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Freelancer Frank (Dublin)

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The Truth
The Truth
Price: 5.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Between a rock and another rock, 18 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Truth (Kindle Edition)
This is a book about dignity and compromise. The sufferings of the hapless central character are quite Pyhonesque to begin with but this is gradually shed as the story reveals the grounding of self-identity. The book is broken up into three distinct acts. In the latter two, one gets the impression that Palin is writing about all the gritty stuff that he could never quite get into his travelogues. It feels as if he has really experienced some of the environmental stuff and that makes it all the more concerning to read about. The satirical style is reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh. The book is ultimately hopeful and genuinely heartwarming.


TransAtlantic
TransAtlantic
Price: 1.54

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remaining In Light, 11 Aug 2013
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This review is from: TransAtlantic (Kindle Edition)
This is a book about stories and journeys in time. It feels like a collection of interconnected short stories, each dealing with the tangential effects of events in the lives of those who journey too or from Ireland for one reason or another. McCann has the knack of making the reader feel a complete thereness with his characters. This is especially so in the early section dealing with the first transatlantic flight. The history of Ireland also features, particularly the troubles, the famine and the recent financial crisis. The writing is highly quotable and almost every line resonates with the central themes of the book. We do not live in time, but in light.


The Impossible Museum: The Best Art You'll Never See
The Impossible Museum: The Best Art You'll Never See
by Celine Delavaux
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibilities, 4 Aug 2013
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This is a book about art and luck. It is thoughtfully laid out and contains beautiful reproductive prints and images, many covering an entire page. It is, consequently, a very easy read, and this is its purpose - to prompt thought, not to be exhaustive. The comments on each work are concise and engaging, giving just enough information both about the work and its loss (or in some cases, movement and recovery). Naturally, some of the stories are depressing and I would have preferred if the works had not been categorized according to method of loss - giving more randomness to proceedings, but overall it's a valuable read for anyone interested in the power and meaning of art to people.


A Hologram for the King
A Hologram for the King
Price: 4.31

3.0 out of 5 stars Desertification, 3 Aug 2013
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This is a book about American anxiety for the future. It does capture something of the times, and it has its insights, but it is somewhat over weighted with leaden symbolism: the illusory and frightening (hologram/business/sales) verses the real and safe (walls, bicycles - stuff that can be made by hand). Too much time is given over to the rather mundane point that manufacturing supremacy in America has now gone overseas. The writing style is fraught with over-simplification - perhaps reflecting an underlying concern on the part of the author that writing itself is not really as real as a wall - or maybe just done to emphasize the moralizing tone - or both.


The Quarry
The Quarry
Price: 2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Between a rock and another rock, 27 July 2013
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This review is from: The Quarry (Kindle Edition)
This is a book about people. It centers on the histories and interactions of a group of friends over a few days. Some secrets of personality and belief are revealed in rather surprising ways. The narrator apparently has mild Aspergers syndrome - and Banks uses this to great effect to demonstrate the difficulties of pure rationalism in a world beset by fears and superstitions. The cancer motif has been given a lot of attention, given the recent death of Banks from the same malady around the date of this book's publication. It is not the central theme, and is treated without sentiment, but is largely a symbol of entropy and the shadow of mortality. Much like the quarry itself, the disease threatens to cut away all the underpinnings of structure and life. This is a work of subtle genius.


James Joyce: Portrait of a Dubliner
James Joyce: Portrait of a Dubliner
by Alfonso Zapico
Edition: Paperback
Price: 14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Joyce, Quarks and All, 27 July 2013
This is a book about the life and influence of James Joyce. It is a comprehensive biography but full of little details that bring everything to life. The story is engaging and emotional. The portrayal is nicely balanced. The drawing is remarkable and fluid, as is the editing. The locations appear realistic though there appears to be an occasional reliance on movie stills for some of the work and the female characters appear to look slightly more Mediterranean than Irish. The book is a good, fun read.


Chess
Chess
Price: 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Hooking by Rooking, 14 July 2013
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This review is from: Chess (Kindle Edition)
This is a book about totalitarianism, strategy and the control of the mind. The story is plotted like a game of chess, with moves and counter moves, resolving into a formal check mate. It is a tale of high melodrama on the high seas. The idea of chess itself does not fare well in the story - it is portrayed as a somewhat pointless source of madness and escape that even the most dull human being can grasp. Even given this, however, the book is full of sharp, incisive ideas.


The Spies Of Warsaw
The Spies Of Warsaw
by Alan Furst
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.94

3.0 out of 5 stars Pole Positions, 11 July 2013
This review is from: The Spies Of Warsaw (Paperback)
This is a book about the shadows of war. The figure of Le Carre looms large over it. Furst has Le Carre's way with character, situation and location, but his interest is more in the oblique and uncertain. The book suffers as a consequence. Because so little is revealed the story feels like there is little at stake. This may well be part of the point but it does not really make for an especially gripping read. It feels realistic and life-like but has all the faults of the real too.


Grandville
Grandville
by Bryan Talbot
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.74

3.0 out of 5 stars Preserved Noir Dogs, 11 July 2013
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This review is from: Grandville (Hardcover)
This is a book about conspiracy. The story and characters tend to run to the cliche. The originality lies in the artwork, visual imagination and the use of animals in the place of people. It is an enjoyable enough read for those who enjoy their badgers on the Tarantino side.


Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity (Art Institute of Chicago)
Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity (Art Institute of Chicago)
by Gloria Groom
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uniform Light Source, 9 Jun 2013
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This is a book about some of the aims and methods of Parisian painters in the late 1800s. It particularly focuses on their notions of modernity and how this influences their work. One idea considered particularly modern was a view of life as comprised of transitory moments and movements. This view, probably influenced by the rise of photography, is at the root of the emphasis in the works on fashion and public spaces. The fashions depicted are full of coded symbolism, due to the complexity of rules governing what could be worn, by whom, and at what time and place. The book is erudite and full of insight. The reproductions are universally wonderful.


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