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The Tenderloin
The Tenderloin
by John Butler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious novel of young life at the centre of the dot com boom, 27 May 2011
This review is from: The Tenderloin (Paperback)
This is a terrific novel - fresh, original, full of smart dialogue and hilarious comic scenes.

The setting is San Francisco in the 1990s where Evan, the main character, has just arrived from Ireland. He's in search of....well, he's not sure what...a job? Adventure? Love? Sex? Drugs? All are on offer in a city drunk on the success of the dot com boom; it's the Goldrush 2.0, and opportunity is everywhere.

I loved the way the naÔve, almost hysterical excitement about the web was portrayed, and it provides a hilarious backdrop for the adventures of the bumbling Evan, as he bounces from job to job, apartment to apartment, party to party, struggling to understand who he is.

There are some stand-out set pieces - a bungled boating incident and an ice sculpture seduction scene are particularly well done and laugh out loud funny. The city itself is a major feature too, with descriptions of its streets, squares and parks that fairly sing off the page.

The overall plotting of the book is subtle, yet page for page this is a pleasure to read: with stylish prose and witty, crisp dialogue that really bring the city and the characters to life.

In the final pages, the fractured relationships and inner turmoil of the main character are all cleverly pulled together into a comically dark climax and then, in a very skilful twist, a devastating epilogue.

This is a remarkable first novel - well-written, very funny and rich in detail. Well worth a look!


Legend of a Suicide
Legend of a Suicide
by David Vann
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, 26 May 2011
This review is from: Legend of a Suicide (Paperback)
This is an amazing read - like nothing you might expect from a memoir/novel. The author takes you to places you would never expect as he explores the complex relationship between father and son. Gripping stuff, and with a twist that was the best I've read this year. Strongly recommend!


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