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Allan Gordon "allangordon" (Erskine, Scotland)

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The Trip [DVD]
The Trip [DVD]
Dvd ~ Steve Coogan
Offered by Helen's Goodies
Price: £5.07

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melancholy merriment, 9 Sept. 2012
This review is from: The Trip [DVD] (DVD)
The Trip is simply extraordinary - it defies easy categorisation - is it a comedy or a drama, is it a post-modern exploration of fame and celebrity? However you choose to define it one thing is absolutely clear - it is very funny, especially in the competitive use of impersonations. The basic plot is that Steve Coogan has been commissioned to review half a dozen restaurants in the North of England and when his American girlfriend backs out he eventually asks Rob Brydon to accompany him on his trip. This is the basic narrative drive which then becomes an exploration of the nature of fame, the impact of ageing, the importance of love and relationships, comedy and the beauty and distinctiveness of the North of England.
The Trip is remarkable also for its cinematography. The lighting is beautiful and the locations are not just a backdrop but an integral part of the whole narrative. The Trip is a hymn of praise to the beauty of the North of England. Steve Coogan muses on the distinct identity that the North has and the central role it played in the Industrial Revolution and popular culture. The Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales are shown in all their wintry glory - I found myself planning when I could re-visit these magnificent landscapes. Rob Brydon recites Wordsworth at Malham and Bolton Abbey and although it is partially played for comic effect it is genuinely moving. Serious points are made through comedy - Steve likes to impart information and apply scientific knowledge when he visits landscapes whereas Rob likes to just enjoy the moment quietly. The two approaches are equally valid but very different. Steve has the tables turned on him at Malham - just watch as he tries to get away from another geology enthusiast.
The Trip is also courageous. Both Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan seem to play recognisable versions of what we may imagine their real characters to be like. Steve is neurotic, self-questioning and egotistical; Rob is open, sincere, light-hearted and relatively straight forward. There is a cruelty and egotism in Steve Coogan's character that is not only the source of humour but I found it to be genuinely unsettling on occasions. The series also juxtaposes the relationships with women that both men have. Steve is ostensibly more `successful' with women - he has had far more sexual partners and relationships but Rob's bond with his wife is very warm, loving and stable. Which brings me on to the abiding quality of The Trip - it is profoundly melancholy. Steve may be the bigger name but fame and success are transitory and for all his aspirations to be a great comic actor he has not achieved all that he feels he could have. He is preoccupied with ageing and both physical and professional decline. I will not say too much but in the final closing scenes it is clear which man is the most fulfilled.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 13, 2012 10:56 PM GMT

Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas
Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas
by Matthew Hollis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Troubled Man; A Great Poet, 28 Sept. 2011
Reading biographies can be a hazardous enterprise; people who you have admired for years can often be revealed as being far less likeable than you hoped. If you are lucky you will find that your affection deepens even though you are more aware of their faults and foibles. Some people can make a complete distinction between the life and the work and will continue to enjoy the latter even when their hero/heroine is revealed to be a complete rogue. I can continue to get pleasure from the work of writers even after I have found out that they are not quite as admirable as I once thought, but they are often diminished. Examples of this would include Philip Larkin, Ernest Hemingway and John Fowles.
I came to this new biography of Edward Thomas as an admirer of his work. He is a poet whose work I greatly like but I don't hold him in as high esteem as Keats, Coleridge or Blake. I was aware of the rough details of his life - years of hack work and a short but spectacular career as a poet. I had read his wife Helen's wonderful memoirs, As It Was and World Without End. Matthew Hollis concentrates on the final five years of his life and the influence of Robert Frost on both his life and career. Hollis charts the remarkable development of Thomas as a poet and the incredible creative outpouring that ensued when he finally found a poetic voice. He is very good at this and he conveys the qualities that mark out Thomas' poetry. He also demonstrates the enormously beneficial impact that Frost had upon Thomas as a person. He helped to lift him out of a crippling depression and give his life and career a sense of purpose it often lacked. Frost is the real hero of this book and it is tragically ironic that he was instrumental in propelling Thomas upon a path which led to his death in the First World War. It is not necessary to say too much about how this happens because the influence of an incident involving Frost, Thomas and a gamekeeper, as well as the impact of Frost's famous The Road Not Taken are the key episodes in this book.
Hollis makes it clear that though Thomas possessed personal and physical charm, he was a deeply troubled man. His workload as a writer was crippling and he lurched from one financial crisis to another. He was afflicted by terrible depressive episodes and attempted suicide. He would disappear for prolonged periods leaving Helen to look after the children. His relationship with his children was highly strained and you are left with the impression that he didn't really love Helen, and when he is repeatedly cruel to her, you wish that she had left him. Helen Thomas' love for her husband and her patience is extraordinary. I feel that Matthew Hollis doesn't give sufficient attention or credit to this remarkable woman. Edward undoubtedly experienced depressions which would require medical intervention nowadays but it his wife and his family who bore the brunt of this. You cannot help pitying him and his family. I found many of these episodes painful to read and Thomas' lapses into mental cruelty detracted from his character, although his depressive disorder offers some degree of mitigation.
Frost is the most endearing person in this book and I defy anyone not to feel that it his influence and generosity that are the pivotal influence in Edward's life. Even though I knew the outcome I was still moved to tears by Thomas' death. He was almost too old for combat and he was only really there to prove a point that didn't need to be made. He had so much more writing and living to do but I couldn't also help feeling that death was also a release from the doubts and despair that dominated his life. At his best his poetry conveys a sense of the beauty and transience of everything that is worthwhile in life. Hollis succeeds in showing how Thomas managed to wrestle moments of wonder and beauty from a life that was in many respects a torment. I probably value Thomas' poetry even more after reading this biography because I now realise how it was so painfully achieved.

Howards End is on the Landing: A year of reading from home
Howards End is on the Landing: A year of reading from home
by Susan Hill
Edition: Hardcover

80 of 81 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Reading Journey Around Susan Hill's House, 18 Nov. 2009
I read a review of this book and it captured my imagination. Susan Hill had been looking for her copy of Howard's End and as she struggled to locate it she realised that amongst the books on the landing there were at least a dozen that she had never read; this made her re-evaluate how she read and she decided to spend a year reading only books that were on her shelves. Like Susan I purchase many books each year, both new and second-hand, and I also borrow books from the library. I am growing increasingly aware that I am very unlikely to read all of the books that I own in my lifetime, and I was very attracted by the notion of finding out how someone else had attempted to tackle this problem.

Hill decided that she would forsake new purchases and just concentrate on her own personal library. The process of selecting the books that she would read is the main thrust of the narrative. She considers different genres of fiction and also different types of non-fiction including diaries and journals. She focuses on particular authors such as Dickens and Hardy and outlines what they meant to her. She also gives us anecdotes of her meetings with famous writers that she has personally encountered. I found the consideration of individual writers to be slightly disappointing; there weren't the insights into these writers that I was hoping for. She is nowhere near as insightful as Orwell can be or for that matter, John Cowper Powys, whose books `One Hundred Best Books' and the `Enjoyment of Literature' I find to be almost inexhaustible.

I enjoyed the atmosphere that Susan created. You get a sense of what her house in the countryside is like and there was a sense of adventure about the whole literary journey. I found the book to also be thought-provoking and I have decided that I will also avoid new purchases next year (or at least try to) and just focus on the many unread books that I own. She has certainly encouraged me to re-examine how I go about reading and how I can structure it, and that can only be a good thing. She has also brought to my attention several books that I am unfamiliar with such as `The Rector's Daughter' by F.M. Mayor. Although I was slightly disappointed with some aspects of the book, especially the rather commonplace observations about the merits or otherwise of some writers, it is a book worth reading, and any passionate reader will do well to consider how and why they read. The book is worth buying for many reasons, not the least being the fantastic paragraph which sets the scene at the end of the introductory chapter:

"The journey began in the old farmhouse where I live, surrounded by the gently rising hills and graceful trees, the ploughed and planted fields, the hedgerows and flower borders and orchards and old stone walls, the deer and birds and hedgehogs and rabbits, the foxes and badgers and moths and bees of Gloucestershire. I climbed two flights of elm-wood stairs to the top landing in search of a book, and found myself embarked on a year of travelling through the books of a lifetime."
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 10, 2012 10:01 PM BST

The Changeling
The Changeling
by Andrew Marr
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The nature of charity and compassion, 31 Mar. 2008
This review is from: The Changeling (Paperback)
Robin Jenkins is an author whose work has only gradually begun to receive the recognition that it deserves during the past decade, with many of his books which were out-of-print, being republished recently by Polygon. I have read several of Jenkins' novels and The Changeling is undoubtedly the best that I have read. Although it was written in 1958 the themes it touches upon are still relevant.
The Changeling is about a slum child, Tom Curdie, who is taken on holiday by his teacher, Charles Forbes. Forbes sees qualities in Tom that none of his other teachers see; the latter only see an insolent and devious child, whereas Charles sees that Tom has `one of the best intelligences in the school' and he also notices `the strange beauty of his imagination'. Forbes takes Tom on holiday with him hoping that he will effect a positive change in Tom's life by taking him away from his normal life for two weeks, and by surrounding him with a loving family environment. Tom lives in Donaldson's Court, a notorious slum, and his own family is blighted by ignorance, ill health, poverty and alcoholism. He has developed a steely stoicism to cope with his circumstances, which is misinterpreted as callousness by some. The holiday brings about a transformation in Tom's life but it comes at a terrible price. The Forbes family consider him to be a disruptive and malign influence and arrange to send him back. However, Tom's inner change means that he cannot return home again because the holiday has thrown into stark relief how appalling his family background is. The contrast between the Curdies and the Forbes' way of life is made dramatically clear when the Curdies unexpectedly arrive to `visit' Tom. Their arrival precipitates an inner crisis for Tom and he decides to take desperate action.
Jenkins explores the limits of Charles Forbes' compassion and how idealism has to be tempered with realism and imagination. Charles' motives in helping Tom are not entirely altruistic and he has to confront his own inadequacies and shortcomings. He has to acknowledge that `love has failed among them' and that when he has to deal with the ugly reality of Tom's family he has to accept that he is no Samaritan. The book asks hard questions about the nature of charity and whether you can bring about a genuine improvement in someone's life without further damaging them. The book also shows through the life of Tom and his friends, the real impact poverty and deprivation have upon people's life chances, aspirations and expectations. Apart from Tom the only character that achieves any real enlightenment is Charles' daughter, Gillian. After an initial hostility to Tom she achieves an insight into his predicament and develops `the profoundest complicity with Tom'.
In an age when we are still confronted by the effects of social deprivation upon children this book explores the nature of intervention and how it requires real commitment and imagination as well as compassion. Jenkins' perennial theme is how goodness and innocence cope when they have to confront the brute realities of society, and The Changeling deals with this brilliantly. It is a relatively short novel but it manages to say a lot about significant matters. It is beautifully written and it combines social realism with humour and moments of visionary lyricism.

Another Bloody Love Letter
Another Bloody Love Letter
by Anthony Loyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A need for conflict, 29 Nov. 2007
Anthony Loyd is one of Britain's leading war correspondents. He served in the army in the first Gulf War, subsequently dropping out and becoming a freelance war correspondent. He has covered conflicts over the past seventeen years in countries such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sierra Leone. What makes Loyd different from many other war correspondents, apart from the exceptional qualities of his writing, is that he is brutally honest about his addiction to war. This does not mean that he is a macho, insensitive war-monger; instead, it is because being in a conflict situation seems to give him a level of intensity and satisfaction that he is incapable of finding in ordinary civilian life. He acknowledges that this may be a deficiency in his character, as is evidenced by his heroin addiction, which seems to peak when he is away from conflict zones.

Anthony is prepared to travel to places and put himself in situations which most journalists would baulk at. Another Bloody Love Letter follows Loyd's experiences in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa. Whatever problems may afflict our lives you will still be extremely grateful that your are not living in Sierra Leone or Afghanistan where conflict is so endemic that it is hard to see how anything approaching a stable, peaceful life can ever be possible. Loyd is clear-eyed and unsentimental about his experiences and he gives an insight into the suffering of civilians. When he is in a position to help he will, but he doesn't pretend that you can always be altruistic if it means endangering your colleagues or yourself. He emphasises that he chooses to go into conflict situations, unlike the majority of civilians, whose lives are turned upside down and destroyed through no choice of their own.

The main narrative drive of this book is in identifying the murderers of Loyd's mentor, the journalist Kurt Schork, in Sierra Leonne. Anthony is compelled to re-trace Schork's movements and identify his killers. He gives a strong sense of why Schork was an exceptional person and the quest to find out what happened is utterly compelling. The two of them have a strong relationship, and in many respects Schork is a substitute father-figure for Anthony, whose own father left them when he was young. Schork's death is almost incomprehensible to Loyd, who felt that Schork had an almost supernatural ability to apprehend and avoid deadly situations.

This book is also as much about love as it is about war. Loyd's family loom large in the background as they help him through his heroin addiction and support him through his obsession with the world's conflict zones. The loss of Schork and other colleagues hits him hard, but the compulsion to endanger himself and experience war never diminishes. Although Loyd does not glorify war you feel that without it his life will be almost totally devoid of meaning. The book is also full of a real appreciation of the beauty of the places he visits and this is thrown into stark relief by the stupidity of human beings as they inflict unnecessary suffering on each other.

God is Not Great: The Case Against Religion
God is Not Great: The Case Against Religion
by Christopher Hitchens
Edition: Hardcover

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A forceful polemic, 29 Nov. 2007
Recently there have been a number of books published advocating the case against belief in God and religion. The most famous example is Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion which has aroused great controversy amongst religious believers. While Dawkins focuses on the scientific evidence (or the lack of it) relating to the possible existence of God, Christopher Hitchens focuses more on the cultural and historical impact of religion. Hitchens is a famous left-wing journalist who resides in America, although his reputation has taken a bit of a blow as a consequence of his support for the war in Iraq which he sees as essentially a war of liberation waged on behalf of democracy (which is a whole other debate ....).

Christopher Hitchens, whose brother is the Daily Mail journalist and practising Christian Peter Hitchens, cannot see any merit in religion at all. He sees it as stemming from our fear of death and it is something which we need to jettison if we are ever to mature as a species. He sees it as having a tendency to foster unhealthy alliances with reactionary politics and he cannot see any worthwhile relationship between religion and morality. He demonstrates the flaws, inaccuracies and contradictions that riddle all of the sacred texts of the main religions, especially the Abrahamic ones and shows how problematic this is because these texts are presented by religious believers as being the Word of God.

He explores how religion underpins many irrational practices such as male and female circumcision which result in unnecessary suffering. Religion, as represented by the Christian Right in America and Islamic fundamentalism, is having a dangerous impact upon politics and both pose a threat to secular democracy. This book is an impassioned cry for reason and secular democracy. Hitchens has visited many of the world's trouble spots and has seen the damage that religious beliefs can have. Religious believers often argue that the worst regimes in human history were secular, but Hitchens points out that in the regimes of Mao, Stalin and Hitler the population were encouraged to worship the leaders and accord them a divine-like status.

As with all polemics there is insufficient consideration given to alternative viewpoints, and although I agree with much of what Hitchens says, the impact of religion has not been wholly negative. He does concede that there have been brave and good people who have had strong religious beliefs and he even goes so far as to suggest that some form of religious belief may be `hard-wired' into our brains, because it served some evolutionary purpose in the past.

This book is very thought provoking and it powerfully advocates the argument that religion is not a force for good in the world. Whatever your own beliefs, it is a book that will challenge you and one that deserves to be read and taken seriously.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 10, 2012 10:12 PM BST

Narcissus Road
Narcissus Road
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £2.55

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Promising debut, 28 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Narcissus Road (Audio CD)
The resurgence of British guitar-based rock groups continues apace with The Hours' debut album, Narcissus Road. The Hours are basically Ant and Martin Slattery, who have both been musically involved with Shaun Ryder, Joe Strummer and Jarvis Cocker. The subject matter of the album is love, death, murder, dreams,....pretty much life itself! The instrumentation is a bit more varied than your average guitar band; there is extensive use of piano, strings and keyboard, with even a glockenspiel thrown into the mix. This means that the album doesn't suffer from a uniform musical landscape, an affliction which ruins many contemporary albums. The standout tracks on the album are Ali in the Jungle, which is the best inspirational track in years, Back When You Were Good, and Icarus. Comparisons have been made with Radiohead but I feel that in terms of sensibility they are more akin to The Editors or Maximo Park. So if you like bold, passionate, dark rock you may find that The Hours are a very welcome addition to your CD collection.

Neon Bible
Neon Bible
Price: £5.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Capturing the Zeitgeist!, 28 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Neon Bible (Audio CD)
Arcade Fire are possibly the biggest band in the world at present and there is a lot of hype surrounding them. Neon Bible is their second album, and it follows the critically acclaimed Funeral, which set a very high standard. So, is the hype justified? The first three songs, Black Mirror, Keep the Car Running and Neon Bible are good but it is only when Intervention starts that the album becomes quite simply extraordinary. Arcade Fire uses multi-layered instrumentation and this gives their best work an almost symphonic quality, as the songs build to a crescendo. Intervention utilises pipe organ over strummed guitars, strings and a choir. The song manages to be both melancholic and celebratory simultaneously. Black Wave/Bad Vibrations, Ocean of Noise are similarly strong tracks, fusing images of catastrophe with defiance. Windowsill challenges Intervention as a contender for being the best track on the album, and it probably makes the strongest political statement; an observer sees a world outside wrecked by rampant commercialism, junk culture, war and environmental degradation and wants to escape from this overpowering vision. The final two tracks contrast strongly. No Cars Go is a simple, joyous song that leads into the darkly beautiful, My Body is a Cage which deals with themes of spiritual and emotional imprisonment, ending on the reiteration of the line "Set my spirit free!", which builds to a powerful rallying cry.

Even though the subject matter is often dark, don't think that this album will induce despair. The songs may capture the zeitgeist, and articulate the unease and fear that is collectively gripping us as the world lurches from conflict to environmental apocalypse, but they are so imbued with beauty, joy and celebration that you are left feeling that they affirm all that is good and worthwhile about being alive. Neon Bible touches upon weighty matters such as the role of America, Iraq, the power of religion, but it is done in a poetic, slightly oblique way, and Arcade Fire don't have the bombastic quality of U2 or Coldplay. Critiques of religion and America are two-a-penny just now and Arcade Fire manages to avoid cliché, due to the sheer power of their musical vision. This album is almost as good as Radiohead's OK Computer in its musical range and inventiveness, which is high praise indeed.

1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four
1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four
by George Orwell
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, 28 Sept. 2007
I first read this book in 1984 during my fourth year at Clydebank High School. I was apprehensive about reading it; an older cousin had struggled with it, when he was doing his Higher English and it gave the impression from the cover that it would be dull and very earnest. However, from its striking opening sentence "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen" it ensnared me in a way that very few books have done since. There are few books which have made such an impact upon the common culture of Britain and the wider world. Phrases such as Big Brother, Room 101 (the worst place in the world) and the Thought Police have entered into the collective consciousness of the nation. As the amount of surveillance by the state continues to grow we mutter that we are moving to a `Big Brother Society', and we fear that our privacy and freedoms are being steadily eroded.

For those who haven't read it Nineteen Eighty-Four is an allegorical political novel. The story takes place in a nightmarish dystopia where the omnipresent State enforces perfect conformity among members of a totalitarian Party through indoctrination, propaganda, fear, and ruthless punishment. Winston works for The Ministry of Truth which "concerned itself with news, entertainment, education and the fine arts." He helps to write news articles which manipulate and distort the truth and he is complicit in the production of government propaganda. Winston despises his society and believes that values such as objective truth, love, decency and loyalty, which were once commonplace, can be resurrected, and he decides to rebel against The Party.

There is a common misconception that in Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell was indulging in prophecy and was describing how the future would be. What he was actually doing was extrapolating from existing tendencies in the world of the late forties and projecting them into the year 1984. The grubby, seedy atmosphere of the book is taken from the living conditions of post-war Britain, and this helps to give the book much of its authenticity. He got the title for the book by simply swapping around '48 for '84. Orwell was a man of the Left, but he despised the Soviet Union and he saw the behaviour of Stalin and his ilk as both a threat to Britain, and as a dangerously totalitarian example which some in the Left wished to ape. Nineteen Eight-Four is a vision of what it would be like to live in a society in which individuals are not valued, in which permanent war is waged in the name of peace, in which every aspect of an individual's life comes under the scrutiny of the state and in which government is not conducted in the name of the collective good, but instead is just about the naked perpetuation of brutal political power. As O'Brien says to Winston, "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face- for ever." This novel's relevance has not dated; the issues that it addresses are still with us, and it reminds us that we must always be vigilant in protecting our freedoms. In the age of political spin it is good to be reminded, as this book does, that the manipulation of language is extremely dangerous, and has to be challenged. Nowadays there is a proliferation of euphemisms for what are really rather unpleasant things, for example: 'friendly fire', 'collateral damage' and 'pacification'. Orwell detected this tendency in his own time and it continues to flourish.

Nineteen Eighty-Four made a huge impact upon me. I devoured all of Orwell's other work and I found that I especially loved his essays. Nineteen Eight-Four opened up an entire world of serious literature for me and it began my political education. I envy anyone who has not read it and my love for it is so great that I went on a pilgrimage to Barnhill on Jura (possibly one of the most inaccessible places in the British Isles), to see where Orwell wrote it. It is quite simply, one of the most important books that has ever been written.

by Ian McEwan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

73 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ian McEwan's masterpiece, 28 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Atonement (Paperback)
I bought my copy of Atonement around five years ago and I never seemed to get around to reading it, even though I am a big fan of Ian McEwan's work. I knew that the release of the film version is imminent, so I decided to take it with me on holiday, so that I could set myself the goal of reading it before the film comes out. When I started it I could not understand why it had taken me the best part of five years to get around to reading it. I was totally engrossed by every aspect of the book; it is very atmospheric, it has a strong narrative drive, the characters are brilliantly drawn and you care what happens to the main protagonist.

In the hot summer of 1935 thirteen year old Briony Tallis is trying to stage a play to welcome her older brother home, but her cousins are proving not to be up to the task. As she sulks in her room she notices that her sister Cecilia has stripped her clothes off and jumped into a fountain, apparently at the behest of the cleaning lady's son Robbie. Her vivid imagination transforms this scene into something very different, and when that night something truly terrible does happen, she completely misconstrues it, with consequences that will dramatically change the lives of Cecilia, Robbie and herself. McEwan brilliantly captures how a child's mind works and the ways in which a naive young girl can totally misunderstand adult passions.

The second part of the book is set during World War 2 and Robbie is desperately trying to get to Dunkirk. Cecilia and Briony have both become nurses and are dealing with the casualties of the conflict. McEwan's writing is consistently superb throughout this book, but the war scenes are incredible, being totally pervaded by a sense of danger. You have a real sense of the terror and confusion that the British forces must have experienced as they retreated from France. There is an intense immediacy to the writing in the war scenes and it is hard to believe that McEwan has no direct personal experience of being in a war zone. The horrors of war are graphically brought home, as well as the capacity of the soldiers to exhibit compassion or violence.

All of the characters are still living with the repercussions of Briony's actions from that sultry day of 1945. How will Briony atone for her crime and the promising lives that she has destroyed? She is desperate to re-establish conflict with her estranged sister and make amends to both her and Robbie. We see her character grow, develop and mature and the manner in which she attempts to redeem her earlier actions is revealed in an extraordinary twist. The whole novel is a testimony to the power of writing and the effect it can have upon our lives. If you haven't already read it, read it now because it is one of the best books written in the past decade, and is easily the best novel to come from the pen of England's finest living writer.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 10, 2012 10:22 PM BST

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