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Not Stoppard (uk)

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Skios
Skios
by Michael Frayn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.79

75 of 89 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Frayn Frayed, 8 Jun 2012
This review is from: Skios (Hardcover)
Oh dear. What has this writer done with the real Michael Frayn and please will he release him? This novel seems to have been written in a hurry to capture the Euro-meltdown-zeitgeist. Has the brilliant award-winning playwright and novelist really written these lines:

'His tumbled dish-mop of hair was as blond as blanched almonds, his soft eyes as brown and shining as dates. His thoughts though were as black as the tumbled black wheelie bags...' and on and on...

We get 'tumbling gardens and hillsides...cascades of well-watered bougainvillaea...the dazzle of the sea' ad nauseum like a very bad creative writing essay.

As for his characters, they go beyond stereotypes, speaking with a formality (e.g. what young person in the real world says 'lavatory'?) that bears little resemblance to the 21st century most of us inhabit. There are too many similes and lazy metaphors that pad out the pages.

Maybe this novel was created with a cynical eye on a screenplay for hammy actors doing their best cameo roles - American social climber, sinister Russian, crude Greek cabbie, world-weary academic etc. Of course, it could be argued that the farcical plot is what the reader should focus on and enjoy. But it's so old, so hackneyed, so tired. There was nothing new or clever or engaging. Lots of people running around in a mixed-up frenzied fashion doesn't automatically mean the narrative has energy. I felt angry reading this book.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 17, 2012 6:20 PM BST


Her Naked Skin
Her Naked Skin
by Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Her Naked Skin, 20 Jun 2011
This review is from: Her Naked Skin (Paperback)
I really tried to love this play. However, it left me cold. I thought the dialogue was flat and the whole drama came across as middle-class and trying-too-hard-to-be-sensual. Of course, I only read it, I haven't seen it, so it might be very good on the stage.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 5, 2014 8:37 PM GMT


Rewriting the Nation: British Theatre Today (Plays and Playwrights)
Rewriting the Nation: British Theatre Today (Plays and Playwrights)
by Aleks Sierz
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 17 Jun 2011
As a writer, who has also seen and read many plays, it can be difficult to make sense of the last ten years in terms of locating the heart of contemporary British theatre writing.

In my opinion, ALeks Sierz does just that: he pulls together various strands to make a coherent whole. His book is divided into themes that are in some way (implicitly or explicitly) concerned with national identity - for example, race, class, politics - as he explores a comprehensive range of texts.

First though, he discusses how theatre of the 2000's came into being, what it was kicking against, how successful it has been, how arts grants/cuts have impacted on production, the problems of getting a decent second play out of a writer, how the 'cult of the new' can be both positive and reductive. Reading the author's synopses of so many plays makes me wish some of them were revived - another issue he talks about.

I highly recommend this book - not just for theatre professionals - but for anyone interested in theatre or who wants inspiration for further reading/theatre-going. Sierz has a light touch which is engaging and accessible. Perhaps most important is how he communicates a genuine passion for new writing and shares the thrill of seeing great performances.


Antaragni - The Fire Within
Antaragni - The Fire Within
Price: 10.17

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, 25 Mar 2011
Oh my word, I think this is a beautiful CD. There's great variety of songs, pulled together by a pure voice and excellent production. I particularly like the fusion of Indian/western instrumentals.

For me, highlights are Ambar - a track with heartfelt power (I wish I understood the language) - and No Man Will Ever Love You.

If you like uplifting, soulful music delivered with energy and commitment, I'd recommend you give this CD a go.


My One and Only Thrill(Slidepack)
My One and Only Thrill(Slidepack)
Offered by marvelio-uk
Price: 10.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost, 17 Sep 2010
I'd say it's worth buying this CD for the title track alone. It's emotional, classy and dramatic, with elegant strings and Gardot's intimate voice.

I would have given it five stars but I'm not sure the world needs another version of Over The Rainbow.


So Brave, Young and Handsome
So Brave, Young and Handsome
by Leif Enger
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a Handsome Read, 14 Sep 2010
What marks out this novel from other 'road' fiction is its narrator, Monte Beckett. He's eloquent, charming, naive and loyal. He wears the novel's dark themes lightly.

I think this is a wonderful book and recommend it even if, like me, it doesn't seem to be your preferred genre.


Our Town.
Our Town.
by Thornton Wilder
Edition: Paperback

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Version offered by Amazon, 1 Jun 2010
This review is from: Our Town. (Paperback)
This is not a review of the play, but a note of caution to buyers of this version offered by Amazon - it's a tiny book with many footnotes on every page - in German! There's also an essay in German at the back.


Disturbance of the Inner Ear
Disturbance of the Inner Ear
by Joyce Hackett
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Not disturbing, 14 May 2010
The writing is certainly intense, the character of Isabel is cleverly constructed and her aimless isolation is effective and sympathetically drawn.

I think this is, at times, a very self-conscious novel which lays out its musical metaphors with a heavy hand.


Grace Notes
Grace Notes
by Bernard MacLaverty
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Notes Between, 14 May 2010
This review is from: Grace Notes (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this novel. The author writes movingly about the unspoken relationship between the female protagonist and her strict, religious parents, her largely absent boyfriend, her baby daughter and her music. Bernard MacLaverty establishes a tone of isolation - both environmental and emotional - that permeates the story and his characters. It's not a plot-driven narrative but a multi-layered exploration of the consoling power of creativity.


In Zodiac Light
In Zodiac Light
by Robert Edric
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half-Light, 15 Jan 2010
This review is from: In Zodiac Light (Paperback)
It must be a challenge to write a novel set in the aftermath of the First World War, not least because it is a subject well-covered. Also, there is a danger of imbuing the text with anachronism. That is to say, Edric uses contemporary language and insight to explore PTSD. As it is based on a real hospital and a real soldier-poet, it's difficult to believe in the story. What also becomes a problem for me is the fact that the main character is a psychiatrist in 1922 yet is totally passive to the orderlies, which just wouldn't happen at that time. He also takes the patients into his confidence and discusses each of them with the other. This may seem churlish criticism but can really spoil enjoyment of this novel because the doctor doesn't seem to change. He doesn't take responsibility or try to alter the course of his charges in any way. Therefore, there doesn't feel as though the reader can make any journey. Nothing changes. Nothing happens except the inevitable institutionalising of the men.


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