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11 Reviews
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Friction
Infused with a humour of the blackest hue, this startlingly original book by a talented young writer crackles with imaginative metaphor and fine observations on modern manners. It's a shocking book, and not one for the narrow-minded. But behind the disturbing presentation of an assorted group of interconnected Mancunian lives, there's a deeper ethical perspective that is...
Published on 19 Oct 2009 by A. Cox

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars OKAY
I didn't love this but I didn't hate it either.

Worth a read I guess.

Will I read it again - probably not.
Published 3 months ago by Grant Hogan Jr


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Friction, 19 Oct 2009
By 
A. Cox (Somerset, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Friction (Paperback)
Infused with a humour of the blackest hue, this startlingly original book by a talented young writer crackles with imaginative metaphor and fine observations on modern manners. It's a shocking book, and not one for the narrow-minded. But behind the disturbing presentation of an assorted group of interconnected Mancunian lives, there's a deeper ethical perspective that is appropriately distanced from the outlandish goings on it wryly describes. More than once, the water went cold whilst I lay immersed in the bath and this extraordinary book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars OKAY, 9 May 2014
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This review is from: Friction (Paperback)
I didn't love this but I didn't hate it either.

Worth a read I guess.

Will I read it again - probably not.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written fresh story. Don't mistake it for porn though., 5 Jun 2008
By 
Mr. Stuart Bruce "DonQuibeats" (Cardiff, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Friction (Paperback)
"Friction" is a novel obsessed with sexual extremism and emotional bankruptcy, doing for sex what "Trainspotting" did for drugs.

The five central characters are all sexually dissatisfied early-twenty-somethings in Manchester, struggling to be satisfied with their lot and looking for 'better sex' in any way they can. This leads us through strip clubs, obsessions and accidents with electrical sex toys and a lot of loveless pain.

Don't buy this book thinking it will be erotic, if anything the horrific brutality should be a real turn-off, and is.

As a story though it's very engaging and thought out, the writing is fresh and pacey, the narrative connections between the main characters are very clever and the epilogue provides an interesting and unexpected twist. It's for those reasons I recommend this book.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern Life, 28 Mar 2008
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This review is from: Friction (Paperback)
A gritty insight into a group of teenagers and young adults lives in the city of Manchester, this novel is pretty intense right from the beginning. Stretch, a student himself, creates a really believeable world- suspending his characters in a bubble of sex, drink and the treadmill of fashion that just won't stop moving.

This book has an edge to it that makes it very original- it is set at a time in the future looking back at the events of the modern world and how they led people to their demise and the introduction of a new, strict state. The narrator has a strong voice throughout which you can engage with very well as he introduces the young people one by one and follows the way their lives inevitably intertwine.

This novel does not hold back- something that may not seem a suprise considering the first line of the blurb is: 'The pornography of everyday life...'. To some it may be shocking or controversial: there are strip clubs, sex machines and sex chat lines dotted throughout, but they ultimately build into a brilliant tale which will keep you gripped and guessing throughout. If you're easily offended then maybe this isn't the one for you, but if you are looking for a cutting-edge, truthful depiction of the horrors and glory that co-exist in the modern world then this could be the one for you.

I recommend it as I like the originality and it has a strong, believeable plot. A very interesting story it may well open your eyes to just what the behaviour the modern day media encourages could lead to in the end...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Life is Rubbish, 17 Nov 2010
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This review is from: Friction (Paperback)
This is a book of extremes lurching from the absurd to the horrific and sometime blending the two. I suspect thats why the reviews are so polarised.

I found it engrossing, disturbing and hilarious, a page turner where I was afraid to turn the page.

If you like your humour dark and bone dry and your books original and scathing then I'd check this out.

If you like your books to be predictable then I wouldn't bother.
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15 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz - coma inducing debut, 18 Jun 2009
This review is from: Friction (Paperback)
This book comes with a nice Houellebecq style-ee black and white cover of a boy and girl, the girl's breasts covered by the title, the 'O' of Friction blocking out a nipple - and this is really as good as this book gets, the bloody graphic design on the cover. Obviously the publishers are trying to aim for the same disaffected youth market as a Houellebecq or even a Copeland, alas Stretch has neither the talent nor the depth to be mentioned within a mile of these two.
Friction is a vacuous black hole of a book filled with page after page of yawn inducing prose, like being trapped at a party and cornered by some angsty twenty-something, endlessly babbling about sexual malaise and oh-so-shocking abortion fetishes. Sorry i've just woken up what were you saying Mr Stretch?
Stretch writes like a sixth form magpie, voraciously 'borrowing' other writer's conceits/themes/styles and passing them off as his own, simply by punching enough keys on a keyboard and reading a few Will Self's does not a writer make. Nor a good novel. Here we get Houellebcq-light treatise on sexuality, we get a bunch of paper-thin Bret Easton Ellis' numb twenty-something types, we get an outright steal from Will Self of labelling a character Boy 1 or Boy 2 - in Self's Cock and Bull case he describes two characters as Dave 1 and Dave 2. We get a Martin Amis 'weary over arching narrator' with none of Amis' wit, eloquence or insight - just bilious twenty-something sneers (wow has America really made us all say 'i'll take a sandwich'? Are we all really cracking up at our own hilarity? Are we all at the mercy of our sex toys? Are we all numb to new experience? Give me a break...) The characters are so paper-thin am surprised they don't fall off Friction's pages, and the narrative drive is so sloppy it feels like a bunch of short pieces glued together.
Mr Stretch obviously has an axe to grind about something though, he complains, through his characters an awful lot. So what doesn't Mr Stretch like, well, he obviously doesn't like capitalism, consumerism, sexual boredom and empty headed lifestyle choices. My god the revelations! The fact that this book has zero insight into any of the above hasn't stopped it from gaining publication and for this fact alone I would say it's an inspiration to young writers - i.e. if this yawn-inducing tirade can get out there then somebody please finish a decent bloody book! If this snooze fest of bedroom angst is deemed publishable then really all you need to do to get your opus published is simply type out enough words.
This book depressed me immensely, depressed me because publishers thought this would be a good read/sell, and that twenty something male and females might think that this is intelligent writing. I am sincerely hoping new British authors with originality, bite and imagination will come up and break new ground, alas Mr Stretch is not one of them and i'll be steering well clear in future. Far better to check upcoming authors Steven Hall or Chris Killen, both have written very promising debuts or some of the old guard - Mcewan, Welsh and Self - than this turgid coma inducing debut.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars writing on beauty, 4 Aug 2008
By 
M. Major (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Friction (Paperback)
Having encouraged most of my friends to read 'Friction' I quickly realized what a great book this is for reinvigorating people's interest in reading. That in itself has to speak volumes for its value. When was the last time you had a book that people formed an actual list to join to read it next?

'Friction' is about the social, political and sexual boredom of a 'now generation' you can read about this in any of its reviews. What makes it rise above it's many contemporaries is the heart-stopping beauty of its writing. This book is not crafted to shock you, it is, in places, fine art that you have the opoortunity to share. I suggest you do.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars an underwhelming read, 1 Jun 2009
By 
T. Kelly (manchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Friction (Paperback)
Friction came across to me basically as a load of twaddle. Its is a very male sex-obsessed view of the world in which the characters are wafer thin. I would disagree that it was well written - no voice came over at all, and though the ending shed a vague bit of light on proceedings, I finished the book more out of duty than engagement. Friction thinks its clever, but basically, the thing is poor
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I dont have the words, 25 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Friction (Paperback)
I am almost completely lost for words to describe how awful this book is (unlike the auther who found lots of awful words to write about nothing. Initialy intirgued I was hoping the juevenile writing would improve so stuck with it, it didn't. Reads as if it has been written (badly) by a hormonal teenage boy out to show there is still something out there to shock the world. The only thing shocking is that it got published at all. I did however decide I would finish the book to make sure i was not judging to quickly. Unfortunately this was like slow painful self harm, not because the content was unpleasent, but because it just did not register on any real emotional level, the 'charachters' have no depth and little consistent or interesting personality. There, looks like I had some words after all. If your looking for a thought provoking, edgy novel then don't bother with this. Possibly the least enjoyable book Ive ever read.A total waste of ink and paper. I will never get those hours back.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a cleverly written tale of thrill seeking gone wrong, 28 Mar 2008
By 
Mr. P. Warwick "paul38063" (england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Friction (Paperback)
This is the first book by joe stretch,who is lead singer in a band called we are performance.
the book centers around a character called justin , who is left a large sum of money after his fathers death, and decides to spend it conducting
his own sex experiment.
all other characters fit in and around this and all eventually cross paths with disastrous results.
in between the main story the author wanders off with his own perception and take on life, and things in general which was a nice touch and theres some real profound observations in even the simplist of things.
there is no doubt that joe stretch is a very wordly and talented individual for someone who is in his early twenties, he will either go on to write a book that will bring great success ,or will he write a set of lyrics so great that people will marvel at it for decades ? you decide.
overall, a good effort im giving it five stars..
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Friction
Friction by Joe Stretch (Paperback - 6 Mar 2008)
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