Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eden down under.
If you know anyone travelling to Australasia this book is the perfect present. It has pace and chuckles galore whilst being historically very informative. Not good for bedtime reading as you will find it very difficult to put the book down but it is excellent for airport lounges and long-haul. You will certainly quote material from it to amuse your friends. I have made...
Published on 30 Dec. 2009 by F. H. Spoun

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I thought th book was very well researched, and I initially enjoyed the plot and the characters, nearer the end I thought it dragged on a lot, and I eventually became a bit bored.
Published 23 months ago by Disappointed reader


Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eden down under., 30 Dec. 2009
By 
F. H. Spoun (BURY ST EDMUNDS) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: English Passengers (Penguin Celebrations) (Paperback)
If you know anyone travelling to Australasia this book is the perfect present. It has pace and chuckles galore whilst being historically very informative. Not good for bedtime reading as you will find it very difficult to put the book down but it is excellent for airport lounges and long-haul. You will certainly quote material from it to amuse your friends. I have made a present of English Passengers to many discriminating friends.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking for something intelligent to read?, 26 Jun. 2007
This review is from: English Passengers (Paperback)
This isn't a review; it's a recommendation. Brilliant book. A much-deserved winner of the Whitbread prize. It came onto my desk to promote, among many others (I was a bookseller) some years ago and it really stood out: if you want a really substantial, unusual and intelligent book to read this summer, try it.
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Too Damn Good, 13 Dec. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: English Passengers (Hardcover)
The First thing you notice about this book is the interesting narrative. It is written in the first person with the narrator changing from chapter to chapter. The same "main" charachters pop up as regular narrators, but overall the story is a rich patchwork of about 20 or more different story tellers each with their own unique view. This approach could so easily have been a gimick, but the author uses it to stunning effect. Reading about simple events such as two men fighting over a mule from the wholly biased viewpoint of one of them, can bring tears of laughter to the eye. What is more, unlike so many books written in the first person you are not ecouraged to sympathize or even like many of the charachters whose viewpoint you are reading. In fact, hearing someone rationalise their own terrible actions can be a remarkably strong way to evoke disslike for a charachter, much more so than if you are told of these actions from a removed viewpoint. But nevermind all that "What about the story" I hear you cry. Well it's just wonderfull, rich and diverse, educating and emotional. In a way that you just dont seem to get in modern novells, In fact I found myself flicking to the front to check the publishing date. This is a truly epic tale that takes you literally from one side of the world to the other, and covers (in the case of one charachter) a lifetime. Yet what seems like a jumble of charachters and stories spread out over time and distance is somehow bound together with perfection. The one piece of advice i have for you (apart from "buy this book") is do not be put off by the title or the cover. I nearly left this book on the shelf because the cover image made me think of dodgy period drama's with Colin Firth prancing around in knickerbockers. I was totally wrong, and neally missed out on a rollicking good read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Epistolary Novel Ever?, 27 Jun. 2004
By 
Bruce Kendall "BEK" (Southern Pines, NC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: English Passengers (Paperback)
The once popular genre, associated with Richardson, Laclos, Scott, Fielding, Sterne and Austen has pretty much fallen out of fashion. Kneale revives it brilliantly here. He employs 19 seperate narrators to tell this tale of exploitation, genocide, greed, adventure and misadventure. In the hands of a lesser artist, such a crazy quilt arrangement would lead to chaos. Kneale manages the seperate voices like a master marionette artist. Each character rings true, even the most eccentric. Each scene, even the most fantastic, remains true to the logic of the book as a whole. No small accomplishment, indeed.
The narrative focuses primarily on the arrival of Europeans (primarily English settlers) to the island of Tasmania and to the expansion of their "civilization" in the middle of the 19th century. In order for this civilization to thrive and expand, the aboriginal population had to go. They just didn't fit in. Several of them, including one of the narrator's (Peavy's)mother, were downright intractable. Conflict ensues. Though the aboriginal peoples come out on the short end of the stick, one half-caste does enact some good old fashioned revenge towards the end of the tale.
The other main thread deals with a scientific exhibition led by a minister (Wilson) in search of The Garden of Eden, and a doctor (Potter) interested in collecting human samples of various peoples in the hope of advancing his theory of a natural order of races, just as Darwin had advanced his theory of the order of species. A third English passenger, a young geologist named Renshaw, doesn't figure as prominently in the plot as the aforementioned, but does provide some clear-headed satirical insight into the goings on.
The funniest and most sympathetic character, apart from the Aboriginal narrators, is Illium Quillian Kewely, an old salty smuggler from the Isle of Man, Captain and proud owner of the uniquely designed sailing vessel "The Sincerity." He, Peavy, and Renshaw provide the only reliable main narratives. He's also one of the most colorful and memorable characters in recent fiction. He and his Manx-speaking crew are involved in an entirely different mission than that of the passengers. The manner in which Keale juggles the intertwining plots is another example of his artistry.
The villains are true rotters. The Reverend Geoffrey Wilson is full of conceit and self delusion. His sole preoccupation is with securing fame and fortune by proving his hair-brained notion that Tasmania is the actual location of the Tigris and Euphrates mentioned in Genesis. His stubborn pig-headedness will have dire consequences for the expedition. The manner in which Kneale eventually deals with him is brilliant.
Wilson's mortal enemy is Dr. Thomas Potter. Potter is based in part on Jean-Louis Agassiz, whose evolutionary theories involved a break-down of races into various categories, the dark races occupying the bottom rung. Such categorizing had obvious ramifications on much of the history and conflict of the 20th century. The fact that Potter's top rung of the evolutionary ladder is occupied by "the Saxon Type" is meant as an historical harbinger.
The only enjoyable thing about either of these characters is that they hate each other so vividly. Their animosity sustains many of the humorous episodes of the novel, until it turns more serious towards the end. Potter's fate is another piece of grand invention on Keale's part.
If you're in the mood for a big, grand read, by a novelist at the top of his game, look no further. This one definitely moves to the top of my chart for novels read in 2004. It's thoroughly enjoyable, absorbing literature of the first rank.
BEK
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 29 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: English Passengers (Penguin Celebrations) (Paperback)
I thought th book was very well researched, and I initially enjoyed the plot and the characters, nearer the end I thought it dragged on a lot, and I eventually became a bit bored.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 Aug. 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: English Passengers (Penguin Celebrations) (Paperback)
A weird and wonderful read....loved the various characters, even the ones you love to hate. Don't miss it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 13 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: English Passengers (Hardcover)
Excellent read - great seller
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 14 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: English Passengers (Paperback)
ok
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 24 Oct. 2011
By 
This review is from: English Passengers (Hardcover)
Not what i was expecting. Thought it would be a factual account of life in Tasmania. Instead it is fictional. My fault for not checking out the cover.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

English Passengers (Penguin Celebrations)
English Passengers (Penguin Celebrations) by Matthew Kneale (Paperback - 6 Sept. 2007)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews