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Reviews Written by
David Brookes (Sheffield, UK)

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The Oxford India Anthology of Twelve Modern Indian Poets (Oxford India Paperbacks)
The Oxford India Anthology of Twelve Modern Indian Poets (Oxford India Paperbacks)
by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Twelve Modern Indian Poets, 8 July 2014
A really great collection of Indian poetry. Really evocating, often powerful, sometimes funny. I bought a few separate collections from individual poets based on their poems included in this anthology, particularly Kamala Das and Arun Kolatkar.

Highly recommended.

9 / 10

David Brookes

Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


Summer in Calcutta
Summer in Calcutta
Price: 3.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Summer in Calcutta, 8 July 2014
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A really great collection of Indian poetry. Really evocating, often powerful, sometimes funny. I bought his based on the poems of his that were included in the anthology "Oxford India Anthology of Twelve Modern Poets", which is also very good.

Highly recommended.

9 / 10

David Brookes

Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


Jejuri (New York Review Books Classics)
Jejuri (New York Review Books Classics)
by Aruṇa Kolaṭakara
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.35

5.0 out of 5 stars Jejuri, 8 July 2014
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A really great collection of Indian poetry. Really evocating, often powerful, sometimes funny. I bought his based on the poems of his that were included in the anthology "Oxford India Anthology of Twelve Modern Poets", which is also very good.

Highly recommended.

9 / 10

David Brookes

Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


Bartok: The Orchestral Masterpieces
Bartok: The Orchestral Masterpieces
Price: 10.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Bartok, 8 July 2014
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A really disappointing album from Bartok, one of Hungary's greats. I'm familiar with his dischordant style, but even so the album lacks all sense of melody or coherence. Mostly it is just noise with only one or two of the more traditional folky tunes having any interest for me.

Maybe people with a better ear for the movements he started will enjoy this more, but as a casual listener of classical music this was listened to once and then regretably binned.

1 / 10

David Brookes

Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


Demolition (Cape Poetry)
Demolition (Cape Poetry)
by Neil Rollinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.15

4.0 out of 5 stars A good collection of poetry from Neil Rollinson, 8 July 2014
A good collection of poetry from Neil Rollinson. Not quite as erotic as his earlier works (which was a bit disappointing) but some great poems in here nontheless.

Definitely recommended for fans and newbies like me.

8 / 10

David Brookes

Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


The English Earthquake
The English Earthquake
by Eva Salzman
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars The English Earthquake, 8 July 2014
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This review is from: The English Earthquake (Paperback)
A pretty decent collection of poetry from Eva Salzman, who has a great human touch (as you'd hope) and plenty of intelligence behind the words.

Recommended.

7 / 10

David Brookes

Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


The Far Pavilions
The Far Pavilions
by M. M. Kaye
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.49

2.0 out of 5 stars The Far Pavillions, 8 July 2014
This review is from: The Far Pavilions (Paperback)
When I first started this book I thought it was great. After a clumsy first few pages I really began to get into the story and care about the characters. The writing is elegant and evocative of India under the Raj. The story is not exactly swift, but it’s paced well.

Unfortunately at “Part 2” I realised that this wasn’t going to be the novel I wanted it to be. In the tradition of epics printed in instalments, the book throws away everything from the first 1-200 pages and takes the character to another country with a new set of supporting characters. I can say, now that I’ve finally finished this 900 page monster, that Part 2 is almost entirely irrelevant to the story, and only marginally relevant to the character. Miss this out, as well as the following book about his Ashok’s first love, which also has very little bearing.

I was relieved to see that, well over halfway through, the story draws closer to the original plotlines with the city, palace and young girl that Ashok grew up with. Part 1 had been exotic and full of mysticism, and now finally these elements return to the book. For about 200 pages I felt happy.

It’s immensely frustration that the final act again seems irrelevant to the character’s arc. The writer has simply strung together a sequence of adventures, most of which are quite dull, and none of which comprise a novel when put together. It’s more like four or five short novels shown back to back – all of which, in isolation, would have been terrible. For the last 1-200 pages the story travels to Afghanistan, and although there are some exciting moments, almost all the action follows characters we either didn’t know about for the last 700 pages, or didn’t really care about, as they were only colour to Ashok’s story. Ashok himself literally spends the final scenes locked helplessly in a room and plays no part in the story.

It’s very disappointing and overall I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time on this huge non-novel. It would be great for someone to take all the elements relating to Ashok’s young love and cutting out the other 600 pages and making this an actual novel with a plot, rather than a sequence of events that half the time have no relevance to one another.

I’m sorry to say that despite its strong merits, I’d probably give it a miss.

4 / 10

David Brookes
Author of ‘Half Discovered Wings’


Hombre
Hombre
by Elmore Leonard
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hombre, 16 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Hombre (Paperback)
A great book with interesting characters.

I never saw the film so can't compare. The protagonist is a great character that is one part badass Clint Eastwood gunslinger and one part rich, developed human being.

Some fantastically tense scenes early on, and some exciting action in the second half.

Worth a read if you like Westerns.

8 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


Pure
Pure
by Andrew Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.09

5.0 out of 5 stars Pure, 16 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Pure (Paperback)
A fantastic novel that is technically historical fiction, but which feels modern and genuine. There are a million flourishes of detail that brings this book alive. I'm quite astonished that the writer could know half the things he appears to know about Paris and Versailles in this time period, assuming he's not a time traveller.

One of the best books I've read in ages!

9 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


Midnight's Children
Midnight's Children
by Salman Rushdie
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Midnight's Children, 16 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
A rich novel that is a thousand and one little stories, full of life and character.

Some people don't get on with Rushdie's unconventional narrative style, but those who do will love his way of bleeding scenes together into a poetic, almost dreamlike sequence of dialogue, observations and flamboyant detail.

A beautiful, emotional book.

Arguably it goes on a touch too long, and with so much incidental 'history' of secondary characters might lose its way from time to time. For some this might be an endurance read without much of a payoff at the end.

Read it for the ride, relish the language and touches of colour, snatches of history and fantasy. I fell in love with it.

9 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


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