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The Dynamite Room
The Dynamite Room
Price: £3.49

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Acting at being a novel, 20 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Dynamite Room (Kindle Edition)
A rather self-conscious performance rendered utterly implausible by the unconvincing character of Lydia and heavy-handed scene-setting which stalls any semblance of a ‘plot’. One suspects the publishers were falling over themselves at the idea of a blue-eyed ‘actor’ and Bath creative writing graduate. Same old story.


Last Friends (Old Filth Trilogy 3)
Last Friends (Old Filth Trilogy 3)
by Jane Gardam
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.00

4.0 out of 5 stars They don't make 'em like this any more, 20 Jun 2014
Cleverly told back story of familiar old stagers, the likes of whom we’ll never see again. A piece of social history, a cleverly written novel displaying Gardam’s sly skill, and a beacon of gracious humour in a modern publishing arena rammed with mediocre, witless contrivance.


The Visionist
The Visionist
by Rachel Urquhart
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Catherine Cookson goes Shaker, 2 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Visionist (Hardcover)
Whiffing of bread and dripping, clogs and shawl type tales of woe, but possibly of appeal to fans of ‘woman in peril’ sagas in the mould of Janet Macleod Trotter. Leadenly persistent characters and plot, strife shovelled on soap-style. Less The New Yorker, more Woman’s Weekly.


The Woman Upstairs
The Woman Upstairs
by Claire Messud
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.27

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writing, 29 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Woman Upstairs (Paperback)
A relief to discover a novel which doesn’t resort to gimmicks to paper over a lack of literary merit (or as a marketing tool). Described as a book about rage, it’s about so much more, skilfully, superbly written with the bonus of an author who's had a pop at the modern, mediocre desire for ‘sympathetic’ characters. Strongly recommended.


The Shock of the Fall
The Shock of the Fall
by Nathan Filer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

20 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A testament to hype and cause for despair, 29 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (Paperback)
A disjointed series of juvenile, self-absorbed and shallow creative writing riffs masquerading as a profound, evolving and offbeat insight into mental illness. Poor characterisation, no subtlety or craft, its many limitations shrouded in distracting devices such as changing typefaces. Presumably aimed at those who think it’s ‘quirky’ and ‘literary’ to have their reading broken up with doodles.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 18, 2014 11:44 AM BST


The Lie
The Lie
by Helen Dunmore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deftly poetic, character-driven story, 17 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Lie (Hardcover)
A beguiling and poignant yarn, less lyrical than usual, but nevertheless skilfully written - as to be expected with this author - with intricate layering of detail, observation and characterisation. Highly recommended.


Wake
Wake
by Anna Hope
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.09

12 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Historical chick lit with Unknown Soldier nailed on, 17 Jan 2014
This review is from: Wake (Hardcover)
A blistering amount of hype for what turned out to be a flat and slow read, surprisingly callow, with muddled and ultimately contrived plotlines and badly clichéd characters. The serious "real-life" issue of the Unknown Soldier was misleading, went nowhere, and appears to have been tacked on to communicate worthiness and weight. Full marks to the marketeers for their attempts to portray this lightweight saga as beautifully written/moving etc. Very disappointing.


Burial Rites
Burial Rites
by Hannah Kent
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.39

17 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Torturously overwritten, 9 Sep 2013
This review is from: Burial Rites (Hardcover)
A`high-concept' idea that got the publishers frothing but readers not fixated by the agricultural calendar of 1800s' Iceland may find the narrative frozen by its own verbosity. Why did nobody take a shears to the endless, heavy-handed synonyms and juvenile thread of feminism? Don't know what to marvel at more - this being longlisted for the Guardian first book award, Hilary Mantel not being quoted on the cover, or the comparison - albeit by the best-selling author of a novel called Kisscut - with Margaret Atwood's transcendental Alias Grace.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 2, 2013 1:32 AM BST


The Professor of Poetry
The Professor of Poetry
by Grace McCleen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moving in the right direction, 6 Sep 2013
Relieved to see Grace McCleen has taken a decisive step away from the indignity of Richard & Judy though what fans of Jasmine Nights and After the Fall will make of Professor Stone is anybody's guess. McCleen's writing has a delicate excellence. Despite its somewhat rococo style, and dangerously-close-to-parodying of Oxford life, this novel indicates she has great promise. Was surprised by, and enjoyed the trace of wit. Good work.


The Yellow Birds
The Yellow Birds
by Kevin Powers
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For goodness sake, 12 May 2013
This review is from: The Yellow Birds (Hardcover)
A tiresome exercise in overblown poetic dementia. Sick and tired of buying books based on plaudits from watertight recommendations only to discover I've been had by the Emperor's New Clothes media merry-go-round and an arthouse author photo. Hilary Mantel gets around a bit too. It's a wonder she finds the time to write those big books of hers.


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