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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaping off the page
This is the best book I've read - by a mile - for absolutely ages, maybe years.
It helps if you've actually heard the regional accents that inform the phonetic style of the writing before (there's a Liverpudlian, a girl from Yorkshire, an Essex boy and a few Welsh characters, so I imagine, say, an American reader would find it really hard going) - but if you have,...
Published on 29 Sep 2004 by Mr. P. J. Bennett

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not for me...
Painfully long with no real plot (other than various encounters of getting wasted told through the eyes of different main characters). If you can feel a connection to these characters (unemployed, disillusioned youth etc), geography (west coast Wales) and lifestyles (drugs/late 90s) then you may be able to endure the novel in it's entirety, although I found it repetitive...
Published 21 months ago by db


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaping off the page, 29 Sep 2004
This review is from: Grits (Paperback)
This is the best book I've read - by a mile - for absolutely ages, maybe years.
It helps if you've actually heard the regional accents that inform the phonetic style of the writing before (there's a Liverpudlian, a girl from Yorkshire, an Essex boy and a few Welsh characters, so I imagine, say, an American reader would find it really hard going) - but if you have, you'll crack through the different snapshot-stories as if it were your own inner monologue you were listening to. The characters really do LEAP off the page at you, too - what makes the book so powerful is that you can begin to accept their motivations just the way they explain them to themselves, until you glimpse the same events from another point of view.
It's not all grit and grime, either, and even the worst folk in the story sometimes have a warmth to them. Disco-ball flicking from one scene to the next weaves each character's story tightly to the others.
I can't recommend it enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not for me..., 25 Sep 2012
This review is from: Grits (Paperback)
Painfully long with no real plot (other than various encounters of getting wasted told through the eyes of different main characters). If you can feel a connection to these characters (unemployed, disillusioned youth etc), geography (west coast Wales) and lifestyles (drugs/late 90s) then you may be able to endure the novel in it's entirety, although I found it repetitive and dull. I realise that the novel is purposely bleak although it lacks the dark humour of say, Trainspotting or other novels of the same vein. There is some beautiful writing in regards to geography and nature although I didn't enjoy this book due to the lack of plot combined with it's length.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thats Life!, 16 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Grits (Paperback)
Quite simply an amazing feat of literature. Sums up the angst and the desires and fears that characterise the forgotten people of society - the people that actually live life, those who are forced to deal with the very worst, but also the most real aspects of a system devoid of compassion and filled with hate. It is a glimspe into the world that intermingles with that of the priviliged people but is never seen. An eye opening and ultimately life affirming novel. And as an aber local, it makes it even more real...
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of the year, 3 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Grits (Paperback)
What a great book - great characters, great prose, and a realistic take on life in the aber area. Makes trainspotting appear limp in comparison. His writing on taking drugs is frighteningly accurate, look forward to his next book.
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2.0 out of 5 stars OVERLONG, RAMBLING STORY ABOUT DRUG ABUSE, 27 Aug 2013
This review is from: Grits (Paperback)
Whereas, in Irvine Welsh's books (don't just compare this to Trainspotting. Try Maribu Stork Nightmares, for example), there is a superb plot, the characters are likeable and the set-pieces are extremely funny, Grits is the opposite on every score: almost zero plot, irritating characters and wooden set-pieces. It is obvious Griffiths is trying to ape Welsh but I get the feeling writing colloquially only works well in Scottish and only then if the characters are infused with real humour. I had real problems finishing Grits but I acknowledge that, even if I didn't like it, Grits must have been difficult to write and had it had a good plot I could maybe have overlooked the dull characters. In the sleevenotes an Observer critic comments: '...he (Griffiths) captures the tedium of a life lived from one fix to the next.' He certainly does...with one tedious book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Awfully long but worth persevering with, 6 Sep 2012
By 
HuddsOn (Huddersfield, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Grits (Paperback)
Each chapter consists of a monologue by a different narrator and the book lacks a conventional plot-driven structure. Typically, a character's monologue provides a sort of broken narrative describing disconnected events that have taken place over the course of several months, or perhaps even a few years, as there is nothing to give you a clear sense of time. The effect is a bit like someone sporadically keeping a video diary, and is perhaps meant to indicate their alienation from mainstream society.

Griffiths does not exactly make his characters' shambolic, dole-reliant, thrill-seeking lifestyle seem particularly attractive to outsiders, but he certainly makes it comprehensible. They choose it, or are sucked into it for a variety of reasons - low self-esteem, disfunctional childhoods, a sense of entitlement, and an inability to compete in a materialistic, goal-driven society are all hinted at as factors. But he doesn't attempt to offer simplistic textbook explanations for addiction or self-destructive behaviour. He creates a whole spectrum of rootless (mainly working-class) characters without ever resorting to off-the-peg underclass stereotypes, from the relatively abstemious (but self-obsessed and unreliable) Paul, the Gaelic poetry-reading, amphetamine-snorting Colm, to the sociopathic junkie Roger (you can never quite tell whether the others put up with him because they enjoy his company or because they're scared of him and his drug-dealing associates).

I felt he didn't quite get under the skin of his female characters as much as the men, but still a very impressive debut.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trainspotting revisited, 12 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Grits (Paperback)
Grits is a novel about a group of drug addicts who have found their way to a small town in Wales. The story itself has no plot, just the first person narrations by the addicts themselves, each looking for an impossible fulfilment. Each narration is different, though their respective language usage is similar enough to be able to argue that Griffiths is asserting group subconsciousness in the place of individuality. The book is indeed an achievement, but one that comes at a price. In an attempt to give the book a visceral reality, the words themselves are phonetically spelled, making the five hundred page book an incredibly exhausting read. Irvine Welsh liked it though...Perhaps Welsh is a bit too enthusiastic; had Griffiths compromised a bit with his phonetic writing, it might be more readable.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 3 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Grits (Paperback)
This book really pulls you in. In much the same tradition as Trainspotting Griffiths pulls you down even further and deeper into the underbelly of his addict's lives. This all makes for highly compelling reading and I was gripped for the most part and felt really sad when it ended, mainly because I had come to think of his characters as my own friends!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes you to those places you may have been or might end up, 3 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Grits (Paperback)
It seems hard to be objective about this book. So much of what is presented and said will resonate with many people, to a lesser or greater extent. Reading it, made me feel validated as much as it made me want to forget or gloss over memories. For days after I felt an anger and a strength, that was personal and political - along with delight and a feeling of inspiration that someone had put this stuff down on paper. This is as much social documentary and biography as it is fiction. Read it and be moved.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book , written with emotion and insight., 10 Feb 2000
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This review is from: Grits (Paperback)
Niall Griffiths captures the Atmosphere of Aberystwyth, and the sence of isolation from of the world that the place provides. Its a very accurate account of a particular way of life , at times funny and at times shocking .Griffiths ability, through the choice of language , allows the reader to understand and empathize with the characters.
A very impressive debut.
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Grits
Grits by Niall Griffiths (Paperback - 1 Feb 2001)
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