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Tremor of Intent [Unknown Binding]

Anthony Burgess
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann (1966)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001NN1570
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Anthony Burgess (25th February 1917-22nd November 1993) was one of the UK's leading academics and most respected literary figures. A prolific author, during his writing career Burgess found success as a novelist, critic, composer, playwright, screenwriter, travel writer, essayist, poet and librettist, as well as working as a translator, broadcaster, linguist and educationalist. His fiction includes Nothing Like the Sun, a recreation of Shakespeare's love-life, but he is perhaps most famous for the complex and controversial novel A Clockwork Orange, exploring the nature of evil. Born in Manchester, he spent time living in Southeast Asia, the USA and Mediterranean Europe as well as in England, until his death in 1993.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Existential James Bond and a Brutal Karma 11 Jan 2009
By Pablo K
Burgess turns his obsession with lapsed Catholicism and culture clashes on the world of Cold War espionage. An aged simulacrum of James Bond (horny, talented and multi-lingual) heads out on one last mission to forcible repatriate a defector and childhood friend.

Things don't go according to plan for anyone. Along the way we are treated to paedophilic teacher-priests, a Mata-Hari-ish purveyor of physical pleasure, a secret-trading gourmand, a precocious game-show champion and a fascistic German prostitute. All are rendered with trademark wit and detail, all compel and delight. We also escape Burgess' occasional resort to reactionary tropes and linguistic exhibitionism.

This means the thrills of a spy-novel but without the cliché, the self-congratulation or the parodies purporting to be morality tales. Full of irreverence and seriousness, Tremor of Intent develops Burgess' interest in destinies that his protagonists cannot escape, especially when they try (the kind of brutal karma evident in m/f), and ethical dilemmas as historical variants of the great existential battle in the sky (although without too much earnest religiosity). If these quandaries sound thick and stale, it is testament to the Burgessian style that this is one of the few books I have ever read that really deserves to be described as unputdownable.

Unjustly neglected.
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The logorrheic Burgess (that is how you spell it, I just checked) is way too mannered for my taste but in this utterly frivolous context the eccentricity is kind of endearing, adding to the wilful subversiveness of the whole. Burgess and Nabokov both saw themselves as poets - indeed, both resorted to the alter ego - but what distinguishes prose writers from poets (with evident exceptions) is that poets have to decide what to leave out. Kevin Jackson, in his introduction to Revolutionary Sonnets, regrets the lack of a complete poems (which, he tells us, 'would probably run to several hundred pages'), but there's probably a reason for that
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious escapism - but unforgettable 15 Sep 2009
Glad to see this extraordinary James Bond pastiche getting a puff, but I might just warn potential seekers after a 'light read' about Burgess's infuriatingly eccentric, clotted (even part-incomprehensible if memory serves?) language; mind you, if you read this in your vocabulary-expanding youth you'd probably take it all in your stride, along with the macho fantasies sheltering un-demurely beneath the thin veil of parody; my son did (as I did before him; only on a (very)mature reread did these reservations surface). Intellectual beach read
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a short yet modestly diverting (and fun) espionage novel 8 Feb 2010
By lazza - Published on Amazon.com
'Tremor of Intent' is really a very minor effort by Anthony Burgess, an author who has otherwise fully earned his stellar reputation. It is a spy story that mostly takes place on a cruise ship in the Adriatic during the 1960s. The book seems mainly as vehicle for the author to show off his considerable wit and knowledge of languages. The plot? Not very important, plausible or even fully understandable. But no bother. The book is full of clever dialog and memorable characters.

Bottom line: a weak effort by Anthony Burgess would be considered a tremendous achievement by most anyone else. Yet, I think this book is best for Anthony Burgess fans only.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intellectual beach read 15 Sep 2009
By Simon Barrett - Published on Amazon.com
So glad to see this romp back in print. Sheer escapism, best read when you're young enough to take the macho fantasizing straight; blissful, absurd! Feminists (well, women) should probably avoid. But hey, it's parody, girls - lighten up! (I fear not...) This is a thriller for those who find thrillers dumb, just as The Sirens of Titan or War with the Newts (two more of my favourites) are scifi for those who grew out of scifi. Enjoy!
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a damn decent read... 22 Aug 2006
By G.Jones - Published on Amazon.com
i hate giving huge descriptions about books and how the characters are and the problems of the book. to put it simply if you like anthony burgess and you like spy stories with a great ending then pick this book up. the history and development of the main characters was probably one of the most interesting aspects of the book. the two main characters are spies and one of them has left the side of "good" to be with the "bad". the one that remains on the good side is basically threatened by the "good" side in order to bring the other spy back. both characters go through some interesting development and get into some real trouble like a 250 lb child molester who doesnt just have his eyes on the children. the ending is definitely something unexpected but for those who read anthony burgess, they already know this. burgess has an incredible of keeping your interest the whole time. spies on adventures and their sexual prowess, as well as, their naievity and insanity that comes with job. overall an intersting read for any fan of burgess. you will definitely root for the good guys the whole way. anthony burgess hands down, was and continues to be one of the best writers in modern lit
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