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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual little novel, 23 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Brainstorm (Hardcover)
I enjoyed the opening chapter and was looking forward to a good read, with the promise of some laughs and a bit of philosophy thrown in. It soon became obvious though that the author's big idea didn't provide enough material for a novel. The idea being: what would happen if you forgot who you were and what you were supposed to be doing?

This is what happens to Lorna, who finds herself at work in the office of a national newspaper where everyone seems to know her but she doesn't know them. She gradually pieces her life back together, and the joke is that nobody notices that she's had this `brainstorm'.

It just so happens that several of the characters studied philosophy before landing jobs on the `brainy' section of this newspaper, so one might at least expect a few philosophical insights into life along with the humour (which soon peters out by the way, along with the story). But no, despite the fact that Hegel is mentioned quite frequently, there are no real philosophical insights to be found here, which is a pity.

I was at least expecting some link between Lorna having to piece together her own idea of herself, to rebuild her consciousness as it were, and Hegel's ideas about knowledge and appearances and how we can be sure that things are as they seem. But obviously this was too big a theme to fit into this story, which promises depth but in the end bobs along the surface. Perhaps her publisher threw the meaty stuff out on the grounds that most readers wouldn't get it. Or perhaps it was never there.

This isn't a bad read, but it isn't a good novel either. It has the feel of something that got published because it's a bit different and because the author was already in with the publishing crowd. I've worked with these kinds of people myself, in an office almost identical to the one described in this book. Perhaps I even knew the author! I think I'd have liked her too.

But next time she writes a novel, my advice would be to think up more of a plot rather than stretching one vaguely philosophical, vaguely humorous idea out beyond its natural length.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts, 19 Aug 2007
G. L. Haggett "glynlhaggett" (UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Brainstorm (Hardcover)
On the one hand, this is an original, incisive and very funny take on the petty jealousies. in-fighting and naked ambition of aspirational office life. Somewhere along the way, however, the author seems to lose her way and to become carried away in a self-conscious awareness of her own wit as the book descends into a half-hearted, opaquely philosophical tract, which sits very uneasily with the admirably light touch of what has gone before. The jibes at the cult of the misery memoir and the sideswipe at the values of 1990s London lose their impact as a consequence.
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The Brainstorm
The Brainstorm by Jenny Turner (Hardcover - 1 Feb 2007)
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