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Yvonne S. Brotherhood
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All 4
All 4
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 31 May 2016
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Great programmes


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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 27 Nov. 2015
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All the family use it and love it.


The End of the Affair
The End of the Affair
by Graham Greene
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greene at his best..., 25 Oct. 2009
It's a delight to see so many 5 and 4-star reviews for this book. Greene was a complicated man, and if his biographers are to be believed, a compromised man whose loyalties were tried and tested beyond the ken of most mortals. Perhaps that's why fidelity, betrayal and trust are such constants in his work.
Admirers of craft will find much in here to ponder - the construction is intricate and beautifully balanced, but never interrupts the unfolding of the story. You don't have to find the plot in the slightest believable as Greene uses the protagonist to voice such concerns in advance - indeed, scepticism is a central theme of the book and the author plays with it, inviting the reader to side with the incredulous, thus guaranteeing interest in the outcome.
Highly recommended.


Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
by Jeanette Winterson
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous failure..., 25 Oct. 2009
Winterson deserves great credit for this brave novel. It is bold, sometimes very funny, acutely observed and by turns moving, evocative.
The problem is that it was written by a 26 year old - that tells us much about the talent of Winterson, but also tells us something about Pandora Press's decision to publish this in 1985. It feels like a debut novel which has by-passed the editorial attention it merited. As a consequence, what could/should have been an exceptionally interesting autobiography feels incomplete, and punctuated with wistful allegories which intrude rather than complement or illuminate.
Recommended as a cautionary primer for aspiring writers - Winterson's introduction to the Vintage 1991 edition suggests as much.


The Road
The Road
by Cormac McCarthy
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refusing the blindfold..., 25 Oct. 2009
This review is from: The Road (Paperback)
Few books generate such polarity of response - it's clear that many readers loathe this book, and while the highest praise tends to concentrate on the author rather than what's actually between the covers, there's no doubt that McCarthy has disappointed some of his fans.
Author-centric concerns aside, the story is about as bleak as they come, and is certainly not for the faint of heart, nor those prone to depression. Anyone who is a son or a father will find it almost impossible to read at times, but that surely is a sign of its power.
McCarthy is a fearless writer, one who has refused the blindfold so readily accepted by many of his peers.
Highly recommended, but should be avoided by the squeamish.


The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye
by Toni Morrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All things being relative..., 25 Oct. 2009
This review is from: The Bluest Eye (Paperback)
Five stars for The Bluest Eye? Morrison herself admits, in the Afterword, that the book is flawed. But, all things being relative, something less-than-par from Morrison is still a whole lot better than the best most others ever produce, and if a 5-star recommendation makes prospective readers just that wee bit more likely to use this story as a launch-pad to take them into Sula, Beloved, Jazz or any of Mossison's great corpus, so be it.
Highly recommended as an entree for a proper Morrison feast.


In Cold Blood : A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences (Penguin Modern Classics)
In Cold Blood : A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Truman Capote
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lock your doors at night..., 25 Oct. 2009
Some have expressed concern about the treatment Capote decided to use for this story - indeed, the story of how the book came to be written, and the curious involvement of Harper Lee in it's creation is a story in itself - but there is no denying the impact it retains.
For anyone who doubts the real everyday impact books can have on our lives - read this, and it will be many months, perhaps years before you again forget to double-check that the doors are locked last thing at night.
Highly recommended, but not for those of a nervous disposition. Seriously.


The Driver's Seat (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Driver's Seat (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Muriel Spark
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF SCOTLAND'S BEST EVER..., 2 Oct. 2009
Spark is, of course, best-known for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, but this book was, apparently, one of the author's own favourites.
Disturbing, funny, and acutely observed, this short novel (perhaps even short enough to be called a novella) follows the movements of a woman who has gone over the edge.
Spark's own life and background is worth scanning, if even briefly, before reading this - there can be few authors whose powers of observation and telling detail are applied to portraits of characters who we'd probably prefer not to scrutinise too closely.
A truly original story, with a small cast of memorable characters and a lingering afterburn reminiscent of the best ever produced by Du Maurier.
Highly recommended.


Nostromo (Wordsworth Classics)
Nostromo (Wordsworth Classics)
by Joseph Conrad
Edition: Paperback
Price: £1.99

7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent? Give us a break..., 2 Oct. 2009
Conrad wasn't a native English-speaker, so he deserves great credit for this and other works where he proves mastery of the language. However...
The title of this book refers to one of the characters. 'Nostromo' does not become involved in the story until approximately one-third into the book. By that time we eagerly await his arrival having been assured that he is 'magnificent' for all manner of unspecified reasons.
By the time the story has finished there still appears to be no reason why the character was ever considered magnificent, apart from his possessing an impressive moustache and an ability to swim at short notice.
Conrad apparently constructed the fictional 'nation' in which this fable is set, and spent two years ignoring his family and everyone else while writing it. It shows.
Everything about this 'novel' feels constructed, as if by lego, tiny brick-by-brick - the characters, the scenery, the plot, the political shenanigans. It feels like watching a grown man regressing whilst playing soldiers with an elaborately equipped scale model.
'Heart of Darkness' had its detractors, but many fans. This effort was perhaps intended to be grandiose, epic, philosophical and prophetic, but the result is a turgid cartoon where not one character - least of all the character whose name it bears- emerges with any semblance of credibility.
It is, in short, a real stinker, and one wonders what his wife had to say about the two-year absence he required to produce it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 9, 2013 2:15 AM BST


The Fire Next Time: My Dungeon Shook; Down at the Cross (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Fire Next Time: My Dungeon Shook; Down at the Cross (Penguin Modern Classics)
by James Baldwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.38

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blistering & Beautiful, 30 Sept. 2009
If anyone doubts that James Baldwin was a pivotal figure in 20th Century American letters, this astonishing little book will remove such doubts forever. Baldwin manages to convey his rage at US WASP-culture without succumbing to the blinding, toxic racism which made the predicament of his people possible in the first place. His plea for tolerance and human decency could only have come from someone who saw how close mid-sixties US society was to anarchic eruption - read it and keep it 'cause it's one you'll return to again and again.


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