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Mrs. A. C. Whiteley "AllieW"
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Night Train
Night Train
by Martin Amis
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you sitting uncomfortably? Then I'll begin......, 21 Oct 2003
This review is from: Night Train (Paperback)
This book is disconcerting, both in style and content. In style, for me, because the only other Amis I have read is 'The Rachel Papers'. Thus the American English narrative, while thoroughly apt, given the setting, jars a little to begin with. As does the fact that Amis has adopted a female voice - husky, butch and saddled with a male name, but female all the same.
This unease and discomfort is entirely in keeping, furthermore, with the shocking plot line. Mike's friend, the seemingly perfect Jennifer, is found dead one evening, naked, with a .22 gun in her mouth. Because she was so happy, intelligent, beautiful, so perfect, her family want to believe it was murder. It couldn't be suicide, could it? Jennifer could never do that. If she had, the 'why?' would be forever following them around, leaving a trail of agony and discomfort in its wake.
That Amis never reconciles himself, the protagonist, or us to this pointlessness is entirely to his credit. Life is like that. Sometimes, there just is no perfect resolution.
In summary, then, a combination of impeccable plotting, believable characterisation and a fearless examination of one of life's most difficult issues - its cessation, all delivered in wholly appropriate, breakneck, no-nonsense prose, makes this slim volume, if you'll pardon the pun, a sure-fire winner.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 22, 2010 1:18 PM BST


Mister God, This Is Anna
Mister God, This Is Anna
by Fynn
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the mouths of babes......, 14 Oct 2003
This is one of the most beautiful, amazing books I have ever read. Anna acts as a challenge to us all. Throughout the book, her thinking, unfettered as it is by the expectations of the world, is free to roam where it will, and she comes up with truly startling observations as a result. Whether you are a person of faith or not, you cannot fail to be struck by the wisdom and humanity of this little treasure.


Leaving Brooklyn
Leaving Brooklyn
by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, thought provoking...., 13 Oct 2003
This review is from: Leaving Brooklyn (Paperback)
Lynne Sharon Scwartz's prose is assured and beautiful. Her exploration of vision and complacency through the good and the 'bad' eye of Audrey is well done and thought provoking. Is the status quo enough? Whose vision should we pursue? What is the right way of looking at the world? These are all questions which arise from this slim novel. Kept me hooked till the end, with a few interesting surprises along the way (the happenings with the eye doctor, for example)ensuring that this novel does not fall into the very trap it seeks to illuminate. Riveting stuff.


Rambling Syd Rumpo (BBC radio collection)
Rambling Syd Rumpo (BBC radio collection)
by Kenneth Williams
Edition: Audio Cassette

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny!!, 9 Nov 2002
These cassettes work best if you are familiar with the original tunes & words (altho' if you are not, it is hardly a hindrance). As with much of Kenneth Williams' work, it relies heavily on double entendre, but it carries this off with panache. Surprisingly, you may think, this man can sing (altho' he puts on a sort of nasal twang occasionally). Should be guaranteed to have you rolling about with laughter.


The Bridge of San Luis Rey (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Bridge of San Luis Rey (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Thornton Wilder
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, 31 Jan 2002
This beautiful little vignette (only 124 pages long)kept me in thrall from beginning to end. Full of stunningly accurate observations, expressed in the most gorgeous prose, this short novel cannot fail to captivate. Although it begins with a disaster (the collapse of the bridge in question), and focuses on the lives of the five fatalities, somehow it manages not to be overburdened by sorrow.
Each of the five, slightly eccentric, but heart-warming characters is exceedingly well drawn. Their biographies are apparently based on the writings of Brother Juniper who documented as much about them as possible in order to try and ascertain why this disaster befell them in particular. (This method was eventually to be his downfall as the conclusion of the novella indicates). Be that as it may, they are all united by virtue of the fact that none quite fit the norms of 18th century Peruvian society (although for differing reasons). And yet, there is a little of each of them in all of us. This book cannot come more highly recommended.


Gridlock
Gridlock
by Ben Elton
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.21

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as funny as I'd hoped., 22 Jan 2002
This review is from: Gridlock (Paperback)
Although very funny in places, and tackling very important issues, this is not an amazingly well written book. Apart from glaring grammar glitches and the like, Elton sometimes gets bogged down in the (extremely important) moralizing which gives the book a somewhat disjointed feel. Perhaps more judicious editing would have been in order. The sort of book you read once and then pass on.


Crossing the Red Sea
Crossing the Red Sea
Offered by swankers3
Price: 44.44

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, 15 Jan 2002
This review is from: Crossing the Red Sea (Audio CD)
Crashing onto the New Wave Scene in January '77 at the famous Roxy Club in London, TV Smith, Gaye Advert, Howard Picup and Laurie Driver are remembered most for their controversial, mind-blowing, exceptionally clever second single, Gary Gilmore's eyes. (Gary Gilmore had petitioned to have his eyes donated to medical science after he was executed for his crimes). As the sleeve notes comment, the song:
"won plaudits for everything from the most memorable chant of the year which already bristled with memorable chants, to a second Single of the Week award in Sounds - and that was before the copies even hit the shops."
Although in many ways, therefore, the stand-out track, it only really stands out by a fraction of an inch compared with the others, which are also stunning. Coupled with typical punkish energy, TV Smith's astute lyrics never fail to hit home (New Church, Great British Mistake and Bombsite Boy for example are all superb.) The Self-effacing opening track, One Chord Wonders, could not have been more inaccurately titled.


Cousteau
Cousteau
Offered by Books2anywhereUS
Price: 6.71

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lush, 11 Jan 2002
This review is from: Cousteau (Audio CD)
Fans of Jackie Leven, Scott Walker or Cathal Coughlan (with whom the lead singer shares his luscious, smooth beguiling vocals) will love this album. Consisting of 11 lyrical, telling pieces, not only are these songs insightful, sharp and perceptive, but the quality of singing and arrangements are also more than competent.


Self Assembly
Self Assembly

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revitalised psychedelica/ Upbeat Lounge, 10 Jan 2002
This review is from: Self Assembly (Audio CD)
It's hard to find the exact words to categorize this superb album (Paul Weller, no less is a huge fan). It was originally issued in 2000 (with a different cover)and clearly is rooted in a lot of the best of 'feel good' Sixties music. No obvious stand out track, but this is not a criticism as all of the tracks are superb. (Although if you were to push me, I'd have to go for Marvellous). Very upbeat, very musically competent, with hypnotic almost choral vocals, this is definite party music and comes highly recommended.


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