Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unequal love and great writing
Narrated from a variety of points of view, "Spring" relates the relationship of James and Katherine. He is an often failed entrepreneurial character who falls for the charms of Katherine, currently working in a London luxury hotel as an interim job, and separated from her photographer-husband. The problem for James is that Katherine is only interested in the pursuit of...
Published on 3 Mar. 2011 by Ripple

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
This novel is good is capturing the textures of relationships and contains some very elegant writing. But there is also a strand of pretentious, English-grad prose, with polyglot references and a knowing sort of literariness. The narrative jumps around in ways that I found disorientating rather than interestingly unpredictable.

The bits about horse racing and...
Published on 29 Nov. 2012 by The Fisher Price King


Most Helpful First | Newest First

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unequal love and great writing, 3 Mar. 2011
By 
Ripple (uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Spring (Hardcover)
Narrated from a variety of points of view, "Spring" relates the relationship of James and Katherine. He is an often failed entrepreneurial character who falls for the charms of Katherine, currently working in a London luxury hotel as an interim job, and separated from her photographer-husband. The problem for James is that Katherine is only interested in the pursuit of that perfect happiness scenario and so analyses her feelings constantly - much to the distress of James. But this is a lot more than a "males don't understand females" tale.

At the risk of a sweeping generalisation, a lot of books will have you believe that relationships either involve love at first sight and, while there might be obstacles along the way, two people will ultimately end up together, or alternatively deal with the aftermath of relationships gone wrong. But life isn't always like that. "Spring" acknowledges that love is often not equal. It can be indecisive and frustrating. It's certainly frustrating for James.

He is a thirty something man who has a tendency to jump into things both feet first. He's generally pretty decisive, though not always successfully as a host of failed business ventures in his life show. He has been successful and then lost it all on a number of occasions and his latest get rich quick scheme involves a horse racing scam. So when he encounters Katherine, a woman recently separated from her husband, at a friend's wedding, things are not going to be smooth. There is an attraction, but he is much more into the relationship than she ever is. Her indecision is frustrating to him and while the reader might get equally frustrated with her and scream "leave it, she's not worth it", it's not that simple for him. More than anything the book is very real. The situation is believable and the dialogue superb.

While it's a book that some will find frustrating, not least due to the frequent switches in time frame which can make keeping track of the plot line like trying to watch a particular sock in a spin dryer, if you just let it sweep over you, the total effect is superb. It is a little kaleidoscopic in approach which is a style that is seemingly quite "in" at the moment. So we get aspects of the story told from a number of points of view and it can be a little difficult trying to keep track. Often these are not critical to the central plot line, which some may find irritating, but they are so well written that I quickly began to welcome them. It's just as well as much of the central plot involves James phoning Katherine and her not answering!

Offsetting this though is the superb writing. Szalay is always aware of light throughout the book and we get frequently superb descriptions of slight variations in light as locations and weather change. While we normally associate Spring with an awakening or re-birth, it equally marks a passing of the old and a word that Szalay uses several times is "evanescence" (it this was an episode of "Sesame Street" this would be the featured word of this book) emphasising the gradual fading away of the past.

Another positive of Szalay`s writing is that, unlike a great many writers, he handles the, always tricky, subject of writing about his characters' sex lives with great aplomb. Even when not much is happening in the plot, the writing is enthralling but not in an overly literary way. Who knew, for example that bursting soap suds in a bath sound exactly like light rainfall? Close your eyes and try it; he's right. Szalay is very good at little details like that.

My biggest concern throughout was for poor Hugo, the St Bernard that James owns in his small London flat. When James often stops over at Katherine`s flat, poor old Hugo gets left to fend for himself and I couldn't help wanting to call the RSPCA and report him for this.

Szalay is certainly a writer to look out for - and to learn how to pronounce (apparently it is "saw-loy") - but thanks to on-line book shopping, you don't need to!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, 29 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Spring (Paperback)
This novel is good is capturing the textures of relationships and contains some very elegant writing. But there is also a strand of pretentious, English-grad prose, with polyglot references and a knowing sort of literariness. The narrative jumps around in ways that I found disorientating rather than interestingly unpredictable.

The bits about horse racing and race fixing are a strength, in being quite unusual and well-informed. However, the central character never really comes to life, and there are certain recurrent images that don't seem to signify anything but become quite irritating when they're repeated - details about doorways, for instance, with a lot about fanlights and the facades of houses, the character of various anonymous and third-rate restaurants, the behaviour of the main character's dog, the sound rain makes ('pittering' is Szalay's word for this).

In sum, a novel that tries a bit self-consciously to be clever and cool and savvy but rarely feels original and leans towards archness.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The most uninspiring characters ever, 19 July 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Spring (Paperback)
I really didn't like this.

Here's why: D. Szalay's 'Spring' is (trying to be) a modern-day love story set in London, the story of has-been James and not-sure-where-she's-going-in-life Katherine. It's (trying to be) realistic, true to life, clever in observing details, unsentimental. It's (trying to be) wry, darkly humorous, and creative in using different perspectives in a dizzying speed. [As far as the different perspectives are concerned--including all sorts of bizarre characters who seem to come out of nowhere and add little to the plot--, I'm less in the camp of them resembling a kaleidoscope as another reviewer suggested and more in the camp of them being a muddled patchwork where the poor reader feels like he/she is watching a quick ping-pong game, not sure where to turn their head, having to shift perspectives every few moments].

While reading 'Spring' I kept wondering a few things:
--what on earth does James see in Katherine? She is surely one of the most uninspiring, flat, bland, unimaginative, uninteresting characters I've ever discovered in a book.
--why do people say this is 'true to life'?! Do people really talk like this? Really?? If so, I feel sorry for them. A typical example:
James: Why won't you kiss me?
Katherine: I just won't.
James: What do you mean you just won't? (repeated twice). I don't understand. What is it?
Katherine: Why don't you ask me some questions?
James: What sort of questions?
Katherine (no answer, a sigh)
James: What? What is it? Tell me.
Katherine: I'm going to get ready for bed.
James: OK. I'll watch you
Katherine: If you want
James: I do.

...ad infinitum! James and Katherine, infuriatingly, keep asking each other things like 'shall we go to such and such pub'? only for the other to respond 'if you want' and then the first one to say 'but do you want to?'. Again: ad infinitum. I couldn't find the dialogue in this book more tedious and infuriating; maybe it's me: but I couldn't see the point of the whole thing. The only bits where the book comes alive are the sex scenes, and it was only then that I could sense a spark between J & K.

Anyway. Enough said. Not recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, funny and original - read it!, 8 Dec. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Spring (Hardcover)
Having been lent Szalay's first novel London and the South East, which i was very impressed with, thought i'd get this book too. It is excellent. I was laughing out loud a good many times and it flew by, I had it finished in a few days. I wouldn't want to read a proper review of any book before I read it to be honest - negatives get magnified and even if they are entirely positive they might sway your own interpretation of it. Besides, nothing I say can really give justice to the excellent writing that this book provides throughout. Don't let the other reviewer put you off, you'll miss out on something special, in my opinion. Will I remember this book for a long time? yes, it felt very fresh and original. Did I want to quote bits of it to anyone who'd listen? Many times, it's one of those books you want to share, pointless though that tends to be out of context. If you've been in the same loving relationship since you were 16, then read this to catch up on the painfully interesting bits you've perhaps missed out on; for the rest of us, having scratched around in a relationship or two at some point, you'll recognise a lot of this book, and you'll laugh and often - if you're anything like me - you'll think, genius. Anyway, decide for yourself by reading it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars narcissists, layabouts, conmen, 2 Sept. 2013
By 
terence dooley (camelford, cornwall United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Spring (Paperback)
I can't believe we're supposed to be interested in James and Katharine, the latter a real piece of work, though work isn't really a concept for these chancers.
There's a mildly amusing Dick Francis caper subplot, but if this book falls into your hands throw it straight at the wall and hope it rebounds into the wpb.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying, 26 Jun. 2014
By 
Amanda Jenkinson "MandyJ" (Cheltenham) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Spring (Kindle Edition)
David Szalay’s 3rd novel is about contemporary life in London amongst a group of people whose obsessions with making money and forging relationships are often undermined by their own failings and uncertainties. James, a former dot-com entrepreneur, falls in love with Katherine, who although separated from her husband cannot quite break away from him and seems unable to commit to another relationship.
Szalay’s style is laconic and his use of short sentences – and often of verb-less sentences – reflect the somewhat superficial lives his characters inhabit. However, this rather distancing style leads the reader to feel distanced from the characters themselves and leads to a curiously flat reading experience. As a result I found I simply didn’t care about any of them, in the same way that they don’t seem to care about anyone or anything else much either. Although this may well be the intention of the writer, and I admit that from a literary point of view the book is well-written, I didn’t really enjoy it,
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story about love and longing: unbearably familiar and strangely comforting, 25 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Spring (Hardcover)
A love story unlike all others, but strangely comforting in it's familiarity and honest simplicity. The characters, unlike most protagonists in a love story, engage in a ballad of emotional and sexual dependency and indifference.

It is a very ordinary story, in which the every-day becomes extraordinary, and where mundane observation, obsession and self-reflection are fascinating. The simplicity of the story, and the very genuine challenges present in any modern, urban romance satisfy more deeply than the promise of a happy ending.

The sensation of dread and disappointment are as genuine and real as the lust, faith and optimism that are expressed between a thoughtful young man, and the wounded woman he falls in love with.

More-so than being enviable, or even particularly likeable, the characters are unbearably real. And their love story unfolds calmly in a painful but vaguely reassuring way.

I would recommend this bold and highly original story to everyone who loves good fiction.
Witty, entertaining, expressive, and thoughtful; it is always a pleasure to read David Szalay.

I am already looking forward to his next novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Spring not sprung, 5 May 2011
This review is from: Spring (Hardcover)
Incredibly pretentious twaddle. Mentioning the light all the time must seem to the author like a masterstroke, a sign of his artistic prowess, but in fact it's wearing- almost as if he's trying too hard to give this trite book some gravitas.It's less of a kaleidoscope than a ragged patchwork quilt with characters seemingly brought in for no apparent reason as if the author had invented them on other occasions and decided to insert them into this boring 'love story' to fill it out/try to keep the reader awake. Don't buy this book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Spring
Spring by David Szalay (Paperback - 1 Mar. 2012)
£7.26
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews