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Page: 1
by Roy Jenkins
Edition: Paperback

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Portait of a Victorian, 7 Nov. 2001
This review is from: Gladstone (Paperback)
Before I read this book, the only things I knew about Gladstone was that the budget bag UK chancellors' use was his, that he was in favour of Home Rule for Ireland, and that he had a thing about rescuing fallen women.
Obviously I know a lot more about him now - there is a wealth of information in this biography, most of which is written in an informative, accessible style. Occasionally Mr Jenkins becomes precious about politics and the reader is aware of his superior and inside knowledge. Mostly though he is a very considerate and authoritative guide to the life of a man who shaped 20th century politics and attitudes.

True History of the Kelly Gang
True History of the Kelly Gang
by Peter Carey
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive reading, 15 Oct. 2001
What a fantasic read this is. If you can imajine how compelling a manuscript by the actual Ned Kelly would be, and how facinating, then get this book. It is unputtdownable. The narrative voice is so strong and the pace never slackens. It is the perfect historical novel.

A Star Called Henry
A Star Called Henry
by Roddy Doyle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but too long, 3 Oct. 2001
This review is from: A Star Called Henry (Paperback)
I like Roddy Doyle's work and as much as I enjoyed this I felt he was open to criticism on one or two points. The quality of the prose at times lived up to the quote on the cover referring to the "language of Dickens". This is high praise and certainly merited. The descriptions of the poverty children suffered in Dublin I found particularly affecting. Likewise the theatrical characterisations were at times Dickensian, and made for entertaining reading. However the prose all too often bypassed the lyrical and speeded along with the mundane. The characters also I felt would have benifited from more embellishment. I'm thinking of the granny and her books here. It seemed like a name dropping exercise only, which was a shame as I love to read literary references in novels. I enjoyed the history and was impressed by the research that had obviously gone into writing this. I look forward to the next two books and hope that the author goes for the maxim less is more.

When We Were Orphans
When We Were Orphans
by Kazuo Ishiguro
Edition: Paperback

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars intelligent, literary and touching, 1 Oct. 2001
This review is from: When We Were Orphans (Paperback)
I spent some time like other reviewers of this book, being slightly bemused by the author's intentions. Whilst the detective genre was clearly intended, it was also obviously being subverted. Clues were given as to the themes the author wished to highlight. Memory clearly, and the difficulties of making an alliance between memory and perception, particularly from the child's point of view. It was a facinating novel if read with this in mind. The narrator's point of view late in the novel when in war torn Shanghi seemed disjointed, surreal and at times divorced from reality, but just right for a person driven through trauma to make sence of a world which is itself in trauma.
This is an exceptional book, but one which requires a little thought from the reader to enjoy.

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