Customer Reviews


7 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
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


24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maalouf, bewitching as always
OK, let me get the irritating self-promoting comment out of the way first - Maalouf is best read in French (heh-heh-heh). If you can't manage that, then translation is a fantastic second-best. Maalouf would probably be best described as a 'natural storyteller' - he gives the impression that prose comes to him wonderfully easily. The words that flow from his pen all seem...
Published on 23 Jun 2004 by Mr. L. F. P. Dubois

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gardens of too much light
Previous reviewers have done the outline of the plot much favour so I'd thought I just get to the meat of this beast. This was my third, and final, Maalouf novel. I've enjoyed his choice of subjects but have found that his sense of literary dynamics is lacking some what. By this I mean that he flagposts upcoming plot points from miles away - or rather, usually at the...
Published on 7 Aug 2012 by Long-Ron


Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gardens of too much light, 7 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Gardens Of Light (Paperback)
Previous reviewers have done the outline of the plot much favour so I'd thought I just get to the meat of this beast. This was my third, and final, Maalouf novel. I've enjoyed his choice of subjects but have found that his sense of literary dynamics is lacking some what. By this I mean that he flagposts upcoming plot points from miles away - or rather, usually at the end of each chapter. It gives a sort of 'Coming next on Oriental History Theatre: big changes in store for our hero including the loss of a new love...'

For me Maalouf doesn't seem particularly interested in the characters - they are devices that history occur around. I felt the journey of Mani would have been a lot more interesting if it hadn't been broken down by dates at the beginning of the book - including, what serves as the ending of the book. The fate of the character is revealed straight off the bat, which, I believe, sums up Maaloof's approach to telling a yarn. Still, all is not lost - I will check out his straight history books sometime soon...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maalouf, bewitching as always, 23 Jun 2004
This review is from: The Gardens Of Light (Paperback)
OK, let me get the irritating self-promoting comment out of the way first - Maalouf is best read in French (heh-heh-heh). If you can't manage that, then translation is a fantastic second-best. Maalouf would probably be best described as a 'natural storyteller' - he gives the impression that prose comes to him wonderfully easily. The words that flow from his pen all seem to fall into the right place; the rhythm of his language is faultless and the colour of his descriptions blinds the reader with the richness of the scenes portrayed. The Middle East comes to life in his books - no longer peopled with incomprehensible Arabs, the area becomes so much more human as the author clearly adores not only a period which he describes with relish as well as love, but also his characters who are blessed with a goodness which restores any cynic's doubt in mankind. His main characters are full of love and hope for those around them; peace comes to them naturally and the serenity they display in his books is imparted to the reader. The philosophy of the The Gardens of Light is so approachable; the 'message' of the book so easy to grasp as to be unimportant in the tapestry of beauty that Maalouf weaves. I don't mean this to sound pretentious; simply put, it's a book that's lovely to read. I give Maalouf's novels to friends (male and female) as presents and they're almost unanimous in their praise. There are so many new novels that try to impress us at every turn that it isn't always easy to choose a modern author who won't disappoint - Maalouf is a pretty safe bet. His language isn't particularly demanding; and this particular novel is short enough for anyone at least to give him a try.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last, a tolerant vision of religion !, 21 Feb 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Gardens Of Light (Paperback)
Amin Maalouf, with its exceptional oriental writer abilities, describes the life and exposes the theory of Mani, theory which had been caricatured as "manicheism". His conceptions are extremely tolerant and intelligent, and it is really enrichening. One of my 10 favorite books
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as depicted, 22 July 2011
By 
F. M. Muse "headspace traveller" (Leicester, Leics United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Gardens Of Light (Paperback)
This is the first book I've read by Amin Maalouf and as noted by another reviewer, he is a natural story teller, irrestibly drawing the reader in as the story unfolds. The book revolves around Mani, a spiritual figure who gave rise to the heresy of Manichaeism, a movement that was a pernicious influence on Christianity and an inspiration for the Cathars and other, more or less gnostic sects. At this point I must make it clear that I am not a Christian, lest anyone think my arguments are specious. The author depicts his subject in a saintly light, a figure motivated by divine revelation. In fact, Mani was a person who rejected the material world in it's entirety and via his writings was a significant influence on St Augustine and hence Christianity. In common with that other great spiritual misanthrope, Paul of Tarsus, it has been argued that Mani, via Augustine managed to largely derail Christianity and distort it's founders message. The fallout from this is a matter of historical record and it's undoubted blight on the proper development of human spirituality pretty much unassailable, quite aside from it's psychopathology, which gave rise to periodic episodes every bit as dark and desperate as that of the Holocaust. To be fair, the author more or less sticks to the historical facts woven into his novel and as such it is quite an achievement as well as a cracking good read. However the book is about a figure that condemned sex, eating meat and dairy products and promoted the usual catalogue of iniquities in the course of elevating spirituality above all other human needs. So the subject is then, not quite as depicted here.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, 6 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Gardens Of Light (Paperback)
I am interested in the changes that took place in the old world, the so-called Gnostic Speculations, which altered our religious and world view. Mani was an unusual and extraordinary element in this "movement" as he single-handed invented a completely new religion, drawing on Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Judaic and Greek traditions, and managed to profligate his ideas throughout great part of the middle east and parts of India. Amin Maalouf has written a moving and beautiful book about this exceptional man.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 23 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Gardens Of Light (Paperback)
A good story, well written, with sparse prose to keep it moving along. A little light on charactrization, but definitely worth reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars great read, 18 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am a fan of Amin Maaloufs work and this is one of his best novels. apart from its tale of the life of Mani the founder of the now largely defunct religion Manicheism, I love the historical context and learning about the Sassanian Empire and its rivalry with Rome.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Gardens Of Light
The Gardens Of Light by Amin Maalouf (Paperback - 4 Sep 1997)
8.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews