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Mrs. S. Biddulph (London, UK)
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Revolutionary Road
Revolutionary Road
by Richard Yates
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The death of the American Dream, 3 May 2009
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This review is from: Revolutionary Road (Paperback)
This is a beautifully written book, an American "Madame Bovary" for the fifties. Yates is a skilled and talented author. He portrays the frustration of an empty middle-classed life with an adept stroke of hand. On the surface Frank and April Wheeler have the "perfect" life - a young, successful couple with two kids, who live in a nice house in suburbia - the epitome of a good American family. But bubbling below is a deep-seated sense of unhappiness and two unfulfilled lives brimming with hatred and apathy. Although you feel some sympathy for the couple, the tragedy of the whole book is that they could have changed their lives and taken risks to avoid the humdrum nature of middle-classed existence. At times you could strangle them, their self-indulgence and selfishness is supremely bourgeois. But then again the desperation to love and be loved, the anger at having "settled" for what they see as an ordinary life and the overriding boredom of living on Revolutionary Rd, prove too much with truly awful consequences. This is a bleak, suffocating book, but one that is superbly written and which holds your attention through sheer mastery of language.


Call The Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s
Call The Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s
by Jennifer Worth
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant author is born, 19 April 2009
This was an unexpected gem of a book, one of the best I have read in years. The stories of people Jennifer Worth met as a young midwife are compelling - at times devastating, at others uplifting, this is an incredible record of life in all its sordid and splendid glory in the 1950s in the East End of London. Searing poverty, yet an unbroken will to survive and a gratitude and happiness to simply have survived the war. This book made me laugh, cry, gasp with terror and seethe with anger, but above all it made me respect the sheer unbreakable spirit of the Eastenders. Many of us could learn a great deal from this book, because in comparison, we do indeed "have it easy" nowadays. Jennifer Worth is a brilliant author - pragmatic, truthful, understanding and at times poetic, very much like her midwifery style. Her writing is beautiful and her subject matter enthralling. Her book is nigh on perfection.


Amsterdam
Amsterdam
by Ian McEwan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars McEwan should atone for this book, 9 April 2009
This review is from: Amsterdam (Paperback)
Having read "Atonement", which was beautiful, sophisticated and poignant, "Amsterdam" was one hell of a comedown. It is pedestrian in comparison and I am mystified as to how it won The Booker prize. The two main characters are self-indulgent and irritating and at times the convoluted and over engineered plot is hard to follow. The climax of the book is a damp squib despatched within a few pages after a clumsy build-up. It has put me off picking up any more of his novels.


Flights of Love
Flights of Love
by Prof Bernhard Schlink
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing after "The Reader", 9 April 2009
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This review is from: Flights of Love (Paperback)
I fell in love with Bernard Schlink's writing when I discovered "The Reader" - one of the best books I have ever read. I therefore had high expectations for "Flights of Love" - a collection of stories probing all apsects of love, which is beautifully written. Schlink's style is in-depth while being concise, pragmatic yet poetic - a very rare mix indeed. He is an adept wordsmith, but I think his style is better suited to the novel than a series of stories. Each story shows deep thought, but the characters tend to be very naive and random. You can't build up any empathy for them, many of them left me feeling very frustrated wanting to slap them rather than embrace them. Many of the stories also seemed rather superficial, but that's probably got more to do with the genre than anything else. A short story can't breath for long or get below more than just the surface. I also felt many of the stories just stopped rather than ended and many were rather circular in nature. Overall this book was a disappointment after the high of "The Reader" and I am not sure that I will read anymore of Schlink's work. "Flights of Love" is more an exercise in style over substance. The writing is beautiful, the content is not.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 14, 2010 2:19 PM BST


Wetlands
Wetlands
by Charlotte Roche
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Crass and flawed, 26 Feb 2009
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This review is from: Wetlands (Paperback)
This is one of the worst books I have ever read. It's only virtue is that it is short. It's crass, obvious and fails to shock because it is so unsophisticated. The content is one-dimensional, hung around a very loose "psychological" plot to unite divorced parents. It's not remotely funny as the synopsis promises. You can't feel anything for the heroine as you never get past what's on the surface. Her preoccupation with trying to shock "hygiene freaks" is boring and monotonous. It's poorly written, flawed and quite frankly very dull. If it didn't contain descriptions of piles, anal surgery and homemade tampons, no-one would even notice it.


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