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T. W. Mcclurg (barnamaghery)
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Unspoken
Unspoken
by Gerard Stembridge
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ho hum, 8 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Unspoken (Paperback)
There's room for a big novel looking at the radical changes which came over Eire in the 60s but this isn't it. The sense of period is good and the characters are initially quite involving but the book very soon turns to humdrum . Nothing seems to have a point - chapters meander along and fizzle out . The book seems to be on the verge of saying something about Irish society - clerical abuse of power ( and children) , the constrictions of a conservative political system, the inadequacies of the nationalist creation myth but nothing so ambitious is attempted . Dear old Dev munches on his teatime biscuits and gradually goes blind while the nation (and the reader ) lapse into deeper sleep . There is no satire , no edge , no challenge . This is a very disappointing and rather tedious book and my response at the end was " What was all that about?"


The Kindly Ones
The Kindly Ones
by Jonathan Littell
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful load of old horse manure, 21 Jun. 2010
This review is from: The Kindly Ones (Hardcover)
This is a deeply pretentious and badly written book - the writer has no grasp of character, dialogue, setting or even narrative . This is crippling for any kind of writer . A series of barely delineated Nazis exchange tedious chunks of monologue about geography ,history , politics and philosophy. At no stage does the author manage to create the illusion of a world for the book to inhabit . He seems to have nicked large sections from other books e.g. when he wants to transfer his setting to the Caucuses he steals bits from old guide books . There is an overlay of pseudo-philosophy , a mishmash of Hegel, Neitsche , Marx, Plato , just about anyone he can think of,in an attempt to give the book validity and to explain the motivation behind the Nazi slaughter of millions . It really is that bad . Primo Levi could achieve in 3 pages what this fool takes nine hundred odd to fail at. What annoys me most is that it is an insult to all the victims of the Holocaust.


Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin
Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin
by Norah Vincent
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

10 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars give it a wide berth, 12 Mar. 2010
You would like this to be a book which is sympathetic to its subject but the title is the giveaway - " the loony bin " . The writer is glib, vacuous , banal and callous. She is scathing about the mental health system but never offers constuctive suggestions . She vents her bile on everyone - the staff are a bunch of ignorant and cynical charlatans and the inmates drooling imbeciles . She seems to be in the throes of a bad case of misanthropy . Her use of the English language is sloppy , cliched and crude. This nasty little book left a very bad taste and did not deserve to be published.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 28, 2012 6:20 PM BST


The Butcher Boy [DVD] [1998]
The Butcher Boy [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Stephen Rea
Offered by Direct Entertainment Supplies
Price: £8.54

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars boney arsed bogmen and butterfly buns, 24 Feb. 2009
This review is from: The Butcher Boy [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Ignore the dull synopsis above - this film is a riot from start to finish . You can't fail to thrill to the exploits of Francie Brady growing up in a small Monaghan town in 1962 - the period detail is excellent and the use of comics and teevee enriches this haunting and blackly comic masterpiece . The best ever book to screen adaptation . Francie combats bogmen, the polis,a pedo priest ,the nasty Mrs Nugent- all comers .Sterling performances all round including Sinead O'Connor as the Virgin Mary ( she also sings the theme song ) and the author of the original book himself as Davy the Skite. Stephen Rea shines as both the older Francie and Francie's drunken Da !!! Could you beat that now ??? It'll be a terrible day indeed for this town if the worl' comes to an end . There's something for everyone here - pig stunners , ECT , the bogman tango, my ma the bun woman , trumpet solos , religious visions, the Cuban missile crisis . . . . . Miss it at your peril!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Flann O'Brien The Complete Novels (Everyman Library)
Flann O'Brien The Complete Novels (Everyman Library)
by Flann O'Brien
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.74

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars omnium, 16 Jan. 2009
Absolutely great to have these fine novels in one very fairly priced volume. O'Brien is a comic genius and his wild and unpredictable imaginaton is endlessly entertaining.His baleful and sardonic vision subverts the pretentions and hypocrises of what we thoughtlessly term reality. The 3rd Policeman is an overlooked masterpiece - surrealistic,subtle,inventive,wholely original and haunting. At Swim2birds is the original post-modern manifesto - I don't know where contemporary literature would be without it . O'Brien provides the material for whole generations of imitators . Surely the time has come to acknowledge this colossos of the comic novel.


The Violent Bear It Away
The Violent Bear It Away
by Flannery OConnor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.62

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars personal jesus, 14 May 2008
This is an excellent novel and a fine addition to the Southern Gothic canon . Francis Tarwater is an orphaned boy brought up on a lonely farmstead by a crazed uncle ,steeped in backwoods fundamental religion. The old man tries to model Francis' destiny to become a hellfire preacher but when he dies suddenly the boy is released into an indifferent and confusing world . He goes to another uncle , the scholteacher Rayber, in a nearby city and Rayber tries to save him from the trauma of his upbringing with his own brand of Freudian rationalism . Francis rejects all Rayber's attempts to help and marches dogggedly on to meet his destiny in his own personal Armageddon. The book is both tragic and sad but is imbued with O'Connor's characteristic brand of wry humour and ironic wit. She sympathises with her creations but lays bare their folly and conceit. This book is a neglected masterpiece by a very under-rated writer which analyses the perpetual struggle between rationality and religion .


Redemption Falls
Redemption Falls
by Joseph O'Connor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.99

7 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, 21 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Redemption Falls (Hardcover)
long, boring pretentious book - derivative of cormac mccarthy , a far superior writer. The bogus ,archaic language eventually smothers any interest the reader might have in the tortuous narrative and he or she loses the will to live round about the 3rd chapter.


Men That God Made Mad: A Journey Through Truth, Myth and Terror in Northern Ireland
Men That God Made Mad: A Journey Through Truth, Myth and Terror in Northern Ireland
by Derek Lundy
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Relief of Derry, 8 Mar. 2007
This book gives an interesting and perceptive account of Ulster History from the Protestant perspective . It is well researched and informative and above all explains why Northern Irish Protestants have taken a different cultural route from the other inhabitants of the island. It is balanced and fair and makes no excuses for bigotry but eventually becomes rather dull and worthy . The author seems to be constantly showing off his knowledge and while there are occasional flashes of wit, there is very little humour. At times his erudition gives way to anecdotage and he overuses the word " kern " ( an irregular soldier or guerrilla from medieval Ireland ) to the point of inanity . No greatly original insights are offered but it is refreshing to find a positive picture of the Ulster Protestant psychology.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 21, 2010 12:17 PM BST


Talk Talk
Talk Talk
by T. C Boyle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One for the road, 18 Aug. 2006
This review is from: Talk Talk (Paperback)
This is a gripping tale and ideal holiday reading . T C Boyle is an expert storyteller and the narrative never flags . The characters are well drawn and maintain our sympathy throughout. The author conveys the world of his deaf heroine Dana in all its frustrations and silent striving and gives the reader a vivid picture of how reality must appear to the deaf. He also gives an intelligent vision of American lifestyles and the way we are all besottted ( and enslaved ) by technology .I recommend this book to anyone who admires skilful, taut and unpretentious prose.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 4, 2014 8:06 PM GMT


A Long Long Way
A Long Long Way
by Sebastian Barry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worm's eye view, 28 Jun. 2006
This review is from: A Long Long Way (Paperback)
This is a brilliant novel and reminded me of the classic All Quiet on the Western Front. Like Remarque's book it gives a vision of shattered innocence and disillusion with patriotism and politics . It also commemorates the thousands of Irish soldiers whose sacrifice was forgotten in the newly established Irish Republic.Despite being denounced as a traitor by his own countrymen and branded a rebel by some of the people he was defending , Willy Doyle fights on till the end . Like Wilfred Owen ,his devotion to his comrades overcomes his revulsion at the way the war has gone. The book celebrates the triumph of humanity over ideology.


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