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Reviews Written by
Alex Magpie "lexi_wades"

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Midnight's Children (Everyman's Library Classics)
Midnight's Children (Everyman's Library Classics)
by Salman Rushdie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rich, vibrant and symbolistic- shame about end, 29 Jan. 2003
Rushdie's writing style is incredibly dense and rich making the going quite slow (especially considering this is no mere slip of a volume!). If you appreciate complex writing and don't need to necessarily finish a book in the space of a train journey you may enjoy Midnight's Children. Some of the other reviewers have criticised Rushdie's writing style as being too interruptive of the narrative and giving the game away. This may seem difficult for most Western readers to grasp but is following the traditions of Indian literature (and especially oral traditions). Rushdie's authorial comment adds to the sense of doom building in the novel.
Having said that the end is quite a let down in some respects- many of the characters are built up never to be heard of again and the operatic sense of fate is never fully executed.
This is still worth a read though if you like a taxing, mind-bending book even if it is flawed in the reading.


My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban: A Young Woman's Story
My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban: A Young Woman's Story
by Sh ek eba Hachemi
Edition: Paperback

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, harrowing- a very important book for humanism, 29 Jan. 2003
This book is fascinating, moving and very well written especially compared to the dry, war and politics Taliban non-fiction books out there. Latifa deals with what it is like to live under the Taliban as a human and especially as a female- her formally liberal Islamic traditions are brought to halt by the new regime and the book deals with her anger, disbelief and depression which this caused- her voice is all of Afghani women.
I completely disagree with the reviewer who says this doesn't give enough insight- statistics and positions of army units detailed in other books add nothing to the human feeling displayed in MFF. Only a familiar, oh-so-human voice like Latifa's can bring the troubles home to us in the West who cannot picture what life was really like under the Taliban.
Latifa mentions some of the Taliban's atrocities but does not need to use long lists of punishments, decrees and tortures to support her feelings- and is it necessary for books to do so? The writing style of MFF is simple, moving but never gratuitously melancholy. I don't know what the reviewer means when they say Latifah is detached from what's going on and unemotional- do they want stereotypes of wailing, hair ripping Islamic women? As Latifa says- Afghanis' are proud people.
Latifa's life story in Afghanistan under the Soviets and Taliban is harrowing and will stay with you for a long time. There is a strong sense of humanity in her story, however. This book will change your ideas if you are unfamiliar with Islam and the Middle East and, although in some places a frightening read, defiantly worthwhile.


My Forbidden Face
My Forbidden Face
by Latifa
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, harrowing- a very important book for humanism, 29 Jan. 2003
This review is from: My Forbidden Face (Paperback)
This book is fascinating, moving and very well written especially compared to the dry, war and politics Taliban non-fiction books out there. Latifa deals with what it is like to live under the Taliban as a human and especially as a female- her formally liberal Islamic traditions are brought to halt by the new regime and the book deals with her anger, disbelief and depression which this caused- her voice is all of Afghani women.
I completely disagree with the reviewer who says this doesn't give enough insight- statistics and positions of army units detailed in other books add nothing to the human feeling displayed in MFF. Only a familiar, oh-so-human voice like Latifa's can bring the troubles home to us in the West who cannot picture what life was really like under the Taliban.
Latifa mentions some of the Taliban's atrocities but does not need to use long lists of punishments, decrees and tortures to support her feelings- and is it necessary for books to do so? The writing style of MFF is simple, moving but never gratuitously melancholy. I don't know what the reviewer means when they say Latifah is detached from what's going on and unemotional- do they want stereotypes of wailing, hair ripping Islamic women? As Latifa says- Afghanis' are proud people.
Latifa's life story in Afghanistan under the Soviets and Taliban is harrowing and will stay with you for a long time. There is a strong sense of humanity in her story, however. This book will change your ideas if you are unfamiliar with Islam and the Middle East and, although in some places a frightening read, defiantly worthwhile.


My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban - A Young Woman's Story
My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban - A Young Woman's Story
by Latifa
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, harrowing- a very importnat books for humanism, 29 Jan. 2003
This book is fascinating, moving and very well written especially compared to the dry, war and politics Taliban non-fiction books out there. Latifa deals with what it is like to live under the Taliban as a human and especially as a female- her formally liberal Islamic traditions are brought to halt by the new regime and the book deals with her anger, disbelief and depression which this caused- her voice is all of Afghani women.
I completely disagree with the reviewer who says this doesn't give enough insight- statistics and positions of army units detailed in other books add nothing to the human feeling displayed in MFF. Only a familiar, oh-so-human voice like Latifa's can bring the troubles home to us in the West who cannot picture what life was really like under the Taliban.
Latifa mentions some of the Taliban's atrocities but does not need to use long lists of punishments, decrees and tortures to support her feelings- and is it necessary for books to do so? The writing style of MFF is simple, moving but never gratuitously melancholy. I don't know what the reviewer means when they say Latifah is detached from what's going on and unemotional- do they want stereotypes of wailing, hair ripping Islamic women? As Latifa says- Afghanis' are proud people.
Latifa's life story in Afghanistan under the Soviets and Taliban is harrowing and will stay with you for a long time. There is a strong sense of humanity in her story, however. This book will change your ideas if you are unfamiliar with Islam and the Middle East and, although in some places a frightening read, defiantly worthwhile.


My Forbidden Face
My Forbidden Face
by Latifa
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, harrowing- a very important book for humanism, 29 Jan. 2003
This review is from: My Forbidden Face (Paperback)
This book is fascinating, moving and very well written especially compared to the dry, war and politics Taliban non-fiction books out there. Latifa deals with what it is like to live under the Taliban as a human and especially as a female- her formally liberal Islamic traditions are brought to halt by the new regime and the book deals with her anger, disbelief and depression which this caused- her voice is all of Afghani women.
I completely disagree with the reviewer who says this doesn't give enough insight- statistics and positions of army units detailed in other books add nothing to the human feeling displayed in MFF. Only a familiar, oh-so-human voice like Latifa's can bring the troubles home to us in the West who cannot picture what life was really like under the Taliban.
Latifa mentions some of the Taliban's atrocities but does not need to use long lists of punishments, decrees and tortures to support her feelings- and is it necessary for books to do so? The writing style of MFF is simple, moving but never gratuitously melancholy. I don't know what the reviewer means when they say Latifah is detached from what's going on and unemotional- do they want stereotypes of wailing, hair ripping Islamic women? As Latifa says- Afghanis' are proud people.
Latifa's life story in Afghanistan under the Soviets and Taliban is harrowing and will stay with you for a long time. There is a strong sense of humanity in her story, however. This book will change your ideas if you are unfamiliar with Islam and the Middle East and, although in some places a frightening read, defiantly worthwhile.


Family and Friends (New Portway Large Print Books)
Family and Friends (New Portway Large Print Books)
by Anita Brookner
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Family relationships with no real story, 29 Jan. 2003
Anita Brookner is a social spectator- she watches her characters and tells us nearly every detail of them. As a character producer she is faultless and she creates some very finely honed chapters on social relations. However, Brookner's characters belong to a different time and class than most of us, existing as they do almost exclusively in an Edwardian/Victorian upper middle class setting. For those who wish to hear about these characters, who are so far apart from our own lives, her literature is fabulous but for the rest of us who find it difficult to emphasise with the somewhat superficial and pompous population of her novels Family and Friends can be slow and uninteresting. Brookner's wordy descriptions and dialogue is light years away from the harsh reality of modern vocabulary and can seem like a pastiche of nineteenth century literature. When I hear modern authors using this tone I can't help but wish they would move on- their language seems stuck in the past and pretentious.
Family and Friends has little in the way of plot but concentrates on relationships. If you like description, classical pieces then this may appeal to you. However, if you prefer something modern, gritty and action lead steer well clear!


Family and Friends
Family and Friends
by Anita Brookner
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Family relationships with no real story, 29 Jan. 2003
This review is from: Family and Friends (Paperback)
Anita Brookner is a social spectator- she watches her characters and tells us nearly every detail of them. As a character producer she is faultless and she creates some very finely honed chapters on social relations. However, Brookner's characters belong to a different time and class than most of us, existing as they do almost exclusively in an Edwardian/Victorian upper middle class setting. For those who wish to hear about these characters, who are so far apart from our own lives, her literature is fabulous but for the rest of us who find it difficult to emphasise with the somewhat superficial and pompous population of her novels Family and Friends can be slow and uninteresting. Brookner's wordy descriptions and dialogue is light years away from the harsh reality of modern vocabulary and can seem like a pastiche of nineteenth century literature. When I hear modern authors using this tone I can't help but wish they would move on- their language seems stuck in the past and pretentious.
Family and Friends has little in the way of plot but concentrates on relationships. If you like description, classical pieces then this may appeal to you. However, if you prefer something modern, gritty and action lead steer well clear!


Family and Friends
Family and Friends
by Anita Brookner
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Family relationships with no real story, 29 Jan. 2003
This review is from: Family and Friends (Hardcover)
Anita Brookner is a social spectator- she watches her characters and tells us nearly every detail of them. As a character producer she is faultless and she creates some very finely honed chapters on social relations. However, Brookner's characters belong to a different time and class than most of us, existing as they do almost exclusively in an Edwardian/Victorian upper middle class setting. For those who wish to hear about these characters, who are so far apart from our own lives, her literature is fabulous but for the rest of us who find it difficult to emphasise with the somewhat superficial and pompous population of her novels Family and Friends can be slow and uninteresting. Brookner's wordy descriptions and dialogue is light years away from the harsh reality of modern vocabulary and can seem like a pastiche of nineteenth century literature. When I hear modern authors using this tone I can't help but wish they would move on- their language seems stuck in the past and pretentious.
Family and Friends has little in the way of plot but concentrates on relationships. If you like description, classical pieces then this may appeal to you. However, if you prefer something modern, gritty and action lead steer well clear!


Family and Friends
Family and Friends
by Anita Brookner
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Family relationships with no real story, 29 Jan. 2003
This review is from: Family and Friends (Paperback)
Anita Brookner is a social spectator- she watches her characters and tells us nearly every detail of them. As a character producer she is faultless and she creates some very finely honed chapters on social relations. However, Brookner's characters belong to a different time and class than most of us, existing as they do almost exclusively in an Edwardian/Victorian upper middle class setting. For those who wish to hear about these characters, who are so far apart from our own lives, her literature is fabulous but for the rest of us who find it difficult to emphasise with the somewhat superficial and pompous population of her novels Family and Friends can be slow and uninteresting. Brookner's wordy descriptions and dialogue is light years away from the harsh reality of modern vocabulary and can seem like a pastiche of nineteenth century literature. When I hear modern authors using this tone I can't help but wish they would move on- their language seems stuck in the past and pretentious.
Family and Friends has little in the way of plot but concentrates on relationships. If you like description, classical pieces then this may appeal to you. However, if you prefer something modern, gritty and action lead steer well clear!


My Father's Glory and My Mother's Castle
My Father's Glory and My Mother's Castle
by Marcel Pagnol
Edition: Paperback

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rose tinted lenses of childhood before reality interrupts, 29 Jan. 2003
Pagnol recalls an idyllic childhood in this book. What saves it from those run-of-the-mill memoirs is the author's humour, eye for childish innocence and bittersweet touch. Reality only seems to seep into the book at the very last chapter that is incredibly sad as the characters are Pagnol's real family and from the very start it feels as though they could jump off the page into life.
I highly recommend this book- it is, in places, laugh aloud funny and throughout extremely vivid. One of the highlights for me was his younger brother, Paul's, antics. The rosy ambiance seems the equivalent of nodding off in a warm bath after a good meal. Pagnol's childhood world is a very pleasant place to visit even when things go wrong.


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