Shop now Shop now Shop now Up to 70% off Fashion Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Amazon Fire TV Amazon Pantry Food & Drink Beauty Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars37
3.1 out of 5 stars
Format: HardcoverChange
Price:£14.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

VINE VOICEon 16 February 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is not really a novel, but a set of linked short stories - linked by the city in which they are set. I liked the premise of the book, but the realisation left me cold. The city itself was never established as a 'character', and the human stories enacted therein were totally unengaging, and, indeed, as I finished each section I found myself wondering what the point had been. The various narrative threads are all written in the same tone, and the lack of differentiation between the voices makes for a totally dull and dreary read. I certainly wouldn't bother with thia author again.
0Comment2 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 August 2012
A dizzying and dazzling portrait of an imaginary city. This shows great promise for a first time novelist. Essentially, this is a collection of short stories all tied together by the setting of a single city and various rich and recurring themes, such as our need to tell ourselves and each other our own stories to exist, especially when living in a vast, heaving metropolis.

As with any short story collection, there are some that are better than others, and some which you wish you could spend more time with before they finish. And occasionally it feels like the author is trying out different genres to see which suit him best. But like Joyce's Dubliners there is a coherency here above and beyond the individual tales that keeps you reading. And even when the author is trying out a genre that is perhaps not his forte, there is still a relish and an intelligence in the writing that makes you enjoy the ride.

Much like any great city, the book's biggest strength is the sense that you will be rewarded by repeat visits, and by exploring deeper its smaller streets, its dead ends and less well-trodden paths.
0Comment5 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A highly, almost painfully literary series of stories; some I enjoyed very much, some not so much, some not at all. All are written in an absorbing, poetic style, with a literary brilliance that blankets rather than shines. Communion Town abounds with strange and original metaphor; it feels experimental, and a little too self-consciously clever.

What is it about? Is it about anything, really? I thought I was catching clues, like the clever use of grammar: `Time is strange in certain rooms.' Then, `Time is strange. In certain rooms...' But if these were pointers to an overall theme, I missed it.

I wish it had been better constructed, if the stories had been linked by even tenuous threads, just one character running through would have rounded it out and given more weight, more meat.

The writing is gorgeous but it's a little like tinsel without the tree; it needs more flesh on its bones, but it's still worth 4 stars.
0Comment5 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 August 2015
Lots of unfinished stories
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 16 August 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was beginning to believe that the art of the short story was defunct - so this collection is a great relief. I must admit that when I read the words 'teaches English' on the flyleaf, I was apprehensive, as this usually dooms the reader to a diet of pretentiousness, unremitting and heavy-handed allusions or rank imitation. Here, however, the author's knowledge of literature is not a crutch, but a stepping stone. There is no hint of Calvini, as one of the plugs for the book suggests, but we have instead hints of everything from magic realism to pulp fiction, although as far as the last is concerned (in 'Gallathea')this has retained its lack of appeal for me. The stories are, on the face of it, connected by the city - a modernised combination of Innsmouth and Gormenghast, but readers of 'The King in Yellow' or Poe may well feel that it is a character in many guises that is the link. All the stories are enjoyable, whether in the clinical style of 'The Significant City of Lazarus Glass which seems to present us with facets of Sherlock Holmes treated as four separate characters, or in my especial favourite, 'The City Room', which is like Bradbury at his most lyrical in its depiction of boyhood feelings. Rather selfishly, I hope that the author produces more short story collections and eschews novels completely - modern literature needs more stories of this quality.
0Comment3 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a really interesting book. I can understand the comparisons with Mitchell - it's a similarly impressive walk through a number of styles that the author manages with aplomb. I haven't finished it yet to be honest - I've enjoyed the first four stories but it doesn't require that you keep going to the end - one of the things I like is that I can be reading other books and this is a nice one to pop back to in between. So far we've had surreal, noir, magical realism... more surreal. Reminds me a bit of Iris Murdoch too... I have a feeling this is a fine writer in the making - this feels like a good showcase. Will add more when I have finished it.
0Comment3 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 July 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm thoroughly mistrustful of any recommendations from fellow authors on books, although genuine media reviews are often more reliable. Being fascinated by cities, I was therefore attracted by the Telegraph's review of Communion Town. I was left really quite disappointed.

Partly this is my own fault. I hadn't realised until after I ordered it that Communion Town was a collection of short stories. All the same, the claim that they were interlinked made me hope that the overall picture of the city Thompson was writing about would gradually come alive on the page.

Sadly it didn't really. The short stories are by no means bad, but remind me why I avoid them - they didn't seem to go anywhere, and weren't substantive enough to draw me in or remember them afterwards. Thompson writes quite well, and perhaps a full-length novel from him would be more rewarding, but I'd wait for that rather than reading this.
0Comment4 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 16 September 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The publisher blurb describes this as 'The Man Booker-longlisted novel explores how each of us conjures up our own city. Every city is made of stories: stories that meet and diverge, stories of the commonplace and the strange, of love and crime, of ghosts and monsters.' It's compared with Calvino and Cloud Atlas, the whole publishing industry and reviewers were raving about it, so I picked it up with extreme interest.

And then was hugely disappointed.

It's quite interesting and some of it is really good. But it's not a novel. It seems to be a load of short stories that he's fitted together and I know it's supposed to be post modern and he's aping other people's styles, but I'm getting no idea of his authorial voice at all. It's a bit of a show off really.

Thematically it's all over the place, he attempts to link it with commonality and characters reappear, but it's almost an after thought, as if he's gone through afterwards and slotted them in so he can claim it to be a novel. I maintain that it's not though. It's a collection of stories, some good, some bad, some really bad that are set in a town which has no sense of identity at all.

At times his writing sparkles, some of his descriptive prose is really accomplished, but at others it seems laboured. There is an idea of a creature that stalks the town, feeding off the telling of tales, which is interesting and could have been a uniting thread, but even this is not fully realised and peters out.

Really disappointing.
0Comment2 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Gosh this one was a struggle. Vague and mostly unrelated short stories supposed to conjure up a city. But the city, which was not located in any clear space or time, just eludes all grasping. The only real fun for the reader was trying to imagine which city it might be; I suspected much of it might be Baku but it was probably a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

The writing seemed to be deliberately obscure with some of the stories starting out lucidly but meandering off into inconsequential wittering, other were just withering from beginning to end. Yes, the odd nice turn of phrase, but it didn't add up to anything. There was no characterisation and most of the characters seemed to vanish into the background.

At the end, the book leaves barely a trace of memory. The odd phrase, perhaps, and the idea of The Flaneur roaming around doing bad things (though the bad things seem to vary from story to story).

Apparently the central idea is that we all perceive cities differently, so each person sort of lives in their own, unique city. But the exult of illustrating this is that what should have come together to cohere just feels fragmentary. This really isn't a novel, and nor does it seem particularly good. Heaven knows, then, how it got Booker longlisted.
33 comments3 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 September 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Some of the writing is very good. Unfortunately the author tends to repeat himself so even the good bits soon get repetitive.
Some of the stories read as parody. They start out okay but then get somewhat tedious.

Ultimately it just all seems somewhat pointless. There is nothing `deep' or significant' about any of them. They seem like creative writing exercises.
There is potential here but the collection didn't impress me.
0Comment2 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items


Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.