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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating
Anyone who has travelled on the public transport will have played the game: look at the person sitting opposite and try to guess who they are, what they do or what they are thinking. Geoff Ryman obviously played this game a lot. Only he has transformed this simple idea into an acclaimed new novel, leaving him exempt from the nagging question on all our minds as we read...
Published on 25 Jan. 2001

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An everyday tube journey?
I will never be able to travel the underground again, without thinking of this book!
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be able to tap into every one's thoughts around you? To know not only know who they are but what they are thinking at that very moment? Wouldn't it be fun? Well read 253 and you can. Geoff Ryman has taken an incredibly obvious idea...
Published on 20 Jun. 2000


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh air in contemporary fiction, 13 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: 253 (Paperback)
I love this book. I love the ingenuity of it, I love the contemporariness of it, I love the symetry of it and I love that you get 253 stories in one. Each page has 253 words describing 253 characters with an end goal (one collective narrative of a train ride).

As a London lass, riding the tube regularly, this book speaks to me personally as well as jovialy, this is a book for people who love the written word, love a good story and enjoy seeing an author play with his medium in a confident and new way.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different!, 13 Jan. 2004
This review is from: 253 (Paperback)
253 is the number of people which travel on a London Underground train including the driver (if all the seats are taken and no one is standing up- the ideal amount). The author gives you some insight into the people which are traveling; outward appearance, inside information and what they are doing and thinking. It's a clever idea for a novel, very imaginative, each page provides a potrait of the person in 253 words. It's ideal for someone who likes to dip in and out of a book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Idea But Flawed, 3 Nov. 2011
This review is from: 253 (Paperback)
I enjoy the idea behind this novel, and it is a refreshing format, but there are some fundamental problems. One I cannot overlook is that the inclusion of a pigeon as one of the 253 passengers, a nice comedic touch, goes on to make little sense when lapdogs and a magician's rabbit travel unnumbered. I also find the Dave Eggers style 'advertisement' segments miss the mark.

However, it is an easy going read and not entirely without enjoyment.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new way has come, 9 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: 253 (Paperback)
This book is genius. Not only does it have a storyline to it but it delves deep into the lives and thoughts of everyday people, imagine yourself sitting on a train... someone might be wondering what you are think, someone might even write about it. The way it all ties together must have taken years to come up with alone. You simply HAVE to read this book.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boredom, 10 Jun. 2010
This review is from: 253 (Paperback)
I really, really wanted to like this book. The concept had such potential: a full Bakerloo line train with 253 passengers, and 253 words dedicated to each passenger, providing a window into each soul during what might otherwise have been a mundane seven-and-a-half minute tube journey. In practice, however, the book is a compilation of lackluster, dreary and absurd characters. How Ryman manages to make the characters ridiculous yet so mind-numbing thoroughly eludes me. By the novel's end, I could not have cared less about what happened to 95% of the characters, and the 5% I found interesting got completely lost and forgotten amongst the inanity of the rest. It's not often that I regret taking the time to read a particular book, but I want the hours of my life spent reading 253 back.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Same difference, 14 April 2014
This review is from: 253 (Paperback)
Apparently on line this is about 'how intrinsically similar people are', whereas in print it's about how different they are. Ryman is a Canadian writer of slipstream. Slipstream is genre with pretensions
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely brilliant read, 17 Nov. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: 253 (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book increadably! Truely one of the best and most original books I've ever read. Even if you're not sure if you'll enjoy it, I'd say give it a go!
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6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good idea possibly, but an awful book, 26 Nov. 2001
By 
Paul Ashby (Surbiton, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 253 (Paperback)
I had high hopes when I bought this book, it sounded like an truly original idea. What a dissappointment, this book is awful. I couldn't quite believe how banal, predictable and with complete lack of insight this book was. How it ever got published I do not know. Not a single character came to life for me...
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5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shallow, annoying and pretentious, 1 Mar. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: 253 (Paperback)
A truly terrible book. What sounds like a promising idea quickly becomes tedious and predicatable - even down to including a pigeon as one of the 253 passengers. I think my main disappointment was that it was so obviously written by one person. It might have been redeemed somewhat and wouldn't have paled so quickly if each character was written by a different author.
What 99% of travellers think about on the tube (including myself) is " . . . ", but it seems all Rymans passengers appear to be undergoing annoying and pretentious life-changing decisions.
This book seems like the sort of thing that looks easy for an agent to sell to a publisher looking for something different, but in the end it reads like a soap opera - it certainly has the depth of one.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and gripping read, 5 April 2006
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This review is from: 253 (Paperback)
I loved this book. It is funny, witty, and insightful. Although you know that the train crash is coming, the surprise and the impact it has on the characters that you have come to know throughout the book is still striking.
The concept is new, original and well executed.
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253 by Geoff Ryman (Paperback - 26 Mar. 2010)
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