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4.5 out of 5 stars
Sacred Hunger
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on 20 May 2015
I am rereading this after a couple of years. It has lost none of its intensity or impact. Rather like Manon Lescaut (Abbe Prevost) or Die Wahlverwandschaften (Goethe), he has chosen to write in a rather dry 18th century style to describe horrific events and passionate feelings. It is a real tour de force. The narrative is tight and the contrast between the two protagonists, Paris and Erasmus Kemp, so fraught.
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on 19 February 2014
Very good book with echoes of other stories in it. Can't believe the Englsih Patient won the Booker that year - that was awful. Characters excellently delineated, great plot. Loved it. Can't wait the read sequel.
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on 16 October 2013
This Novel does not pander to Romance and Trivia.Each and every character is vividly described exposing their strengths and weakness. Harrowing compeilling ,not for the faint hearted a novel you will remember.
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on 3 August 2015
I found the characters in this book a little difficult to follow as it moves from one story to another. However it provides powerful insights into the social times of the book and human nature.
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on 4 February 2015
Really moving history with a great family saga woven in.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2011
I read this book within days of its publication.

Then, stupidly, I did the ONE thing I have always vowed not to do.
Lent my personal copy!!

BUT, I lent it to a dear friend.
And the man expressed his great excitement as he read it.
However, one sad day, my dear friend, suddenly after a bad fall, passed away.
The book, my copy, passed away with him.

I found a used one in a charity shop, and will NEVER lend it...
BUT, another dear friend , in conversation told me she heard what a fine piece of writing it was...
And so I bought for her, a pristine copy of her own..from Amazonnnn!

You see what you've done ?
You succeeded in making 3 people happy.

Unsworth has a gift, of what I call,"silence" in his method of writing.
Silence is a very special instrument of communicating..
and I remember my Father telling me, as I was growing up..
" If you can't say anything more important than silence, say nothing !"

This book holds a lot of 'life' within its covers. I recommend it highly.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 August 2012
This historical novel depicts the slave trade in all its horror contrasting it with the elegant life of contemporary English families. I confess to finding the latter rather like Jane Austen and not really captivating. But the slaving is well described. There is none of the folly of Roots where slavers capture Africans. Here it is properly described as the first leg of the Triangular Trade with slaves bartered for English manufactured goods. I confess I was unaware that merchant seamen were press ganged. They were treated little better than the slaves. The only virtue of the brutal Captain Thurso was that he prohibited rape of or fornication with female slaves. The murderous captain is himself murdered in a mutiny. Slaves are enlisted to help the mutineers beach the ship in Florida where slavers and slaves settle together peaceably interbreeding in their own little colony, even sharing the females. This I found unrealistic and utopian. Other reviewers say the author does not moralise about the trade. He does not have to. He merely portrays it as the result of Sacred Hunger, the love of money. His little settlement with them all conversing in pidgin English I found utopian and not easy to read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2013
This is a great story, based in the history around the 18th century. Fascinating period in history. Story is all around themes of slavery, power and lack of power and commerce, social and gendered conventions and attitudes of the time. The book takes a little while to get going, but from half way through I couldn't put it down.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2012
I wanted to reread this book because I had just finished Unwin's latest, 'The Quality of Mercy'. I enjoyed and admired 'Sacred Hunger' when it came out, but reading the two books now impressed me even more. Golding's 'Rites of Passage' is brilliant but these Unwins really are as good as, if not better, in some ways. Superb.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2013
This is a brilliant sequel to Barry Unsworth's earlier novel. Brilliantly writing and story telling. Highly recommended to everyone who likes a good read.
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