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Freelancer Frank (Dublin)

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Balcony Shirts 'Yes I Can Hear You Clem Fandango' Mens T Shirt - Sky - XXL
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 17 May 2016
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The Dinner
The Dinner
by Herman Koch
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reader Digested, 18 April 2014
This review is from: The Dinner (Paperback)
This is a book about the difference between the natural and the social. Dining, as a symbol of this dichotomy, also works as a metaphor for reading - 'digesting' a book - and here the meal is designed to deliberately stick in one's craw. Koch uses a number of techniques borrowed from the thriller - a small number of significant characters, stuck in an interview situation, in darkness - as well as the layering in of the past to illuminate and revisit moments in the present. The narrator has a certain unreliability and there is some inversion of the usual stock character cliches. It is a gripping read while questions remain unanswered and somewhat illuminating as a character study. It has a good, detailed examination of its main topic and contains some interesting insights.


Tenth of December
Tenth of December
Price: £5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How To Do Things With Words, 9 April 2014
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This review is from: Tenth of December (Kindle Edition)
This is a book about the way language can enforce a world. Saunders relies heavily on the precise tone and register of his character's words, often written first person, to imply everything else we need to know about context, time, motivation, personality and so on - things which he is now largely free to strip away from their traditional place holdings. His sentences dazzle and gleam. The effect is to conjure up a slight other-worldliness, and he deploys this to great and various effects - from satirical to moving. An adrenalin shot for your Kindle.


Play It Again: An Amateur Against The Impossible
Play It Again: An Amateur Against The Impossible
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Hand Stand, 6 April 2014
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This is a book about practice and perfection, in life, in music and general. It illustrates what is possible for the ordinary person to achieve, given an average 5 mins per day practice over a year and a half. In doing so it shows the value of amateur pursuits as exemplars of the human spirit. The book also goes into detail on the first Chopin Ballade and the life of a world class newspaper editor; encompassing the Wikileaks, phone hacking and Arab Spring events. Piano playing and warfare are most notably combined in the latter of these. The tone is understated but strong, reflecting, it is likely, the character of the author.


The Girl Who Fell From The Sky
The Girl Who Fell From The Sky
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars French Missing, 30 Mar. 2014
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This is a book about self determination. It covers a subject visited already by other authors - Ian McEwan's 'Sweet Tooth' is an example - concerning the training, deployment and adventures of a female British spy in WWII. Perhaps inevitably, the plot is driven by questions concerning the blurring of lines between desire and duty, and all this is kind of cliched - but the writing has a hard clarity and the female lead is a realistically drawn human being. The choices she makes, and why she makes them, are the real interest of the book and this makes the ending especially work well.


The Last Days
The Last Days
Price: £7.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brazil, 23 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The Last Days (Kindle Edition)
This is a book about the last months in the lives of Stefan Zweig and his second wife, Lotte Altmann. It is factually based but written as fiction - from a subjective point of view - that gets into the minds of both characters. It is clear, precise and cerebral. It is also unremittingly sad. The only light comes in as negative space - through the reader's sense of the magnitude of the characters mistake - their misjudgment of circumstances and the tragedy of beauty cut short.


Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris
Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris
Price: £6.02

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Air Kissing, 22 Mar. 2014
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This is a book about life in France in the eighties, specifically the lives of a certain cultural and intellectual elite. White is frank, amusing, poetic and deliciously forthright in his accounts of interactions, both with the famous and the unknown. The book has the slimmest of narrative threads, but it does not really need one, such is the intricacy and intrigue of White's individual adventures and character portraits.


The Black Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel (Philip Marlowe Series Book 10)
The Black Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel (Philip Marlowe Series Book 10)
Price: £4.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kicking a whole through the stained glass window, 11 Mar. 2014
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This is a book about homage and betrayal. Black (Banville) captures Chandler's voice so well that it is easy to forget the book is modern. He wisely avoids the more baroque metaphors in favor of a focus on character and nuance that really nails Marlowe's dry empirical world view. The story is entertaining it its own right, the plot enrapturing and the denouement entirely satisfying - with hints at Scott Fitzgerald thrown in for good measure. There are many lines that sing like spiders on angel food cake. Great fun, memorable and enlightening.


The Saint Zita Society
The Saint Zita Society
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Houses In Motion, 4 Mar. 2014
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This is a book about neighbourhood. It is set in a few houses in a small and exclusive area and focuses on their inhabitants, the owners, the servants and those in between. One of the pleasures in reading a book with no central character is that the writer can take you on a walk through the minds of others. Rendell takes a great deal of care crafting her characters and in making them all sympathetic. The plot deals with the things we seem to be in control of verses the things we are not. It is something of a masterpiece and repays rereading.


Books
Books
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Playing the Coelho, 25 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Books (Kindle Edition)
This is a book about the value of books. It is something of a polemic based around a single idea - that popular bland fiction is bad for us while smart intelligent fiction is good. Hill offers this up with deft Swiftian maneuvers which have an entertainment value that overrides the otherwise in-cohesive plot elements and one-note feel. The book is, ironically, populist in so far as it is eminently and easily readable.


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