Profile for S. Nambiar > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by S. Nambiar
Top Reviewer Ranking: 774,778
Helpful Votes: 91

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
S. Nambiar "steelyman" (London, United Kingdom)
(VINE VOICE)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
Seven for a Secret (Gods of Gotham 2)
Seven for a Secret (Gods of Gotham 2)
by Lyndsay Faye
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.00

4.0 out of 5 stars One more in this excellent series, 23 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Lyndsay Faye's Timothy Wilde is shaping up to be a character you will care about a great deal, to say nothing of his brother Valentine. This book is clearly inspired by Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave. It is unflinching in its examination of the schizoid mindset where slavery was legal in some states, illegal in others, a black man or woman's word counted for nothing in court and there was a brisk and extremely profitable trade in kidnapping free blacks and selling them for profit, aided by law in the Northern states.
Faye's as good as the best historical novelists as evoking a sense of time and place, with her judicious use of 'flash' and well-drawn characters.
It will be interesting to see where she goes next with these characters - too much and it becomes routine and generic, too little and it would be a shame not to find out what became of the Wildes, Piest, Silkie Marsh and yes, Mercy Underhill, far away in London. I can't wait.


The International [DVD] [2009]
The International [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Clive Owen
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.47

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than the reviews suggested...., 5 Dec 2009
It seems few people bother to read the papers any more, or indeed remember anything beyond the name of the current X-Factor contestants...
This is not a film rushed to capitalize on the latest headlines, but actually based on a kernel of fact - it's a fictionalized take-off on the Bank of Credit & Commerce International (look it up) which was indeed involved in all manner of skullduggery and was busted by the US Customs service in the early 90s.
That said, Naomi Watts' role is indeed very badly underwritten, Clive Owen was surely getting paid enough to smile a little more and yes, you do get further with your enquiries in a high-powered bank if you shave more often.
But visually, this film is a treat and the shootout at the Guggenheim is sensational and made me read up more about the architecture of the place. Caveats apart, I have seen far worse thrillers
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 26, 2009 9:04 AM GMT


About the Author
About the Author
by John Colapinto
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lives up to all the reviews, 27 Feb 2009
This review is from: About the Author (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Excellent page turner. It grips from the get-go and you keep reading, groaning as the protagonist slides deeper and deeper into trouble. The twist is really quite good, because you've forgotten all about the clue that the author gave you early on. I'm taking one star off for a suspiciously neat ending, but it's very satisfying right up until then.


Chain of Command
Chain of Command
by Seymour M. Hersh
Edition: Paperback

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sobering, depressing and essential, 11 May 2006
This review is from: Chain of Command (Paperback)
There isn't much to say about this, except that Seymour Hersh is doing the job that most of the mainstream American media has passed on because it conflicts with their teeth-whitening appointment. He has been hated and reviled by those in power for more than 30 years now, but he carries on telling the truth long after assorted crooks, thugs and liars have faded from these scene.

Meticulously reported, with a bloodhound's instinct for shaking out secrets, this is ultimately a depressing, but essential read. Everyone in the USA and the UK needs to know what has been and is being done in their name. At least we can't pretend nobody told us the truth - whether we listen or not seems to be another matter.


Q &  A
Q & A
by Vikas Swarup
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth a read, 10 May 2006
This review is from: Q & A (Paperback)
The conceit of the quiz show format dictating the structure of the book is a little too cute, but the writer does a very good job. It is worth noting that the Indian equivalent of 'Who wants to be a Millionaire' was a fevered hit, much more so that it was in the UK. Imagine Harrison Ford hosting it instead of Chis Tarrant and you will begin to understand the profile it got with Amitabh Bachchan hosting it and the consequent ratings. Hence, the premise that a TV quiz show attracts this kind of attention is entirely believable.

At times, the plot seems to go really over the top, but then I pulled back and realized that none of it was too unrealistic - Bollywood film stars are indeed known to check out their own films in strange disguises, life in the Bombay chawls is reputed to be very much as described and a lot else rings true as well. Definitely worth a read - it would be interesting to see if Vikas Swarup has staying power. A lot of contemporary Indian authors seem to have one excellent debut novel in them and not much else. Let's hope his second novel, apparently in progress, lives up to this one.


The Chess Box
The Chess Box
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 32.55

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional! This is where it all begins ..., 26 Mar 2004
This review is from: The Chess Box (Audio CD)
No facetious introduction needed - this is the Chess box for Chuck Berry. I'm sorry but I have no time for all of you who claim Elvis invented Rock and Roll. Elvis was a true god, sure, but here's the man who did it. He might have grabbed every opportunity in later life to tarnish and spit on his own greatness, but as these discs show, Richard Berry did it first, did it better than anyone until Dylan and the Beatles came along, and he did it oh so well!
Where do you start? The infectiously good guitar lines? The little story-songs where you're into the plot by the second verse? The whip-smart voice spinning tales of fast cars and teenage love with the 'just-so' details?
Read this:
"It was a teenage wedding,
and the old folks wished them well
You could see that Pierre
did truly love the mademoiselle
And now the young monsieur
and madame have rung the chapel bell,
"C'est la vie", say the old folks,
it goes to show you never can tell
They furnished off an apartment
with a two room Roebuck sale
The coolerator was crammed
with TV dinners and ginger ale,
But when Pierre found work,
the little money comin' worked out well
"C'est la vie", say the old folks,
it goes to show you never can tell"
It even reads well! I used this because everyone knows this track from the Twist Contest scene in Pulp Fiction, but does anyone ever pay attention to the fine-grained detail here? Much like the guy in Moliere, Chuck Berry was a rock-and-roll poet way before the job description was invented!
This box puts all the essentials together. When I was in high school, in Calcutta, India, which might as well have been a million miles from St. Louis, these songs were still thrilling and beautiful. My friends grew calluses trying to play the guitar lines and we tried to make sense of the lyrics, and it still spoke to us.
This is where the blues, R&B and everything else came together and suddenly became rock'n'roll. Do a penance for every time you've uttered the phrase in vain, and pick this box up today!
P.s. My apologies to Amazon, but I was both happy and proud when I bought this box set at a Blues Festival in Chicago, and the lady serving me was Willie Dixon's daughter!


Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America
Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America
by Molly Ivins
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.92

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meticulous, compelling and chilling, 23 Jan 2004
Readers of Molly Ivins' columns (go to the Sacramento Bee site at [...] and search for her name) are used to her funny side, as well as her ironic and detailed take on American politics. This books goes further than most of her other writings, being a very close look at what the Bush II years have been doing to ordinary Americans. The picture is not pretty. Unlike media "commentators" who live in Georgetown and claim to speak for ordinary Americans, Ivins and Dubose go on the road and meet real people struggling to eke out a living. The impact of the Bush presidency on the environment, on job security, on healthcare, on the lives of Joe Schmoe - none of these make for pleasant reading. And all this without even getting into the phony war on terror.
I found it interesting that the few reviewers on Amazon who gave it low ratings all had to resort to generic abuse, as the facts are beyond dispute, and lend themselves to only one conclusion. I wonder what they have to say about the people interviewed in the book who confess to being lifelong Republicans and confess that they wouldn't vote for Bush now. But then, as Ivins says - she wrote a book about Bush's business and political dealings before the last election, and still almost half the country voted for him, so they seem to have got the president they deserved!
Britons - don't smirk. You should definitely read it so that you know the administration this Labour government is so friendly with. It makes a sad mockery of the progressive social agenda that apparently keeps Mr. Blair up at nights. If this were an Asian or African nation wreaking this kind of havoc on its people, we would be trumpeting loudly at the UN, the Commonwealth and what have you. Instead, Britain is yoked to the most nakedly thuggish administration seen in the USA in living memory.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 20, 2011 9:36 PM GMT


The Great Unravelling: From Boom to Bust in Three Scandalous Years
The Great Unravelling: From Boom to Bust in Three Scandalous Years
by Paul R. Krugman
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No false comfort here, 23 Jan 2004
This is a long-awaited collection of Paul Krugman's pieces for the NYT. Anyone looking to the mainstream American media for genuine, hard-headed economic commentary is so starved that this book is a godsend. The picture it paints is not pretty, but Krugman has been consistent about what he sees as the disastrous economic path being followed by the Bush White House.
It is to his sad credit that he was warning about these issues well before Bush took office, and every one of his warnings has been coming true. The US is locked in a low growth trap, the tax cuts are redistributing income to the upper percentiles ever more rapidly, and the neo-conservative goal of artificially causing pain to the lower rungs of society to discredit government seems to be working.
As a sidelight, it is amusing to read the reviewer below who claims that this book stands disproved as Bush has now delivered the highest growth rates in a while and even started generating jobs.The concerned reviewer should consider a career in standup comedy - I guess it is further proof of the fact that economic literacy among the public continues to degenerate ever further!


City Of God (Cidade De Deus) [DVD] [2003]
City Of God (Cidade De Deus) [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Alexandre Rodrigues
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 3.42

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gangs of Rio!, 15 July 2003
I saw this in the same week that I saw Gangs of New York, and much as I admire Scorsese, I have to admit City of God blew Gangs away. This film is ambitious yet audacious, tackles decades and makes it all zip past, makes you genuinely care for the characters and in general swaggers past like an unholy lovechild of Tarantino and Scorsese at his peak.
The characters are genuinely well-drawn and well-acted, and the juxtaposition of youth, extreme violence and comedy leave you laughing one minute and your stomach lurching the next.
Did I mention I ran out and bought the soundtrack the next day - superb bunch of tunes, ranging from the more Latin tracks to some that sound like James Brown's been living on Copacabana for the last thirty years.
Unmissable and exceptional.


The Master and Margarita
The Master and Margarita
by Mikhail Bulgakov
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless classic, 16 Jan 2003
It takes little time to understand why this is one of the most epochal Russian novels of the 20th century. Mixing theological observation, satire and social comment into one work is never easy, and the book could have been a heavy handed diatribe on Stalinist Russia that dated badly. Instead, there is a timeless quality about this book and a light deftness of touch that ensures its longevity.
Fittingly, some of Bulgakov's expressions used in this book promptly passed into the Russian vernacular - "second grade fresh", a parody of Stalinist obfuscation that simply means "rotten" is a great example.
Interestingly for those who've heard The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil", the opening lines were inspired by the opening lines of the Devil in this book. Jagger was reportedly a great fan of the book, having been strongly urged to read it by Marianne Faithfull!


Page: 1 | 2