Customer Reviews


7 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Persptions have never been more true
This story wraps you up in lavish and sophisticated descriptions of some refreshingly complicated characters. The narrative draws you in and your curiosity for the more perverse aspects of our nature keep you reading. If you are not smothered by the richness of her language, Bidisha paints a warts and all picture of the less glamorous aspects of life. The accuracy of...
Published on 21 Sept. 2001

versus
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious claptrap
I had heard good reviews of this book but found it to be utterly pretentious and try-hard. Bidisha is so intent on being seen as clever and sophisticated she forgets to put a plot in her book or create decent characters. None of them live or breathe; why on earth Pale decides to bonk her father is totally unexplained, and it seemed to me to be more an exercise in...
Published on 22 April 2003


Most Helpful First | Newest First

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious claptrap, 22 April 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Seahorses (Paperback)
I had heard good reviews of this book but found it to be utterly pretentious and try-hard. Bidisha is so intent on being seen as clever and sophisticated she forgets to put a plot in her book or create decent characters. None of them live or breathe; why on earth Pale decides to bonk her father is totally unexplained, and it seemed to me to be more an exercise in "looking like a clever person who's written a book" than a book which deserved to be published in its own right.
Whatever your day job is Bidisha, don't give it up!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars astounding, 7 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Seahorses (Paperback)
This book put me in the novel position of being grateful that no story I've ever written has been published. I am, at the time of writing, only a year older than Bidisha when she wrote Seahorses, and frankly, the idea of having a turd of such great proportions hanging off my name forevermore terrifies me. I've arrived at the conclusion that it simply was not edited, as she manages to cram every single mistake a writer might be warned against into one slim volume:
1. mixed metaphors, at least four to a page, every page
2. an underdeveloped main character, Pale, who is clearly a cypher for the author. Who feels compelled to tell us how good looking Pale is incessantly, while never letting us get even a hint of what Pale is thinking or why she acts as she does
3. Several almost indistinguishable older male characters who talk about their feelings like women
4. a pointless extra character, Ian, whose only functions are putting Juliane and Will back in touch and having sex with his equally pointless sister, despite Bidisha having already filled the "cutting edge" incest quota through Pale's inexplicable affair with her father
5.stupid names for her characters. I'm sorry, no "intellectual" composer would rename themselves Juliane, nor is anybody called Pale
6. describing what the characters are wearing, every time we meet them
7. introducing every character like this: name, clothing, location, going somewhere else, concerns laid out on the table
8. tin ear for dialogue, what little of it there is
9. an equally absent plot
10. totally random suicide at the end - for all the so-called atmosphere the narrative up to the last page forgets to deal with any potential causes
11. adolescent warblings on Greek Tragedy and The City As A Corrupting Force, which could be copied out of any SparkNotes for all the new ideas they contain
12. Irrelevant title -

If anything could send one running and screaming into merchant banking, this piece of vanity publishing would be it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The stagnant drifting of spiritually impoverished wannabes, 13 Sept. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Seahorses (Paperback)
Having 'discovered' Bidisha when she wrote for the NME, my curiosity was primed. However, I was sad and disapointed about how empty and bereft of emotion this book was. The characters were souless and unsympathetic, the metaphors and descriptions forced. Seahorses for me gasped and choked with the desperation to be considered clever. (We're expected to admire and wonder at the author's youth.) It just dwells and delights on a side and seam of London that abhors me. But then, I'm no fan of Eastenders either. If you are, ignore this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars tries to hard too be gritty, 10 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Seahorses (Paperback)
This book is pretentious and tries to shock. I think Bidisha was hoping to create an outrageos sensational response. Only you just think "oh dear, what on earth was she smoking when she wrote this?"

However, please do bear in mind that she was only 18 at the time, hence I can sympathise with her efforts to appear blasé and cynical, which may have persuaded her to write about incest so casually. There are perhaps metaphors in the book that relate to all the weird (and what I felt at the time random and unrelated) acts performed by the characters, however, at the time when I read the book (several years ago, aged 19) I wasn't convinced of their importance.

Perhaps this book requires a re-read. Or perhaps its just a basic and first effort by an author who has now gained the maturity to write books without trying to make a statement about herself. And Bidisha is a brilliant writer
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trying to Be Ever So Grown Up..., 12 Feb. 2012
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Seahorses (Paperback)
This is a book that can be enjoyed for certain things but as a story doesn't quite work - largely because most of the characters are pretty implausable. Granted, it's pretty impressive that Bidisha wrote this as a teenager. But she also stated in interviews that she was trying to write about a world she didn't know, and that she wrote it very quickly, without much editing. Both these points certainly come across! The plot of the novel, in as much as there is, deals with three men who work 'in the media' - Will as a film maker, Juliane (male with a pretentiously-added 'e' on the end) as a composer, Ian first as Juliane's assistant and later in art PR. Bidisha clearly knew at this stage little of the film making world (it's extremely unlikely that Will would have drifted from modelling and journalism into film-making, and besides, is he a writer, producer, director, all three? She never tells us - but he must have been successful to have a house in Bloomsbury. She also doesn't know much about the day-to-day life of a composer. Juliane, who I think may be modelled slightly on the more fashionable modern composers such as Thomas Ades, would be unlikely to compose everything 'to the violin', would certainly have a piano, and would be too worried about making money (even the tip-top composers are not well paid) to be sitting at home in a posh house feeling depressed. Also if he was that famous he'd almost certainly have a good agent and PA, rather than calling on Ian who has no experience whatsoever. During the novel, Will and Juliane (who may have been lovers) both fall for a 16-year-old schoolgirl called Pale Jesson - we're never told why she has this strange name or much about her background, or why she is prepared to sleep with two men she hardly knows, and later leap into an incestuous relationship with her own father. Meanwhile, to keep the incest theme going, Ian has a little fling with his sister Sophie, a battered wife. It's all quite dramatic, though the end fizzles out somewhat - we're never told why Juliane does what he does, whether Will really is a nervous drug-addicted wreck or just thinks he is, or why Sophie makes the volte-face decision she does. Bidisha is easier writing about Pale and Sophie - about whom she actually produces some rather beautiful prose -than the men; the dialogue between the men all too often sounds like imitations of films and modern novels about jaded men, and can occasionally bear an unfortunate resemblance in its trying to be mature to that of Daisy Ashford, the child author of the Edwardian novel 'The Young Visitors' - though of course on a different subject! All the characters are meant to be drop-outs apart from Juliane and yet all appear incredibly well-read - just so that their author, who went on to a degree in English, can put in lots of literary references.

What makes the book worth reading - and what nearly made me give it four stars - is both Bidisha's subtle and exact way of writing about adolescence, particularly Pale's experiences at school and Sophie's decision to marry so young, and her intermittently wonderful descriptive language. Although the similes and metaphors are at times quite pretentious and inaccurate: a letter looks like the 'eyeball of a mad dog'; a slim man smiles like 'the slit in the flank of a whale' - they are at times beautiful, and Bidisha can describe having a scented bath, walking a London street, shopping in the rain, eating sushi or wandering the National Gallery with a wonderfully fresh language that makes you feel you are experiencing these things excitedly for the first time, or seeing them in a new light. As a London travelogue the book is great.And she writes very well from various female perspectives. I just wish she'd worked over her subject a bit more thoroughly and maybe chosen something she knew more about. But then if her 'Thought for the Day' pieces in the Guardian are anything to go by Bidisha's very happy to pronounce on anything. Still, although I disliked her gratuitously violent second novel, I'll certainly be interested to see if Bidisha produces any more fiction.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Persptions have never been more true, 21 Sept. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Seahorses (Paperback)
This story wraps you up in lavish and sophisticated descriptions of some refreshingly complicated characters. The narrative draws you in and your curiosity for the more perverse aspects of our nature keep you reading. If you are not smothered by the richness of her language, Bidisha paints a warts and all picture of the less glamorous aspects of life. The accuracy of her perceptions are all the more harrowing as she was only a teenageer herself when she wrote this. Highly recommended!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Seahorses': A darkly glorious celebration of London., 20 Jun. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Seahorses (Paperback)
'Seahorses' is undeniably one of the most important novels of the nineties. It focusses on the sultry, solitary and sordid lives of the media types topped off with a glittering wisp of youth embodied in Pale: the fifteen year old unlikely seductress who loses herself in a dark maze of incest and pregnancy. Bidisha writes with freshness, fluency and a striking ability to command and twist language to create unusual and sometimes disturbing images. This little book is an intriguing gem sometimes hidden amongst boisterous bookshelves, however after you've got over the intitial impact of this book you'll wonder how you could ever have missed it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Seahorses
Seahorses by Bidisha (Paperback - 6 July 1998)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews