J. M. Gardner

Mmmm food! Mmmm books! Love to devour them all.
Helpful votes received on reviews: 83% (109 of 131)
Location: england


Top Reviewer Ranking: 73,498 - Total Helpful Votes: 109 of 131
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars short and slight, 26 Sep 2012
I was flabbergasted to find that this book is Booker short-listed! It's a slight read,strongly influenced, in my opinion, by Martin Amis's "The Pregnant Widow" . I struggled to believe in any of the characters, and found the sudden first person narrative of the young girl, now adult, at the close of the novel a real challenge to swallow. Apart from this dreamy last chapter it's a coldly critical third person throughout. The author has some fine ideas, and writes with some fluency and even flashes of humour, but here it doesn't signify or gel. The story of a depressed person poisoning people's lives is, fortunately, implausible, and, unfortunately, unwelcome.
Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry
Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars almost a five!, 5 Aug 2012
The minimal disappointment of the ending of the title story denies the 5-star rating that this collection of zinging short stories really deserves. Kevin Barry writes dialogue like no-one else can, and can summon up whole lives and cultures in choice slim-line prose that cuts no slack. There are memorable mini-tales here that live on long after you've returned it to the library! The Liverpool guys on a real ale train trip to Llandudno? Who would have thought there'd be such subtlety and melancholy contained in such a premise! In fact, their discussions about rating a beer on a scale of 1 to 10 instead of 1 to 5 pertains to this scoring too, and if that were the case, it's a nine!
The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey
The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Peter Carey's a wonderful author! I loved "True History of The Kelly Gang" and "Theft, a Love Story"! But this one's even worse than "Parrott and Olivier in America"! As with that, there are 2 voices narrating, and here there are 2 eras portrayed. Altogether 2 tricksy! The modern narrator's immediacy is appealing, and her grief is all too believable. The other narrator's a fusty old bloke who's being made a fool of by everyone he knows, and is a bore to boot.. I lost interest in the "automaton" that they have in common, failed to take wing for me. And it grinds to an inconclusive ending with the cranking of gears, and a sigh of relief from me. Write another one quick, and make if it funny!

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