Helpful votes received on reviews: 99% (270 of 274)
Location: Bristol UK


Top Reviewer Ranking: 109,269 - Total Helpful Votes: 270 of 274
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
This book affected me so much I felt compelled to read it again a couple of weeks later. The writing is so dense with meaning and implication, it seemed like a new book.

At first the narrative is like a diamond, dazzlingly polished and multi-faceted. Paragraphs are ruthlessly concise, and shift abruptly between horror, humour and heartbreak. Proceeding mosaic-fashion, and following association rather than chronology, the author creates brilliantly detailed and sharply focused scenes which constitute the only version of her early life which her memory can accept. They are the memories from which she constructed her first novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.

There… Read more
Talking to the Dead by Helen Dunmore
Talking to the Dead by Helen Dunmore
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This was the first Dunmore I read, many years ago, and I have re-read it with increasing pleasure and admiration twice since then. The atmosphere and events are so sensuously evoked, the characters are so vividly realised, and the mystery at the heart of events is so intriguing and horrible, that you are compelled to read it all once you have started. Few books maintain such an impetus, create such an impending sense of disaster under the lush surface of things, and end with such a mind-wrenching jolt.

It is a first-person narrative, in this case by Nina, the younger of two sisters, and as always the question is: how much can you trust the narrator? And this is key to the next… Read more
A Change of Climate by Hilary Mantel
A Change of Climate by Hilary Mantel
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
I think this novel is about the omnipresence of cruelty in human relationships, how it is engendered, and how we deal with its consequences. The story pivots on an act of hideous and deliberate cruelty towards a child, which eats like acid into the parent's relationship for years afterwards. But there is also more familiar, sometimes unintentional, cruelty in this book: Ralph is emotionally blackmailed mercilessly by his father Matthew into abandoning his cherished vocation, and Matthew also bullies and terrifies his own wife throughout their marriage. Emma and Felix are casually, unintentionally cruel to Ginny, Felix's wife, for decades. Ralph, who spends his life in charitable works,… Read more