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The Book Against God
The Book Against God
by James Wood
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frustratingly Satisfying, 16 July 2003
This review is from: The Book Against God (Hardcover)
The emerging high priest of the the new "old" school of literary criticism has put his reputation on the line with a novel of his own. And his reputation is intact. Wood tells the story of Tom Bunting, a shambolic, feckless, disorganised wannabe philosopher/writer/academic - something. A man so used to lying, that his inner musings about his own lying are quite possibly self delusional in themselves. The reader is rendered helpless to accept anything he says as any kind of truth. Except that he is in very real turmoil about his Father, and the moral and spiritual legacy of his upbringing at the hands of such a clearly "good" man. This turmoil, which is at the heart of Bunting's moral paralysis in the face of completing his PhD, squaring up to the responsibilities of his (now failed) marriage to Jane and his constant musings about religion, provide Bunting with a beating human heart. There is also a touch of "Lucky Jim" in Bunting's wry observations, his haplessness and charm inspite himself. Wood mixes a set of writing techniques that are a neatly controlled blend of the old and new - the post-modernism of the oh so unreliable narrator, and the closely observed portraiture of Eliot (Silas Marner springs to mind) or even Jane Austen. Wood is an excellent crafsman and has produced a satisfying, thoughtful and thought provoking work of fiction - even if you want to shake Bunting by the shoulders from time to time and tell him to "move on for God's sake" - but he doesn't believe in God, of course...or does he?

A Month in the Country (Penguin Modern Classics)
A Month in the Country (Penguin Modern Classics)
by J. Carr
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the real Regeneration, 8 Mar 2001
I can't stress enough the pleasure I derive from reading and re-reading this book. Tom Birkin, a restorer of church murals and WW1 veteran, spends the smouldering summer of 1920 in a small Yorkshire village restoring a mural in the local church. Birkin's work, his deepening relationship with the local inhabitants and surrounding countryside, and his sudden, but unrequited, love for the local vicar's wife all serve to begin the healing process for his broken spirit. Carr's wry, but beautifully crafted and understated style prevents any hint of sentimentality or self-pity from ruining the atmosphere of the novel. Carr shows Birkin slowly rediscovering the basic decency and humanity of ordinary people, places and experiences. This is Oxgodby's gift to Birkin and Carr's gift to us. Magnificent.

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