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Catherine Murphy "drcath" (Norway)

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The Testament of Gideon Mack
The Testament of Gideon Mack
by James Robertson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I fought the devil and the devil won, 18 Sep 2007
This is the third James Robertson book I have read. I will definitely read the fourth, if it arrives and probably continue to read this author if he maintains the same standard.
In a nutshell, Gideon Mack is a man who lives the greatest lie of all - he is a priest who does not believe in God. Like most of the rest of us, he lives other lies; he marries a woman he does not love, he ministers to people he secretly despises, he betrays the trust of his best friend.
Then the truth arrives. Gideon discovers that the devil is real. We are left to guess if that means God is too. When he goes back to tell everyone else the truth, they don't want to believe him. They would rather carry on believing their own half-truths instead.
Robertson manages the difficult trick of writing almost all the book from a single point of view, but allowing us to posit different interpretations of what is actually going on. Sometimes we believe Gideon is mentally ill, sometimes that he is making the whole thing up, sometimes that the story is the literal truth. He uses iconic forms like the mysterious stone that Gideon sees, as metaphors to create an atmosphere of unreality. The scenes with the devil itself are especially well done - no horns or tail, no torturing of small animals, just a sense of a deadly coupling of power and anomie, exactly the fatal union that leads to acts of great evil.
Robertson pulls off a similar trick in "The Fanatic", blending present and the historical to create an effectively creepy ghost story and his second book, "Joseph Knight" is equally fine, if more firmly grounded in reality. His style is accessible and peppered with lovely, accurate observations. The research informs the prose without overwhelming it - none of the showy "intellectual" references I hate so much.
I don't know if "Gideon Mack" will set off any debate, but it deserves to: read it and think.

The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
Edition: Hardcover

78 of 98 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 30 Something meets The Time Machine, 18 Sep 2007
It's a great idea - a rare genetic disorder means a man will unexpectedly revisit his past and occasionally his future. However it's a great idea around which is piled a large heap of nonsense. Henry, the time traveller, is repeatedly drawn back in time to visit his future wife, Clare, first meeting her when she is 6, creating scenes which smack of paedophile grooming. Equally disturbing and absurd are the characters themselves - Henry is a librarian, but not any librarian, he is also into punk rock, looks like Egon Schieler and is handy with his fists. He has to be, because he arrives in the past naked and is often forced to wear odd looking, stolen clothes, which make other men want to beat him up. Clare is a rich girl with Daddy issues. We are supposed to feel sorry for her because she and Henry cannot afford a large enough studio for the grandiose paper sculptures she creates. Fortunately, Henry is able to lay aside his scruples and obtain a winning lottery ticket so they can buy the kind of place her art deserves. Henry and Clare's love is illustrated by the fact that they have a lot of sex, but this is highbrow sex - their favourite poet is Rilke.
There are several scenes which compete for excruciating awfulness, but the one where Henry lectures a teenager on which punk records to buy deserves special mention. In real life, the boy would tell the old bloke to get stuffed, in this book, he earnestly writes the list down.
Do not be fooled - this book is not about time travel - the neat circularity created by Henry teaching his younger self how to pick pocket is proof of that. This book is about lurve with enough half baked philosophy and literary references thrown in to make you feel like you're an intellectual for reading it.
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 22, 2012 5:03 PM BST

Flicka [DVD] [2006] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Flicka [DVD] [2006] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Alison Lohman
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £2.51

5.0 out of 5 stars A "must buy" film, 30 Jun 2007
Flicka is a great family film. It's about wild mustangs and a girl who tries to tame one. It really is a must buy film, I got alot of pleasure out of watching it.

Horse Racing Manager (PC CD)
Horse Racing Manager (PC CD)
Offered by GeeksWholesaler
Price: £5.79

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a complicated but fun game, 30 Jun 2007
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Horse racing manager is for someone who is interested in horse racing a either owning their own stables, being a jockey or betting. It is complicated, but will keep you busy and interested. I found that after a few tries it got better and better. The graphics arn't perfect, but i thought they were to my satisfaction. This game really shows what the world of horse racing is like.

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