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6 Reviews
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best kept secret in British literature?
First off, let me say that I am a huge Alexei Sayle fan, have been for years, and I would urge you to buy this book whatever I may say about it - 'Overtaken' makes for a wonderful read.
The narrative is beautifully put together, dark and at times hysterically funny and the story takes a number of Sayles trademark twists and turns so that you never fully know what's...
Published on 6 Oct 2003 by R. Grant

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overrated
I used to thoroughly enjoy watching Alexei Sayle, and it was my memory of his intelligent humour that made me buy this book, thinking that it would probably translate well to paper. And it sort of does. This is dark humour, but although in places it seemed well handled, there was an inevitability about the progress of the storyline that just turned me off.
There is a...
Published on 15 Jun 2004 by R. W. Mackenzie


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best kept secret in British literature?, 6 Oct 2003
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This review is from: Overtaken (Hardcover)
First off, let me say that I am a huge Alexei Sayle fan, have been for years, and I would urge you to buy this book whatever I may say about it - 'Overtaken' makes for a wonderful read.
The narrative is beautifully put together, dark and at times hysterically funny and the story takes a number of Sayles trademark twists and turns so that you never fully know what's going to happen next, right up to the final reveal. The commentary on 21st century living is wonderfully observed, if sometimes a tad predictable, but the little details in the characters make even those with the briefest of appearances well rounded and believable.
If you haven't yet sampled Alexei Sayle, the writer as opposed to Alexei Sayle, the comedian, you might want to start out with the short stories of 'Barcelona Plates' or 'The Dog Catcher' to get a flavour for his style, but if you have, rest assured 'Overtaken' gives you intellect, wit, satire and out-loud laughs in equal measure as he continues to go from strength to strength. The best kept secret in British literature? Not for much longer, surely.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly wonderful, 21 Jan 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Overtaken (Paperback)
I bought this because I found Alexei Sayle's work entertaining, but I wasn't expecting it to be anywhere near as rewarding as it is. I was so impressed I lent it around to friends and it received universal praise. It's far more sophisticated and thought-provoking than one would expect from Alxei Sayle's other material. I can only ascribe the poor reviews I read on this page to fans who thought he'd give them mindless left-wing ranting and didn't like being forced to think through far more complex and challenging ideas. This is an entertaining, thought-provoking, and surprising story of blame and redemption, with well-drawn characters whose unexpected complexities give the story much of its momentum. Its one downside is the end - with lots of complex strands to be drawn together, Sayle suddenly lurches into an abrupt and unconvincing resolution that mars what would otherwise be a truly remarkable first novel. Nevertheless, I'd thoroughly recommend it - it was an unexpected delight.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Woof woof, 25 Dec 2003
By 
K. P. Quinn "KQ" (Hersham) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Overtaken (Hardcover)
Sayle knows how to string a story together. The narrative is littered with jokes and Liverpool references and I wonder if Sayle should not be appointed the city's own and first poet laureate. It's a rollicking good read and a great introduction to the writer and the place.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best but enjoyable, 22 Jun 2004
This review is from: Overtaken (Hardcover)
I have read his short story books which were much better than this novel. The dark humour tending towards sickness was a plaything for him in the short stories but here it seems he doesn't want nasty stuff to happen to his charactors, and when he does it isn't as nasty as in the past. It is a clever book with a good story, well thought out and a good read but you can tell this is the book his contact obliged him to write.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overrated, 15 Jun 2004
This review is from: Overtaken (Paperback)
I used to thoroughly enjoy watching Alexei Sayle, and it was my memory of his intelligent humour that made me buy this book, thinking that it would probably translate well to paper. And it sort of does. This is dark humour, but although in places it seemed well handled, there was an inevitability about the progress of the storyline that just turned me off.
There is a cast of entertaining misfits who Kelvin (the central character that you cannot help imagine as Alexei Sayle himself) meets along the way, but they lack the sort of subtlety that would make the book more enjoyable by making the reader do some of the work. In places there's a forced gag, the situation contrived just so a character can make that witty observation, as if Sayle wasn't confident enough in his own writing style and story to avoid a couple of outright gags. Sadly the main enjoyment I took from the book were these observations and gags; so maybe he was right.
The book is mercifully short, and although I read through it smiling at the occasional observation, I must say it fell short of my expectations having witnessed the wit of Sayle in stand-up.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not great, 18 Aug 2004
This review is from: Overtaken (Paperback)
I bought this having read his previous two books of short stories. I really liked the first book, and really wanted to like the second one but if I'm honest even then I thought he was running out of steam a bit.
so this novel doesn't really do much for me. his style is the same as with his previous writing but he can't really pull it off over a whole novel. it's nice and offbeat but there is less humour and I didn't find myself enjoying hating the characters in the way he is usually do good at getting you to do.
I still think he has real talent, and I've really enjoyed some of his stuff but this is spread too thin. I reckon he should write less often and wait until he really knows what he wants to say before doing so. I bet the results would be a lot better.
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Overtaken
Overtaken by Alexei Sayle (Paperback - 26 April 2004)
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