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N. Wagstaff "Nick Wagstaff" (Bucks)

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Cage: In a Landscape [IMPORT]
Cage: In a Landscape [IMPORT]
Offered by MEGA Media FBA
Price: 7.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected pleasure, 3 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The first thing that comes to mind about John Cage is the composition he wrote for piano entitled 4'33'' in which the pianist is instructed to do nothing for that duration of time. The result is that silence reigns. The second thing is that the composer had a special interest in the prepared piano and he coaxed strange, sometimes jangling sounds from the instrument. This CD of his early piano music is very different. It is approachable and enjoyable material, introspective in tone. Many modern day listeners will be familiar with the sound-world of Arvo Part, and when one listens to John Cage's 'In a Landscape' and 'Dream' both from 1948, one can sense that both composers share or shared a similar intense sense of spirituality. At the heart of these pieces is a feeling of flow, that is onwards and expanding, ultimately consoling and reflective. It is very much worth a listen to this set of pieces, even if only to dispel a view that 4'33'' was Cage's moment in time.

The Shack
The Shack
by WM. Paul Young
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tumbledown Writing in The Shack, 9 Nov 2009
This review is from: The Shack (Paperback)
At the outset of reading this book I was distracted by four lines of verse which preface chapter 1. These lines are a partial reworking of a famous poem `The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost, but this selected rewrite of Robert Frost's poem is so ineptly written that it made me wonder why the author had chosen to quote it. Not an auspicious start I thought, and within a few pages I realised that Wm Paul Young is no stylist, and is far from being an assured writer. In fact he seems to have been assisted by two collaborators, and I have a sense that the resulting collaboration may have been detrimental to the qualities of the work as a whole. The result is a homespun writing style that feels as though it has been mangled through a sub-committee from time to time.

This is not a police procedural thriller, but it starts off in that vein, and how weak the investigating officers are in following even basic police procedures. The police are immediately involved in a cosy relationship with the lead character, Mack, which does not ring true. If the book is at least nodding to police procedural it should do it with some degree of accuracy. The abduction and murder of the principal character's child is the springboard for the real substance of the book, a discussion of how an apparently caring, Christian God can allow evil acts to take place. It's a matter of huge importance, but this book does not tackle it well. When asked by Mack if (s)he could have prevented the death of the child God says `I could have chosen to actively interfere in her circumstance,' but this `...was not an option for purposes that you cannot possibly understand now.' The core of the discussion is thus reduced to a throw-away sentence, the whole endeavour produces nothing more than a point of inexplicable mystery.

There is an interesting and folksy treatment of the Holy Trinity, which is presented in fresh and accessible terms. This unorthodox development of the Holy Trinity is probably the most interesting aspect of the book. It suffers however from a tendency to read like a Famous Five story by Enid Blyton with too much fondness for perpetual picnics and meal breaks for consumption of delicious home-made food. One of the matters the author grapples with is an apparent need some humans have for a meaningful relationship with the Trinity, and for humans to exercise freedom to choose.

Here is God, in the form of the character Papa, being philosophical. She says, "Or if you want to go just a wee bit deeper, we could talk about the nature of freedom itself. Does freedom mean that you are allowed to do whatever you want to do? Or we could talk about all the limiting influences in your life that actively work against your freedom. Your family genetic heritage, your specific DNA, your metabolic uniqueness, the quantum stuff that is going on a subatomic level where only I am the always-present observer. Or the intrusion of your soul's sickness that inhibits and binds you, or the social influences around you, or the habits that have created synaptic bonds and pathways in your brain. And then there's advertising, propaganda, and paradigms. Inside that confluence of multi-faceted inhibitors,' she sighed, `what is freedom really?'

What should we make of that? At such points it really does feel to me that the lead author or the collaborating authorial sub-committee have dumped a load of verbiage in front of the reader, and said "digest this lot". None of the text quoted in the above passage is elucidated any further. This jumble of complicated words, pseudo-technical language and open questions is just left hanging.

There were times, such as in the walking on water sequence, when I felt the vision of Christian after-life offered in the book went beyond the merely fanciful and instead veered toward insulting Christian belief, in other words doing the opposite of what was intended. All in all the book is very disappointing.

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