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  • Maya
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3.5 out of 5 stars
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3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 1 February 2010
This is a book to start on a weekend morning curled up in bed and stay there until you've finished. It is a story of obsessive love written with the voice of the ordinary man, set mainly in contemporary London. None of the characters are particularly attractive, not Steve the narrator and his rather boring wife, nor Maya, most famous/beautiful film star in the world and object of his obsession, or any of her entourage. But there is something strangely compelling about this story of our modern media/24 hour news/celebrity driven world. Something Campbell of course knows a lot about. It would of course be a far less interesting book if it were not written by him. You can't help looking for the clues he leaves or teases us with or try and break the coded messages. How much of this is re-packaged fact from his Blair years? Is it a parable for his relationship with Blair? And if not who is Maya? And although there is little respite from the cynical, manipulative world of fame, I felt at the end Campbell had let go of something even though he might not have found what he was looking for. So get tucked up and enjoy.
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on 7 February 2011
Wow! I enjoyed Alastair's debut novel "All in the mind" but Maya was just fantastic. I couldn't put the book down. Maya has many twists, turns and unexpected events and had my heart beating so fast in places I wanted to scream! This author has a real skill, not only in inventing such credible storylines but for writing in an easy, comfortable way that grips the reader no end. I was supposed to be recovering with rest after an operation, however, over the few days in which I read it, I didn't sleep much (learning from the storyline - must be careful what I say here, don't want the paparazzi to get hold of the fact that a dowdy housewife has been up all night with Alastair Campbell!). Can't wait for Alastair's next novel, well done, what a clever man.
Finally, to all those readers who have given this book a one, two or three star grading - I can't wait for your next novel either!!
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on 11 May 2010
This book took me by complete surprise. Few writers know the frenzied world of 24-hour news better than Campbell and his book sheds harsh light on our unhealthy celebrity culture and the obsessive interest in people's personal lives that it encourages.
The story revolves around an ordinary slightly boring logistics operative whose unlikely friendship with a major global celebrity dates back to their school days. As the plot develops, we see this dull and colourless man - through deceit, obsession and ultimately betrayal - become the master of his own well-deserved destruction.
This is a page-turning suspense filled thriller that slowly dragged me into its twisted sinister plot and left me reeling and wanting more.
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on 7 June 2015
Okay. It is compulsive reading, but I found it incredibly frustrating. You need to get to the end to find out what happens but when you do it is entirely disappointing. Steve is the most self deluded character I have ever encountered in a book. Is he supposed to be? Is it ironic that in writing Maya he reveals all the secrets that will destroy Maya, and her reputation, rather than redeem himself? Is that the whole point and Alastair Campbell is in fact being completely ingenious rather than writing a novel you can read at face value? Is it allegory? Am I giving too much credit just because I am completely intrigued by alastair Campbell and am curious about what goes on in his head? It is either a novel to be studied, debated and analysed or to read and dismiss as not that good and rather frustrating. I do not know which.....
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on 23 July 2012
Having given up on my last two book downloads, and having read Alastair's excellent 'All in the mind' novel, I thought I would try 'Maya', his latest offering. Alastair writes very well (his style reminds me of Jeffrey Archer in many ways, although maybe that is just the political link). 'Maya' is a really easy read, ideal for chilling out on the beach. Alastair Campbell will always get mixed reviews, but much of that is because of his political background and really nothing to do with his skills as an author I suspect. Keep em coming Alastair.
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VINE VOICEon 5 April 2010
I had few expectations for this novel when I started it, but the pace of the writing and the sheer momentum of its story telling won me over: Campbell knows how to tell a tale and retain the attention of his readers. The dangers of becoming a celebrity are well portrayed: the relentless pursuit by press photographers, the door-stepping of their friends and families, media manipulation, the manufacture of rumours in tabloids, and frequent invasions of their privacy.

However, the impression which remains is that the book is not about Maya, it is about Steve and his fatal obsession with her, and the build-up of grievous errors of judgements he makes in his efforts to protect her. In his portrayal of Steve, Campbell creates a fascinating and deeply flawed personality with whom one rapidly loses sympathy. And in doing so, the author has turned the two women in Steve's life into less than credible individuals. His wife, Vanessa, whose pregnancy test opens the novel, is simply too good to be true - would an attractive, and highly capable woman tolerate the way her husband fawns after Maya like a star-struck teenager? And would Maya, a woman whom we are told is very grounded in real life and has not been affected by the blandishments and flatteries of celebrity really have taken up with a truly awful person like chat show Dave?

Therein lies the basic weakness of the novel. The author has provided a morality tale, not about the perils of celebrity as such, but about the ways it can affect ordinary people who develop an unhealthy obsession instead of getting on with their lives. It provides a good measure of satisfaction to the reader who follows the relentless sequence of events that unfold as Steve makes one foolish error after another, regardless of consequences to others. But in doing so, Campbell has turned several of the characters affected by Steve's action into figures that at times verge on the stereotype, and thus not wholly credible.

To conclude, a moral story with an unambiguous message, entertaining and a good read, but marred by some unlikely characterisation. I debated between two and three stars, and it was those considerations that led to three stars.
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on 2 May 2014
Quite fascinating seeing how easily people see only what they want to see and the lengths they'll go to to make it fit and in this case become obsessed. Alastair Campbell definitely gets to the inside of people.
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on 8 February 2010
I bought Maya on Friday and finished reading the book on Sunday. What a fabulous weekend!! Alastair Campbell has captured all the fantasy and unreality surrounding the world of fame and success. It's not the real world. A world full of greed and self promotion with little bearing on reality. Steve the narrators obsessional behaviour is common in daily life, much more pronounced and advocated in the world of celebrity and the media and perhaps ignored, accepted, taken as normal behavior in the average day to day dealings of those of us that live in what most people consider normal or as close to it as you can get. I couldn't put this book down. Alastair has written it as it is. A manipulative and self orientated scenario, with no caring or thought for the consequences of ones actions on another. I liked this book so much I can't wait to read it again. I highly recommend it. Snuggle down on the sofa, take your shoes off and indulge yourself. Pure talent.
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on 2 February 2010
I came to this - gifted a review copy - quite sure it wouldn't be for me. Well, hands up, wrong. Its a slow start, building a picture of a loser type bloke entranced with a film star, a bit awestruck with her home, her beauty, her all-round unavailability, but carrying a torch which would make the Statue of Liberty look a bit meagre.

But it gets you. It just does. The narrator (Steve) has got a case of hero-worship which gets out of hand. I didn't see that to start with. Maya is a bit too good to be true, but then her perfect marriage turns out to be far from, and it gets complicated. Is this Steve's way in? If it is, he plays every card wrong from that moment in.

I won't spoil the progress of the plot for future readers. Save to say, it'll surprise you, and in a good way. It's well written, a page turner, a mix of suspense and deception, and an ending you won't have seen coming.
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on 28 September 2013
I was very disappointed this novel. I had read 'All In The Mind', and thought it was great, and I was really looking forward to his next novel, feeling that he could be the next Jeffrey Archer. However, I felt that the novel lacked pace, and the characters were pitifully weak, and their actions totally preposterous. The narrator Steve Watkins behaved with the naiveté of a three year old in believing what he was doing was right, was he meant to come across as mentally deranged. Although I did complete the book I did keep asking myself why. I did not see any review notices for the book does this mean anything!!. I think that Alistair Campbell has great potential as a light novel writer, but I hope he ups his game with his next offering.
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