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Markus Isch "mege1" (Schweiz)
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Black Dogs
Black Dogs
by Ian McEwan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars six of one, half a dozen of the other..., 15 Jan 2009
This review is from: Black Dogs (Paperback)
This is the first novel by Ian McEwan I am undecided about. Most of his novels I like a lot, especially Atonement, and there is one I find too construed (Saturday), but this one here... It's the first in-betweener. There seems to be a rift between Jeremy's childhood story protecting Sally and finding surrogate parents on the one hand, and the story of Bernard and June on the other. The two stories do not have too much in common and so I am left with the feeling that I've somehow read two stories without knowing why they are put together in one text.


The Silence Living in Houses
The Silence Living in Houses
by Esther Morgan
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book, 8 April 2006
I came across Esther Morgan's highly evocative poem "Hints For Outback Motoring" in a literary anthology, and I was hooked. Her debut kept what the poem promised: a distinctive voice, fascinating language and atmosphere. This book here is just as great. I haven't got the faintest idea why she isn't named in the same breath as Wendy Cope or Simon Armitage; on the other hand, it's a good book to give to friends who love poetry and surprise them with somebody fresh and convincing. This is great poetry, and I recommend it unconditionally.


Beyond Calling Distance
Beyond Calling Distance
by Esther Morgan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.35

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great poetry, 3 April 2006
I came across Esther Morgan in a poetry anthology. It was her poem "Hints for Outback Motoring" that crept under my skin because of the atmosphere and the downwards spiral. There are many other poems in this book that are just as good. In many instances, Esther Morgan does tricky things with her language, and then covers them up with making the poems look straightforward. As a reader, the deeper I delved, the more I discovered. I've read all of the poems at least five times, but I don't think I've finished reading the book. It's one of many poetry books I own that I go back to when I want to read something seemingly familiar in a new way.


Homicide [DVD] [1991]
Homicide [DVD] [1991]
Dvd ~ Joe Mantegna
Offered by Retro_Foundation
Price: 11.67

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece, 2 Aug 2005
This review is from: Homicide [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
I know a lot of people who don't like Mamet, or who are rather indifferent fo his work. Sometimes I get their criticism, but not here. Homicide is simply a masterpiece. Just listen to the dialogue. Mamet is great at writing dialogue, but I think here, he's written some of the best stuff. The cast is another plus: Joe Mantegna and William H. Macy are both incredible actors, and here, they find roles in which they can show all of their skills. And there is, of course, a Mametian twist at the end of this movie.


Vince and Joy
Vince and Joy
by Lisa Jewell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good read, 2 Aug 2005
This review is from: Vince and Joy (Paperback)
I like all of Lisa Jewell's books, but this one is clearly the best, because the tone is much more self-confident and knows where it wants to go. There is a mastery of tone that makes it clear that it's not a debut (although I liked that one, too!) And I liked both Vince and Joy very much. They're both so human, I sometimes cringed when they go and make another mistake that goes against their very nature, but is so understandable.


The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
by Dan Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.48

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well-crafted, but..., 15 Jun 2004
Look, here is my opinion of this book: It's well-crafted, and it keeps you breathless, and you want to know what happens in the end. Fine. But after you're done reading, what's left? I couldn't remember one single well-written scene that stood out - it's all of a piece. It's so well-plotted that there is always a gun when one is needed, and one of the villains has an allergy so that another villain can kill him. There is even an albino hitman who must make for a very bad killer because he simply stands out in every crowd. No, it's not a realist novel.
I have two complaints. The first one is that this kind of novel has, of course, Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum" as its grandfather, a much better and deeper novel when it comes to conspiracy theories of the historical kind. The second complaint is that the characters are as flat as stamps. I know that any kind of characterisation would have taken away some of the break-neck speed of the text, but wouldn't it have made for a much more interesting read?


The Light of Day
The Light of Day
by Graham Swift
Edition: Paperback

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good one, but not all that great, 23 Mar 2004
This review is from: The Light of Day (Paperback)
I enjoyed Light of Day for the same things that I think Last Orders is a masterpiece. Once again, Swift can bring characters to life with his precise descriptions. In this novel, however, he uses it to veer from crucial questions that occur at crucial moments. Why has Sarah killed her husband? I do not think the text answers this question in full. On the other hand, there are such laboured excursions about his father's unfaithfulness and the odd episode of the park bench. And the Rita story is something that leaves a lot to be answered for. Not wholly satisfying, this one.


Last Orders
Last Orders
by Graham Swift
Edition: Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read, Swift's best, 25 Jan 2004
This review is from: Last Orders (Paperback)
The bad news first: there is enough foundation to point out misogynist traits in Swift's work, but Waterland bothered me much more in this respect than Last Orders. In the latter, there is only Kath, who seems to have resorted to prostitution after her father pressed her to seduce potential buyers for his cars. All the other women are distinctly drawn and have their own minds. Amy, for instance, explicitly decides not to accompany the four blokes to Margate. It's the male characters in the book who have problems with women, not so much Swift this time.
And look how carefully built up the novel is. I, for one, found the frequent changes of point of view one of the novel's strongest points, and not at all distracting. I don't know the first thing about south London or Cockney, but it all rang true for me. Besides, I found it spellbinding to eavesdrop on these working-class men's internal monologues. Last Orders is probably no match for Shakespeare's Hamlet, but both texts feature definitely a lot about death and dying that is worth being told.


The Woman in White (Penguin Popular Classics)
The Woman in White (Penguin Popular Classics)
by Wilkie Collins
Edition: Paperback

2 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another lose baggy monster, 21 Jan 2003
The bad news first: did Wilkie Collins have to tell his story in so many words? I would have thought that his editor suggested some severe cuttings for serial publication. But no; it seems as if neither author nor editor cut out anything. Serves me right for reading the unabridged text, no?
The good news is that Count Fosco is a masterpiece of a villain. For so long, I suspected that he kept sneaking around, always at the edge of the episode he was not mentioned in. Eventually, I grew schizophrenic, and either he or his wife always seemed to be one step in front of Walter and Marian. This alone made me finish the book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 15, 2008 11:45 AM BST


Waterland (Picador thirty)
Waterland (Picador thirty)
by Graham Swift
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.16

4 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's the tale, not the teller..., 29 Nov 2002
I like a lot about "Waterland": the moods, the landscape, the times. The people, to me, remained sketchy and unfinished. I found William Atkinson, for instance, a much more detailed character than, say, Henry Crick. I did not mind that, since "Waterland" is first and foremost the tale of a place in time and not primarily about the people in it. I did not mind, either, that the plot, especially the mystery about Dick Clay's parents, was obvious for any attentive reader long before the actual revelation takes place in the novel. That is part of the tale, and I found myself enjoying these things. I was not enthusiastic about them, but I admired Swift's craft.
What almost blows apart the novel is the way in which it is told. I have had the greatest difficulty liking Tom Crick in any way because he makes his first appearance as the teller, and he is so lofty and self-centered that I had a hard time liking Tom Crick as a boy, although he is not lofty in any way, but rather likeable.
Either the problem is me: the teller is so disagreeable to me that I almost give up reading. Or the problem is that Tom Crick is lofty for a reason for me to discover. Why, then? Because of the ups and downs he experiences with his wife Mary? Because of the murder of Freddie? Because of Dick's secret? All this was not enough to make me believe that the boy Tom Crick grew up to become the sacked history teacher Tom Crick. At the worst of times there were two Tom Cricks at work in the book. Funnily enough, I think the best parts of it are the ones with the Atkinson family history, where you can see that Tom Crick the teacher knows how to tell a family history. Unfortunately, he tells the story of his own family in such a pitiful and at the same time haughty manner that I found it hard to finish the book. I liked the tale more than the teller, but the teller cannot be thrown out since his voice is all you have.


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