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Helpful votes received on reviews: 88% (1,335 of 1,517)


Top Reviewer Ranking: 623 - Total Helpful Votes: 1335 of 1517
Phineas Redux (Penguin Classics) by Anthony Trollope
Phineas Redux (Penguin Classics) by Anthony Trollope
5.0 out of 5 stars A triumph, 31 Aug 2014
First a warning: Phineas Redux is the fourth of the Trollope's Palliser novels and, while the six novels in the series can otherwise be read independently, this is an exception, forming also the sequel to Phineas Finn. If you have not read Phineas Finn, then, you need to begin there, and you may also stop perusing this review, which will be found to contain spoilers by anyone who has not read the first in the pair.

I cannot claim to have read all of Trollope's forty-seven novels, but of those I have read, this has been the most exciting. Our hero Phineas, having lost his wife to childbirth, returns from Ireland to run in a fresh election. As soon as he sets foot in London, he is… Read more
Music For Torching by A. M. Homes
Music For Torching by A. M. Homes
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow-burning, 21 Aug 2014
A.M. Homes is a writer with a fine eye. Her novels capture ordinary psychology with humour and a good sense of the apposite. Music for Torching, though, felt just a little unreal to me. The novel begins as Paul and Elaine attempt to burn down their house by tipping a barbeque. Paul has been unfaithful, and Elaine, the stay-at-home mother of two boys, is aimless and demoralised. Forced temporarily to leave their home, the couple, and the family, flail for a handle on their lives. But as they weave through neighbourhood dinner parties, comical work meetings at Paul's NY office, and fresh affairs, cracks soon appear through the veneer of respectability. Fine: yet set in the 1990s, this has a… Read more
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
5.0 out of 5 stars Gem of a first novel, 18 Aug 2014
Tom Rachman's The Imperfectionists is half novel, half collection of short stories. Its overarching plot is that of an international, English-language newspaper based in Rome, running from its foundation in the 1950s to its modern fall to the barbarian forces of new media. Each chapter, though, zooms in on the life of one of its participants: reporter, copy editor, accountant, devoted reader, moneyed board member... Nor is the newspaper the only thread running through these portraits: all are people faced with imperfect life situations, forced to make do with a reality far different from the simpler epitomes of the printed word. Rachman is a gifted writer, and the chapters are full of… Read more