the wit and wryly weird writing that Tom Holt employs: "There's this to be said for being hungover; if you've got a job to do that involves substantial levels of ambient weirdness, it helps, because you can't be bothered to notice stuff that under other circumstances would come close to frying your synapses. Treasure maps; Czarist bonds; a case of stuffed dodos; Scarlett O'Hara's birth certificate; two flattened and deformed silver bullet heads in an old matchbox; Baedeker's guide to Atlantis (seventeenth edition, 1902); the autograph score of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony with Das Ende written neatly at the foot of the last page; three boxes of moon rocks...." and so it continues in this vein.

I enjoyed the fact that Tom Holt is clever in his writing and assumes that you, too, must be clever because the vocabulary used is superb and had me scratching my head a few times.

The characterisation is brief but effective - through simple repetition we know that Paul is a bit of a loser, but with a good heart, while Sophie is a prickly but ultimately likeable character. The various partners of the firm they join are wildly entertaining.

My main criticism is with the pacing of the book. The first half of it went fairly slowly, as befits the unfolding of a mystery, but the last third was breathlessly fast and tied up very neatly.

Other than that, this was a fine book and I look forward to more of Holt's work.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 April 2003
Format: Hardcover
Holt is back on form! After a couple of books which are good by normal standards, but not up to the author in full flight, we get a story which feels planned. It opens a bit like a re-hash of his previous book (Little People) and reads as if you could never have sympathy with the hero, but persevere, because it turns round into a wonderful comic tale.
The story twists and turns as you would expect from Mr. Holt and some of the throw-aways are beautiful. Try and count the references to other fantasy/comic fantasy books.
Overall a great read but only gets 4 stars because he has written better - see "Who's Afraid of Beowulf" and "Valhalla" or my own favourite "Flying Dutch"
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark Thomas VINE VOICE on 24 May 2005
Format: Paperback
The book is standard fare for those know Tom Holt's style of writing. If you're expecting an action-packed rollercoaster of thrilling sequences and gasp-inducing fantasy writing, you won't find it here. It's all about the gags, the awkward conversations and exchanges, and just a smattering of plot twists. Things move along at an excruciating pace, but the characters are so strange and funny, with their own distinct traits and ways of looking at the peculiar business of the company that it's easy - and rewarding - just to amble through the laughs and leave the plot to meander along its way, without getting frustrated.
The central character, Paul, is painted as one of Tom Holt's typical anti-heroes; plain, witless and unlucky, but with just enough charm and good instincts to not make the reader feel totally disconnected from him. After a bizarre job interview, Paul lands himself a position at J. W. Wells and Co., and what appears at first to be a mundane, repetitive office job soon turns out to be a cover for something entirely more unusual and clandestine. Add to that his inexplicable, but somehow unshakeable, attraction to an equally quirky new employee and Paul's problems suddenly spiral out of control.
Holt executes his usual array of clever set pieces and puns with clinical precision, and most of the small oddities that occur during the story have a meaning or explanation offered at some point, whilst also leaving room for an intriguing sequel. The 'Portable Door' of the title is perhaps not used as dramatically as it might have been, and is more of a plot device than something upon which the whole book hinges (if you'll forgive the awful door-pun).
This book should give you a good chortle, even though it's not as inspiring a fantasy tale as it could have been. Nevertheless it's good comic entertainment and definitely worth a read.
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