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Wayne Redhart "@wayneredhart on Twitter!" (West Midlands, UK)
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Murad Age Reform Perfecting Day Cream SPF30 50 ml
Murad Age Reform Perfecting Day Cream SPF30 50 ml
Price: £39.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Non miraculous, 2 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This product recently functioned as the most expensive sun cream I've ever used, during a holiday to Mallorca. In spite of having sourced a bottle of "Aloha" for the bargain price of fifty pence, from B & M, I made the tragic error of leaving the stuff in my hand luggage when trying to pass through to the departure lounge. Silly me for forgetting the new laws about bottles! Naturally, I wasn't going to discard a 50p bottle of suncream lightly, so I stepped in to the toilets- where I was able to apply more than half of the 300ml contents over my body- thus making use of around 30p worth of the product's full market value. At this point however, a particularly thick layer of excess cream had begun to accumulate over my skin, which simply wasn't being absorbed any longer. Grudgingly, I turned the remainder over to security, for destruction, before necking the bottle of vodka that I'd also brought. I do wonder if it would really be such a bad thing if they relaxed the ban on bringing liquids through airports? Okay, the odd plane might end up falling from the sky in a blazing inferno, killing every last passenger on board. However, the important thing is that each and every traveller (even those who should go on to perish) would board their plane carrying the peace of mind associated with having pre-sourced their in-flight beverages, at competitively priced open market rates. The type of inner warmth that is inspired by saving that kind of money is something that money simply cannot buy, without creating an innate paradox.

Anyway, although I wouldn't greatly recommend a product that retails at quite such a high price for use as sun cream (not when you can get perfectly good stuff at 50 pence a pop) it did seem to do a decent job of protecting my skin from the onslaught of solar radiation waves. However the primary purpose of Howard Murad's (not to be confused with Robert Murat- one is a wealthy dermatologist, whereas the other is a suspect in the abduction of Madeline McGann) product is age reform. Now, I'm the first to admit that I haven't followed their full regime. I've only been using this complimentary day cream, without additional recourse to the complementary age reform night cream, that presumably performs an equally important role. Similarly, I haven't been taking their Youth Builder dietary supplements using the oil control mattifier or rubbing myself down in rapid collagen infusion. Accuse me of doing a half-arsed job if you will, but from the cream alone I've shown about as much indication of "reforming" as Gary Glitter demonstrated after he was allowed out on parole.


Ultrasport Men's Rainbow Compression Pants - Black, Large
Ultrasport Men's Rainbow Compression Pants - Black, Large
Price: £34.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Hmphh..., 2 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Don't be fooled by the term "compression pants", as this isn't a dangerously undersized male thong. These are pants in the American style, or "trousers", as Sir Winston Churchill would have doubtless have seen fit to address them. Apparently they're supposed to boost the flow of blood during cardiovascular activity. Despite a few cycling sessions, I'm not yet completely sure as to how effectively they accomplish that, but boy are they uncomfortable! For a fellow with hirsute legs, everything gets squashed down in a manner that feels rather akin to wearing extremely tight sacking down the length of the leg, that was woven out of discarded trimmings of pubic hair. And believe you me, whilst such experimentation in the field of amateur hosiery did once provide me with a most engaging part time hobby, for nigh on a decade, the final product was disappointingly coarse. Keeping these on for any notable length of time really is an ordeal- as I learned during a recent flight to Russia, for a cycling holiday. Although I didn't acquire deep vein thrombosis, I not only spent the entire flight looking like an utterly ridiculous dandy, but I also experienced some of the worst itching I've encountered independently of an STD. Unfortunately my intended cycle path to China had to be aborted, however, after the border guards pulled me over when I attempted to pass the "nothing to declare" gateway.

As I explained to the guards, while the rainbow is today used as an international emblem for homosex, it can also be used merely to represent the naturally occurring spectrum of refracted light, upon the seams of some (admittedly rather camp) trousers. It's just like the "Rainbow Casino" in Edgbaston, Birmingham. Far from being a gay casino, it's simply decorated in rather lavish colours. Admittedly, there was the occasion when a rather large Russian gentleman had followed me into the toilets from the blackjack table and offered to pay for sex, but I'm pretty sure that was simply a misunderstanding. Regardless, the authorities insisted on searching my suitcase, which also contained a Rainbow DVD, a bag of Rainbow Drops, a copy of the old Amiga game "Rainbow Islands", a Rainbow Brite doll and Doreen's foot long rainbow coloured dildo. Although I was eventually cleared of the charge of promoting "alternative lifestyle decisions" (after my lawyer successfully had the court rule my extensive browsing history on pornhub to be admissible as evidence), unfortunately all of these possessions were confiscated along with my trousers. Probably a good thing too- as I've since learned that wearing these things improves circulation in an all too selective fashion, that can actually restrict it from the one destination that matters most. With an important audition coming up soon for professional work at the local sperm bank (who currently offer £30 per healthy donation) I'm glad to have got shot of the things.
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Cellfade Skin Enhancement lightening Cream 50 ml
Cellfade Skin Enhancement lightening Cream 50 ml
Price: £34.95

1.0 out of 5 stars Completely pointless, 1 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Whilst attending this year's Brit Awards after-party at the J20 arena, I received friction burns to the back of my hand whilst descending a helter-skelter. Thinking that this free product might help to fade the slight scarring that has remained, it was only natural to want to try it out. If we were to go back in time some twenty years or so, when it arrived my grandfather would doubtless have made a "joke" that I should offer some to the Nigerian family that lives next door. Fortunately times change, however, with the result that my grandfather is now quite comprehensively deceased- leaving behind him a legacy consisting of a racist corpse that lies decaying at the bottom of a racist grave, alongside the equally racist cadaver of my grandmother.

Anyway, in order to comply with scientific protocol, I've been using the stuff exclusively upon my left hand. Aside from having no noticeable effect on the scars, there's no sign that it did anything to lighten the general skin tone. If there's any difference between the colour of my hands, then I'm a Guatemalan dwarf called Rodney who juggles twin careers as a Liberace impersonator on the Ibiza club circuit, and as a backroom transplant surgeon for illegally harvested male genitalia. If you want to stay pale then either buy some sun cream (I recently picked some up at B & M for only fifty pence, representing a considerable saving compared to the price of this muck) or work night shifts. Whatever Michael Jackson's secret was, it certainly wasn't this.


Pest-Stop PSIR-LH Large House Pest Repeller - White
Pest-Stop PSIR-LH Large House Pest Repeller - White
Price: £21.44

4.0 out of 5 stars It might be working, 16 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having recently had a problem with rats in the kitchen, I'm in an ideal situation to test this equipment. Arguably the discovery wasn't all bad news, seeing as we had previously been suffering mouse problems. The presence of a rat infestation is a reliable indicator of gaining an altogether mouse-free household (apparently rats like to pin mice down and gnaw their brains out, whilst still alive and conscious), so I was keen to draw on the innate positives of the situation. Regardless, since then we had poison down and cemented over an entry point in the wall. Sure enough, fixing the rat problem proved to be something of a double-ended dildo. Without the presence of alpha vermin to continue attending to patrol duties, we soon ended up with mice again!

In a rather novel twist, instead of providing a written manual, the manufacturers offer a series of Egyptian hieroglyphics as instructions. This is a clever step- ensuring that regardless of first language/literacy level etc. one and all will be equally incapable of having the first clue as to how you are supposed to use the thing. Regardless, after having thrown the "instructions" in the bin and plumped for the rational option of just figuring it out entirely by myself, I've since had this set up in my bedroom for the past few weeks. It does seem to have been all clear during this time. Admittedly, it was at roughly the same point that I finally got around to hoovering up the large bag of Doritos that had been spilled over the bedroom floor some six months earlier, however, so I can't absolutely guarantee that any correlation to have arisen should rightfully be attributed to the notion of cause and effect. In fact, some of the mouse stools which had been turning up on the kitchen work tops looked downright loose to me. While I didn't go so far as to directly reference their consistency against the Bristol Stool Scale, I'd say that there's a fair chance that the mice had previously been getting drawn in by the extra hot chilli flavoured corn snacks.

As I say, it's been all quiet lately but (with Doreen having recently packed up with the kids and gone to stay with her sister in Scunthorpe) I'm starting to wonder whether I really like it this way. With my bed lying as empty as the "reduced" shelf of a branch of Tesco, that's sandwiched directly between a student hall of residence and a dole office, it might actually be nice to hear a living creature scurrying around the room once in a while. Whether or not the ultrasonic and electromagnetic properties of the device drove the mice away (just as the online purchase of a duvet cover featuring the image of "Jet" from off of Gladiators, had driven my wife away) I've been terribly lonely recently. Admittedly my spending on Diane Youdale memorabilia had indeed gotten woefully out of hand and I'm in no way proud of myself for the addiction. It was bad enough when I spent four hundred pounds on a rare autographed copy of her album No Covers (although, to my credit, it should be noted that I did manage to insist that a Jet action figure and fridge magnet would have to be bundled in to sweeten the deal- or I was quite literally prepared to walk). However, when Doreen discovered the fact that I'd blown no less than eight hundred pounds on the duvet cover (no longer in its original packaging, yet one of the last of the original print run to have even made its way out of the 1990s without having first been soiled past the point of physical recognition, by an overzealous pubescent teenager), she was truly livid. In fact, you might say that it was the final nail in the camel's back- given that I'd previously told her that I couldn't afford to take her out for a birthday meal at the 99p baguette shop, this year- due to the crippling financial difficulties associated with the current economic climate.

Anyway, back in the days when I still had the twin pleasures of both a wife and a mouse infestation, rodents often used to nibble at the dirty clothing that I would leave strewn all over the floor (typically for up to six weeks before washing). In contrast with my days as a swinger, I can't say that I used to appreciate the discovery of quite such a large number of holes, at the time. However, now I've been left with nothing, the thought of having any living creature pay such tribute (as chewing voraciously at a garment bearing my unwashed scent) would feel like a rare act of tenderness to be cherished to the hilt. Oh, what I would only give to take flight from this chasm of torment and solitude, borne by the high tensile strength rotary blades of such blessed pleasures (nb. some might argue that "wings" would have been a more poetic metaphor, but you'll not hear me apologise for being a helicopter fan first and a poet second, sorry)! Alas, all that is left now is memories. Tainted memories. Tearful, I type with but a single hand now, so my other is free to reminiscence against the moving tribute that was once delivered to the gusset of my boxers, by since departed guests (I'm not exactly sure why the mice had seemed quite so drawn to that particular area, but it did actually happen with at least four or five pairs, in that specific region. You've got to admit- it really is quite flattering, on a personal level, if you think about it, isn't it? Yeah, seriously, it really is, isn't it!).

But, alas, with wife and mice alike now akin to a breathlessly gasped review given of a 12 inch dildo, whilst receiving it rectally (ie "feeling long behind me"), I can but take solace through such memories, as well as through the absence of any new fecal deposits to be found strewn about the house's carpeting. However, even allowing for the associated likelihood of returning to that particular problem, given the choice I'd still dearly love to entice Doreen back into our home. In the event that I should yearn so pitifully for company as to go ahead and welcome the mice back in, it would take the mere press of a button to see them back in. If only there were but a comparable switch, from which I could turn off the forces that continue to repel my wife...

Actually, if I'd had enough of repelling the mice I'd probably just yank the thing straight out from the mains socket, come to think of it. People who insist that you'll damage the circuitry if you don't turn off an electrical appliance before disconnecting the power are simply being needlessly precautious. Not that this minor technicality actually contributes anything to the emotional poignancy of what would otherwise have been the closing allegory, mind. If anything I'm beginning to wonder if I've actually begun detracting from it, so I'll leave it there now.


GRDE® Sport Stereo Bluetooth 4.0 Earphones, Splash-proof Sweatproof Headphones, Headsets with NFC Function for iPhone, Samsung, HTC, LG and Other Mobile Phones with Bluetooth(black)
GRDE® Sport Stereo Bluetooth 4.0 Earphones, Splash-proof Sweatproof Headphones, Headsets with NFC Function for iPhone, Samsung, HTC, LG and Other Mobile Phones with Bluetooth(black)
Offered by GRDESUPPLY
Price: £38.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent headphones for the bald and shorter-haired, 24 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Firstly, I should disclose the fact that I was a given a code to claim a free pair to review, by the manufacturers. And quite right too. With ears like a hawk, who better to assess them than myself? I've recently received rather a lot of different blueteeth headphones, but these hold up rather well against the crowd. Whereas wired headphones fall out all too easily during such vigorous physical activities as exercise or sexual intercourse, the glasses-type design makes these extremely stable. Just to clarify, it's not like a literal pair of glasses plus a hidden ear piece, of the kind spies would use. If you were posing as a wine waiter for a party at the Algerian embassy, Vienna (with the expectation of having instructions relayed, as soon as the coast should become clear to sneak into the ambassador's study) you'd be far too obvious with these poking out of your head. Soon enough they'd have whisked you out the back, beaten you to a pulp and tortured you for information. After some eight hours of having a high voltage alternating current administered to the genitalia, not only would you have sold out Queen and country, but you'd even have spilled your guts about that homo-erotic encounter that occurred behind the bike sheds, as a young teenager. At this point, having outlived your worth as an informant, it would only be matter of time before your headless torso were to be discovered floating in the Thames- as a stern message to the British Government (who would disavow all knowledge of your actions). No, they're not like glasses in that sense at all. Rather, they're like glasses in the sense that they exploit the protuberant qualities of the human ear, as one of the most powerful weapons in the ongoing war between portable sonic replay devices and gravity.

The performance is pretty good for a device in this price range but, as someone who is currently sporting rather long hair, the style is sadly not particularly ideal for me. It's really rather difficult to avoid getting yourself badly tangled up when either taking them on or putting them off. What if top male model Fabio were sat on the bus, on his way to a photo shoot for a prestigious multinational brand of margarine, and he wanted to listen to comedian Richard Herring commentating whilst he plays snooker against himself (on the podcast "me one vs me two") followed by a bit of Danny Baker's radio show? Well, I'm afraid I couldn't recommend these to him, as the optimal vessel through which to pass on the relevant sonic wave patterns. If he turned up with his trademark locks looking like a tussled mess then he'd either be out on his ear, or at best working for a severely reduced fee. That said, if hard-man actor Ross Kemp were on his way to spectate at a bare-knuckle underground pit fight in an abandoned warehouse, he could do a lot worse than these, through which to catch up on consumer affairs advice via the latest episode of radio 4s "You and yours". Unencumbered by loose overhanging wires/hair, the man would cut a formidable sight indeed, as he struts his way down towards the docklands, bald as brass.


Hallmark Large Mum Traditional 3D Garden Birthday Card
Hallmark Large Mum Traditional 3D Garden Birthday Card
Price: £4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice card, 22 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a rather fetching card, featuring the traditional three dimensional style of garden. Those of you whose mothers have a healthy appetite should note that it doesn't directly state "large Mum" anywhere (as per the product title). In fact, it actually says "special mum". Fortunately, however, it still looked every bit as impressive after I crossed out the word "special" with a Biro, and replaced it with the word "gargantuan", in my very best joined up writing (seeing as it was down to me anyway, on reflection the word "large" did seem like rather an understatement). My mother was a little bewildered at receiving the card but, as I explained to her, my obligations as an Amazon reviewer compel me to try out review products within thirty days. And, no, I don't care if her Birthday isn't until January- I'm just doing my job. It's all very well yapping all the rest of the time about how my cards are usually over a month late, but it seems that eight months early just isn't good enough for her either.

PS. The other reviewer seems deeply concerned by the fact that the size of this classifies it as a "large letter", when sending via the royal mail. According to my research, compared to standard postage that entails an extra cost of 31p for first class, or 20p extra for second class. Kind of it was for him to warn us, it's not exactly taking the back off your shirt, is it? If that's really going to break the bank, you might also wish to reconsider the wisdom of blowing a fiver on a Birthday card, in the first place.


Maclaren Bath Set
Maclaren Bath Set
Price: £23.70

4.0 out of 5 stars Partially organic bathing at 22nd century prices, 15 May 2015
This review is from: Maclaren Bath Set (Baby Product)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although the company McClaren is perhaps best known for jet setting around the globe as a top formula one team (triumphantly unleashing plumes of carbon in all directions, as they go) it was a pleasant surprise to discover that the company is also highly regarded for their sideline business- as a manufacturer of ethical organic vegan produce. To be honest, I'm not altogether sure that most regular bath products have ever been notably rich in meat and dairy, but fair play to Maclaren for being so proactive on the matter as to make a rather loud song and dance about the fact that their's aren't either.

Personally, I'm not usually especially lavish about my bathroom habits. Now, I'd be the first to admit that I did use some coconut and vanilla body scrub earlier today but (before anyone goes comparing me to those "metrosexuals" that you hear about in the papers) I should point out that I bought it from Wilko, and that it only cost a quid fifty. However, seeing as I have a young female hippy friend (of the type of who's generally inclined to jump into bed no later than you can finish saying "ethically sourced") I thought it would be an excellent idea to order this particular carrot on a stick, for review. Actually come to think of it, a literal carrot on a stick might well have been perfectly adequate as a lure (particularly if there was a pot of hummous to dip it in). However, seeing as a freebie was on offer, it was a no brainer to make extra sure of sealing the deal.

Anyway, the shower that we shared in order to test the product was frankly a bit of a blur, but do recall having had a truly glorious time. I'm sure the toiletries involved have played at least some part in that. The most vivid recollections I have from the experience were of the shower gel, although I'd be the first to concede that even this memory was chiefly based around the specific regions of flesh that I had been rubbing it into, rather than around the efficacy of the gel itself. Likewise with the body lotion that we experimented with immediately afterwards (although I can offer direct recall of its lubricative properties).

Since that occasion, duty-bound as a tried and trusted reviewer, I should stress that I have come back and retested the items with a slightly more professional and objective hat on. Now, firstly, I won't deliver my forty minute speech right now about the difference between tangerines, clementines and mandarins (with which I've recently been attempting to break into the West Midlands after dinner speaking circuit). However, I can affirm with no small degree of authority that the smell does indeed stem from that of the mandarin genus. In order to properly check the "no tears" guarantee, I decided to test it on my young son Crispin. Now, strictly speaking there actually were tears during contact with his eyes, although it's only fair that I should mitigate this with the caveat that they probably had more to do with the necessity of holding him down and forcing his eyelids open- after the yellow-bellied little swine shrieked "No, Daddy!" and tried to hide in the corner. What I can say for sure is that there were a lot more tears during the control experiment that I performed next (and I really do mean a LOT more) so, I think it's fair to take them at their word. Having absolutely no time for lax or pseudoscientific methodology within the Redhart household, it was the very least I could do to follow up on the initial test, by pouring regular Tesco value shampoo directly into my son's eyes, for the sake of due comparison purposes.

Anyway, if you're expecting a baby and have already ordered enough silver mouth spoons to cover the birthing process, this would be an excellent way to blow off a little more excess cash. Well, actually "a lot more" excess cash. At this price I'd be expecting platinum leaf within the bottle (particularly as it's only 76 percent organic anyway. Given a quiet cubicle in which to take the bottle, I could singlehandedly have raised it up by a further percentage point myself). If money is literally no object, then this product comes highly recommended.


Mudder® Vintage Chain Brass Mechanical Movement Pocket Watch for Men and Women
Mudder® Vintage Chain Brass Mechanical Movement Pocket Watch for Men and Women
Offered by Mudder Online UK
Price: £13.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent electricity-free watch, 12 May 2015
Firstly, I should declare that I was sent one of these for free by the manufacturers, in return for a review that contains no bias. I'm a completely impartial party here, like the speaker of the house of commons John Bercow, or an all-white jury in the trial of a sheriff, for killing a black man. Anyway, fashioned out of brass (reputed amongst connoisseurs of the alliterative simile, to be the "boldest" of all metals) this is an extremely fetching time piece. It doesn't come with any instructions, so for any younger adults amongst you I should probably clarify the basics of usage. The face contains two different circular scales, one that is incrementally divided into 60 circumferential markings (representing minutes) and the other into 12 (representing hours). In order to "tell the time", one must first learn to observe which of the twelve units the smallest hand has passed and the number of minutes upon which the slower of the two longer hands resides. Now, this second part isn't quite so easy, but the trick to doing it quickly is to appreciate that each of the twelve hour markings corresponds to a number of minutes, that equates to the hour multiplied by 5. For example, the ninth hour correlates with 9x5, which equals 45 minutes past the hour. By calculating the number of minutes at the nearest hour marking, one need merely add or subtract no more than a couple of individual units to derive the specific time. If you want to know whether it's am or pm, however, you'll still need to consult with your mobile phone.

Surprisingly, this watch does not actually require any traditional electrical energy. When I first heard as much I thought it must be a wind-up. However, as I discovered, far from being a practical joke, it actually uses advanced modern mechanical techniques to power the hands, via stored potential energy within a coiled spring. Following on from the invention of the clockwork radio, these days scientists have managed to refine a similar mechanism to the point of being small enough to fit inside the latest new contemporary watches. Radical as it might sound, this is a truly excellent idea- allowing regular travellers to safely perform in-flight time keeping- without first having to set the device to aeroplane mode, lest it be inadvertently responsible for the onset of aeronautical disaster. The only downside to having a special electricity free watch is that it does tend to power down after around 24 hours of continuous usage- just the same as those produced by Apple.

In terms of style, it's an extremely attractive piece to have about one's person. Fortunately, my jacket contains two of those funny little pockets (that would normally only be used to store condoms) into which it fits extremely well. I like to hook the chain into the upper miniature pocket (which still leaves adequate room to store a condom beneath), while the watch itself hangs down from the chain and rests inside the pocket at the base of the jacket. Oh, and there's ample room to keep a further condom alongside it in that pocket too. However, seeing as you'll need to extract the watch whenever wishing to verify the time, you should be warned that an accompanying prophylactic *will* be inclined to fall out, on occasion, and potentially during the least opportune moments imaginable. Anyway, if you're into steam-punk paraphernalia, this is a lovely looking piece of kit. Unfortunately, modern science has yet to progress to a future in which it's technologically feasible to literally run a watch off old-fashioned steam power but, given the price bracket, a clockwork mechanism is a pretty fair compromise.


Optimum Nutrition 330 g Apple Gold Standard Pre-Workout Supplement
Optimum Nutrition 330 g Apple Gold Standard Pre-Workout Supplement
Offered by Colossol Nutrition
Price: £21.78

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disgusting and probably not especially necessary, 9 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having been sent both the apple and watermelon flavours, firstly I'd like to attest that both flavours are completely disgusting. You'd better be seriously dedicated to the cause of bulking up, if you're hoping to drink this swill. I'm not sure I'd bother putting yourself through the ordeal. Creatine (doubtless the most important additive) is cheaply available as a powder that mixes nicely into fruit juice with minimal impact on the flavour. Caffeine can be obtained by having a lovely cup of tea. The proven erection-enhancing properties of L-citrulline can be provided by cheap generic Viagra pills and the B vitamins can be obtained through a cheap vitamin tablet. Oh, and if you're truly intent on filling your boxers during that extra little push during an 80kg bench press, the laxative effect that is produced could easily be replicated by taking a Dual Lax extra strong tablet before your workout.


Quicksand
Quicksand
by Steve Toltz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.59

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, 28 April 2015
This review is from: Quicksand (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
To be honest, I don't read a whole lot of books these days, in spite of the extensive list of free offerings that are constantly being dangled for review. After working through a certain number of mediocre thrillers by unknown authors, the idea of taking a random gamble does gradually start to lose its appeal. Here's a genuine synopsis of a novel- extracted from an email I once received from an author, who was soliciting assessments.

"I am trying to generate more reviews for a book of fiction that is fantasy, and takes place in a garden setting. The imagery is gardening related, and I was wondering if anyone might be interested."

No, "intrigued" as I may have been, I most certainly wasn't "interested". However, back in the early days of the Vine programme (when there was still novelty to be found regarding the concept of receiving free pieces of paper that had been covered in words by a person I had never heard of, and then bound together) I was lucky enough to have ordered a review copy of "Fraction of the Whole". This was accepted not as the result of a rigorously discriminating selection process, but by dint of the nothing more than the fact that it was an item that I could quite legally procure without having to pay a penny for it. That was a truly excellent read and, sure enough, it went on to be recognised via nomination for the 2008 "Man Booker Prize" (similar to the "Woman Booker Prize", yet vastly more prestigious due to the addition of a Y chromosome). However, let's not forget that every silver lining has a cloud inside it. After such a pleasant surprise, I was inspired to take series of further punts on various other books- each of which turned out to be drivel, at worst, and average at best. Still, after years of going on to almost entirely avoid novels (due to the crippling combination of neither being willing to spend time enduring third rate writing, nor able to justify spending money on first rate authors- when I had the option of reading perfectly weak-to-mediocre alternatives for free) it was a great pleasure to be offered the author's long awaited second book.

It certainly doesn't disappoint- with the same kinds of perverse (yet eminently relatable) observations about life consistently woven into the narrative, as with its predecessor. If you want a black comedy that is both witty and thought-provoking, it doesn't really come much better than Toltz's mind shattering style. Truly an earth blowing experience.

PS Clearly one or two of the reviewers came to the party with an overly dry sense of humourlessness to be able to appreciate the work, but I'm quite sure it will please more widely than it will disappoint.


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