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Reviews Written by
Mr. Philp Unsworth "Phil Unsworth" (Manchester, UK)

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Of Human Bondage (Vintage Classics)
Of Human Bondage (Vintage Classics)
by William Somerset Maugham
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 31 Oct 2006
Of Human Bondage is a ridiculously good novel, one which receives nowhere near the amount of credit and acclaim it deserves. The accuracy and skill with which Maugham describes Philip Carey's idealism, his subsequent disenchantment and his relationship with Mildred inparticularly (a glorious femme fatale)is astonishining, touching and haunting.

Maugham has been criticised for the lack of poeticism in his prose, a "flaw" he acknowledged himself. However, his writing is precise, lively and insightful, without been overly embroidered or wordy, and this benefits the reader no end in Of Human Bondage. Central themes and important passages have more impact and are believable and human, inviting much consideration and empathy.

All in all, this is a most wonderful novel, undoubtedly one of my favourites and I can't reccomend it highly enough. Enjoy!

Five Boys
Five Boys
by Mick Jackson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.32

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull and unrewarding, 22 Jun 2006
This review is from: Five Boys (Paperback)
I stumbled upon this book at a second hand bookshop and bought it expecting an enjoyable and nostalgic account of an evacuee, and his struggles to adapt to life in the country, perhaps with echoes of "Goodnight Mr Tom" about it.

However, I was hugely disappointed and I'm afraid to say that "Five Boys" is the worst book I have read in a long time. One or two of the other reviews mention the lack of characterisation - I would go further and say the characterisation seen in the book is abysmal and, at best, amateurish. I struggled to develop any feelings for, or understanding of, the protagonists, particularly Bobby, and found myself simply not caring what happened to them.

Further more, in sharp contrast to several other reviews on this site, I have to say that I also found the book to be poorly written, and found Jackson's diction to be dull and unpoetic. Indeed, to be blunt, I found the narrative incredibly boring, often dragged out and with little real evocation of wartime rural Britain.

Several times as I laboured through this poor work of fiction I struggled to understand how it came to be published, and it was a relief to finally finish it. I won't elaborate on the disjointedness and mess of the plot and structure, though these were further ingredients to a dull and unrewarding read.

I certainly will not be reading any more of Jackson's work in a hurry though I believe "The Underground Man" is a decent read.

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