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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderland indeed
This was BRILLIANT. I'd be happy to be proved wrong, but I am prepared to say now that it's my book of 2010 - I can't imagine that I'm going to come across anything as unique, inspiring and downright excellent in the next few months.

The story begins with Gabriel Brockwell - dreamer, quasi-misanthrope, unfulfilled artist, paradoxically both a pursuer of...
Published on 15 Sep 2010 by Veronica Marwood

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars moments of genius, but inconsistent
Like thousands of other readers, I thought Vernon God Little was a fantastic book. I never bothered with his second as it sounded like the archetypal "difficult second novel", but was excited to hear about Lights Out and full of anticipation. I didn't take to the opening, which put me in mind of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (a much better book overall), but once our...
Published on 11 Jan 2011 by Neil Russell-Bates


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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderland indeed, 15 Sep 2010
This was BRILLIANT. I'd be happy to be proved wrong, but I am prepared to say now that it's my book of 2010 - I can't imagine that I'm going to come across anything as unique, inspiring and downright excellent in the next few months.

The story begins with Gabriel Brockwell - dreamer, quasi-misanthrope, unfulfilled artist, paradoxically both a pursuer of ultimate decadence and an anti-capitalist - deciding to kill himself... but not quite immediately. The next 300 pages tell the fantastical tale of Gabriel's self-imposed final days, taking in three capital cities, an incerdible cast of oddball characters, an excessive, orgiastic banquet beneath an abandoned airport, and the most bizarre and grotesque menu you've ever seen.

The narrative is wonderful, constantly experimenting with language and packed with unexpected words, succinct yet vivid descriptions, and too many remarkable truisms about human relationships, behaviour/hopes/fears/dreams, and the power of market forces than I could possibly list. The prose is experimental and colourful, yet there are perfectly formed quotes and soundbites on every page. Gabriel's voice is sublime - self-obsessed, negative and hypocritical, but funny, cynical, intelligent and brilliantly debauched as well as sweetly naive and naively charming. He's a literary Withnail, an elegantly wasted raconteur - I fell in love with the character and his flights of fancy, philosophical musings and never-ending brushes with good and bad luck.

DBC Pierre won the Booker Prize in 2003 with Vernon God Little, which is certainly very good, and shares in common with this book a strong first-person narrative voice and playful, intricate, inventive prose; but in my opinion, Lights Out in Wonderland is better. I loved the characters, loved the narrative, loved the story. This is an extraordinary novel. READ IT.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars moments of genius, but inconsistent, 11 Jan 2011
By 
Neil Russell-Bates (Bath) - See all my reviews
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Like thousands of other readers, I thought Vernon God Little was a fantastic book. I never bothered with his second as it sounded like the archetypal "difficult second novel", but was excited to hear about Lights Out and full of anticipation. I didn't take to the opening, which put me in mind of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (a much better book overall), but once our narrator left these shores for Tokyo I was taken in and for the most part I enjoyed the ride.

Some of DBC Pierre's insights are brilliant, if sometimes a little out of place. The trip round Ikea should ring a bell with anoyone who has had to endure that particular shopping experience, but receieved a peculiarly large amount of coverage. However, one of my favourite passages, where the world economy is likened to a space rocket where a fortunate few are in the tiny cockpit being propelled to Stratospehric heights while the rest of us merely make up the huge fuel pods and are jettisoned along the way, is such a brilliant analogy to my mind that I have quoted it several times to friends since.

I also thought the choice of the Templehof airport as the location for much of the book was inspired, but sadly the climatic orgiastic banquet stretched my imagination just too far and I couldn't be bothered to read the recipes beyond reading what the bizarre key ingredients were.

In summary, for me the middle two thirds of this book are very good, but the beginning and end, so important for those key impressions, let it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars if you like prose you will love this, 28 Dec 2012
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i love this book

the style and imagery crated in every page is fabulous. at times the words just drip off the pages. (that may sound wrong but I am just trying to describe a great book)

if i had to guess the author, he would be an intelligent version of Dillon Moran (Black Books store owner) and probably written with the help of 20,000 cigarettes, volumes of alcohol and possibly pain killers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will miss your bus stop, 24 Nov 2012
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An absolutely stunning book. It manages to flawlessly mirror the time in which we
live, but also say things that will not age. It's got beautiful passages that had me
folding pages over to come back to them. The imagery had me window shopping for
aeroplane tickets to every place described. There are beautiful little stories thrown in
with the narrative that you'll be telling your friends about after you've read them. For
example the master winemakers who are so dedicated to their craft that they never
leave the vineyard, and encourage young lovers to copulate amongst the vines. Or
the nightclubs in East Berlin that gave out entry tokens when the wall came down
which are still be used today.

The novel is about a society reaching its apex, and the excesses that involves. There
just is not a better author out there to describe this stuff. The pace is extraordinary.
The descriptions of food, wine and pharmaceuticals jump off the page and down your
throat. The lights blind you. It's like a life taking place in a fairground, which I suppose
is what the title is getting at. It's DBC Pierre, so expect drugs and bodily fluids;
sometimes all at once. It's not the focus of the novel but if you don't enjoy writing of
this nature, this is probably not for you.

My only criticism is this: the climaxes in the plot are so dizzyingly high and so
numerous that the moments in between feel a little flat in comparison. In this way, the
novel is a victim of its own success. Climaxes are where DBC Pierre eats; perhaps
the other stuff does not excite him. The finale does not disappoint though, and the
final third of the book is where the book reaches its cruising speed. The ending
leaves you feeling satisfied.

Another criticism levelled at this novel is that the world view of the protagonist
is immature. "Undergraduate" as one newspaper put it. What this misses is that
this is deliberate - he is a wealthy anti-capitalist in his mid twenties, with all the
contradictions that brings. He is an incomplete person and his philosophy reflects
this. Perhaps these reviewers think they are reading the author's manifesto, but why?
It also makes me think that these reviewers did not finish the novel, because without
giving too much away, the character does not end the journey as he starts it.

Vernon God Little won the Booker, but I actually prefer Lights Out in Wonderland.
It's everything good about the first book, but MORE. Read it. You might not like
everything about it, but you won't regret the experience.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly unique adventure, slow at times, but satisfying overall, 10 Aug 2012
By 
D. Gallacher "Goat" (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I will say straight away that I am a big fan of Pierre. His first novel "Vernon God Little" was met with suitable acclaim, but this second "Ludmilla's Broken English" was by far my favourite, even including this book. It wasn't with trepidation that I started this book, but I did find myself somewhat concerned with it in the beginning. To give a short synopsis, Gabriel is a supremely disaffected person. He finds so little to relate to in this world, due to a number of perfectly valid reasons, that he decides to depart from it. But before taking that final leap, he decides on one last adventure. That adventure, leads him to a world he didn't know existed, and honestly, I don't think he ever would have wanted to know in hindsight.

It is a funny book. Some of the lines had me absolutely cracking up on the train. To the point where I actually typed some of them letter by letter into my phone to text to a fellow literature fan, who instantly went out to buy the book. Pierre just has these intermittent flashes of brilliance amongst the very strong body of the book. The problem in this book simply comes in the shape of pacing. I felt that occasionally the book didn't push on to new things, and dare I say floundered somewhat. But the fact is, even in a floundering state, Pierre's writing captures more spirit than many others do in their finest hours. This book is funny, incredibly interesting and has some really strong scenes that will stay with you. I absolutely recommend reading his other work, but this is by no means a slouch. Well worth reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 30 Jan 2014
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Interesting story, excellently written, true to life, great author. Funny, sad, charming, a story you want to tell people about.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 16 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Lights Out in Wonderland (Paperback)
Crazy book. Like being inside the head of someone who is bi polar ind in a manic phase. Found it hilarious.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Tour de Force, 20 Jun 2013
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I loved 'Vernon God Little' but found Ludmila's Broken English less convincing and so didn't know what to expect from Pierre's third novel. I'm delighted to say it dazzles and delights from the first sentence. The central character provides an utterly compelling voice amongst the diverse cast of strange, spectacular and spectacularly banal but lovable characters we meet. And although the plot is nothing short of audacious, I felt it was cohesive and - due to the strength of writing - credible even when incredible events are taking place. Truly a modern masterpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!!, 8 Jan 2013
Really original story. Would recommend this book to lots of people. Funny and dark at the same time with an important environmental message.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 1 Oct 2010
I had initially hoped that DBC Pierre's third offering would be an adequate tide me over until something worth getting excited came along considering Ludmilla's Broken English was average at best.

Lights Out in Wonderland was the most enjoyable book I have read in ten years, Pierre has more quotes, one liners, completely gifted insights into what makes us tick on one page than you will find in any other book in recent times.

Loved it so much I read it again immediately, and I am now considering heating it and eating it in the hope that the saying you are what you eat holds some truth.

Take a bow DBC Pierre this was more than worth the wait.
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Lights Out in Wonderland
Lights Out in Wonderland by DBC Pierre (Paperback - 1 Sep 2011)
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