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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, beautiful, buy this book now!
I cannot get this book out of my head. Ewan Morrison is always an exciting writer - I loved Tales from the Mall - but this is in a different league to his previous work. He manages to render the inner life of a woman with a newborn baby, with all the tenderness, fear and love that entails, so delicately and accurately that it is hard to believe it isn't written by a...
Published on 16 Aug. 2012 by Gabrielle

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to like here, please move along
I struggled with this book and would have abandoned it very early if it were not my book club choice. It did not improve. I generally don't mind men writing female characters or vice versa but Morrison overreaches himself with the difficult character of Rowan and it is not convincing, just miserable. I really hope I never read another novel by a man featuring a...
Published 12 months ago by Notmuchtimetoread


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to like here, please move along, 4 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Close Your Eyes (Kindle Edition)
I struggled with this book and would have abandoned it very early if it were not my book club choice. It did not improve. I generally don't mind men writing female characters or vice versa but Morrison overreaches himself with the difficult character of Rowan and it is not convincing, just miserable. I really hope I never read another novel by a man featuring a description of lactating woman suffering from PND milking herself into a dirty petrol station toilet bowl. God!
The analysis of communal hippy living brought no new insights - it sounded as horrible as I thought it would be and all that we're involved came to a terrible end. None of the characters is likeable in any way - seriously, not one of them.
It is a unrelenting, un illuminating, unconvincing dirge of a novel. I didn't smile once reading it and I will never get that 6 hours back that I spent reading it. I recommend you invest your time more wisely.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, beautiful, buy this book now!, 16 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Close Your Eyes (Hardcover)
I cannot get this book out of my head. Ewan Morrison is always an exciting writer - I loved Tales from the Mall - but this is in a different league to his previous work. He manages to render the inner life of a woman with a newborn baby, with all the tenderness, fear and love that entails, so delicately and accurately that it is hard to believe it isn't written by a woman, while at the same time putting the intensely personal story into a wider social and political context to raise questions about the very nature of family. Rowan's troubled mental state is brilliantly portrayed in passages written in the second person, as though she were observing herself from afar, while her vivid memories of her own childhood are written in the first person, like perfect snapshots gazed on for years without being able to truly make sense of them. Her quest to do that, to find her own mother and lay the past to rest, keeps you turning the pages, and even though some of it is utterly harrowing - especially her memories of being a hippy child violently bullied at school - it is never depressing, sometimes savagely funny, always hopeful, and ultimately redemptive. A truly uplifting, brave, beautiful, loving book. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time, 21 Feb. 2014
By 
Stimpy (leeds, yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Close Your Eyes (Paperback)
Utter garbage. Goes nowhere, very slowly. Difficult to follow due to the jumping time frames and the story, I use the word loosely, never gets off the ground. Terrible.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I loved reading this book and have found that it has ..., 19 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Close Your Eyes (Paperback)
A man writing about motherhood is exciting. I loved reading this book and have found that it has left its stain on me. It's intensity is relentless . A mother searching for a mother . It is a very emotional story and it reminded me of Margaret Drabble's The Millstone, which I love.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious and boring, 1 Sept. 2012
By 
MisterHobgoblin (Melbourne) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Close Your Eyes (Hardcover)
It's better than Paulo Coelho, but not by much. The writing is pretentious and self conscious - I was never able to believe fully in the voice as being female. As for trying to write in the second person - it is something that even the best writers struggle with. And Ewan Morrison is certainly not one of the best writers. It just feels like a gimmick. As do the choppy paragraphs, fragments, lines set on their own, etc. Morrison so desperately wants to be innovative but it comes across as pretentious and immature. But most of all, it suffers from the cardinal sin of novels that try too hard: it is boring.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A writer at the top of his game, 13 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Close Your Eyes (Paperback)
What a fabulous read this is. I can't recommend it highly enough, but if you don't believe me, then maybe you'll take the recommendation of the judges who awarded it the Scottish book of the year award (fiction) for 2013. ([...] ). Three voices give us the story. Each voice is the same person. In the first person, she (Rowan) tells the story her childhood growing up in a new age commune in the North of Scotland in the 1970s. In the second person, she is addressed in the present tense as a mother struggling to cope with the emotional demands of motherhood. In the third person, she tells various versions of her own mother's mysterious disappearance when she was 11. A mother disappears and leaves her child an orphan; the child has become a mother; the new mother fails her child; the new mother goes back to her life as a child to find her own mother. This may not sound very interesting in my less than sparky summary, but believe me, the tension is there from the start. I picked the book up late in the afternoon, and only put it down after midnight when it was finished. Page after page shoots by, as Rowan careers further and further into a depression that can only be lifted by discovering the suppressed secrets of her childhood. The reader is brought right up close to, in fact inside the head of, a woman on the verge as she runs away from her comfortable Islington life, her baby, her well balanced husband and seeks the truth of her past in a journey of exploration, back to the commune of her youth. There are some lighter moments, particularly as the encounter group in the contemporary commune go through their bonding workshops and salivate at the prospect of meeting the 70s new age guru, Eva, who is now the mother superior of the commune, and was Rowan's mother's nemesis. For those of us alive in those years, memories are stirred - an interesting name-check through the music and the causes of the naïve social left, part individualistic self-indulgence, part romantic protest against the impersonal forces of the post-modern world ahead. Throughout, Rowan struggles to open her eyes to who she is and what she is for. Ewan Morrison clearly is in command of the writer's craft. His style is at times pacy but necessary, spare but detailed. A compelling emotional intensity is generated through Rowan's sustained minute by minute internal monologues. The reader, washed out by the end, will emerge with more insight and more questions than before, and just a little bit of hope that Rowan's future will be better, that all our futures will be better.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, original story, beautifully told, 7 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Close Your Eyes (Paperback)
I just started this book last night and finished it this morning - and it only took me that long because I had to get some sleep. This is a fantastic book. There is a lot to say about it but I don't want to give away the story - the blurb on the back is, for once, quite good in that it is intriguing, relevant to the book (which is more unusual than it ought to be), without giving away the whole story. But I will say that Ewan Morrison nails something in his writing that I just love - he describes very subtle, complicated emotional situations in a way that expresses the full force of their impact without being blunt or heavy-handed. You are right there, and it can be frightening - and wonderful - how real it seems. I'm thinking specifically of the scenes at Ithaca, and the descriptions of the guests there, and also in the thoughts and perceptions of the main character, Rowan. And what a wonderful character. Morrison represents people so well, and is just brilliant at showing how multi-layered we all can be.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, insightful, haunting, 6 Sept. 2012
By 
M. Harrison - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Close Your Eyes (Hardcover)
I love it when Amazon reviewers say something 'isn't their thing' and then review it anyway. I might go and review a load of football books in that spirit! I know nothing at all about football and I don't like it either. But hey, everyone's got an opinion.

Anyway: this is a cracking book. For one thing, it's possibly the most convincing female lead character I think I've ever read by a male author. Female writers inhabit male characters ALL THE TIME, but so few male authors do the same; female characters, for them, are often there for their male characters to interact with in some way. So hats off to Morrison for even trying, let alone succeeding so well.

The stuff about the commune is great - I worked in self-help publishing for some years, which left me with a VAST distrust of the entire industry, and his material about Mind, Body & Spirit devotees rang very true. But for me the most impressive parts were those that illustrated the inner battle between the rational mind (nice husband, nice house, happy marriage etc) and the feelings that we all carry around and acknowledge to varying degrees, and which often undermine or contradict what we think we should do or what we think we want. How much should they be quashed, in case they render life unliveable, and how much should they be given credence, in case what they are saying is true?

I loved Close Your Eyes, and had no problems at all with the second-person style and jump-cut inner monologues. In fact, they felt very true to my experience of life.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This Book!, 29 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Close Your Eyes (Kindle Edition)
This book is right up there with my all-time favourites (which would include A Scots Quair, The Book Thief and Emma Donoghue's Room). It is breathtakingly well-written, with stunning insight, fascinating content and an irresistible plotline. I have no hesitation in recommending it to all!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious and Intriguing, 1 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Close Your Eyes (Hardcover)
Close Your Eyes, if it is not a reissue, is a second book in one year from Ewan Morrison. This is a beguiling story, Morrison attempts several competing voices to expose the hypocrisy and factions within communal hippie lifestyles. Occasionally difficult to follow in the narrative, this is none the less an interesting attempt to illuminate a secretive world and a hidden subculture, which Morrison did to much greater effect in Tales From The Mall.
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Close Your Eyes
Close Your Eyes by Ewan Morrison (Hardcover - 2 Aug. 2012)
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