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4.6 out of 5 stars14
4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 18 October 2006
The Glamour is a wonderful story of a man who, caught by the blast from a car bomb, is trying to recover his memory, with the best hope apparently a woman who claims to have been his lover.

But this being a Christopher Priest book more is going on than that. Priest uses his trick of changing the perspective on the story, without suggesting that any particular point of view is more valid than another, leaving you guessing as to what is going on.

I always think of Priest as being the British Philip K. Dick, a man who loves writing about shifting realities. The difference being that whereas Dick seemed compelled to write and would often write hurriedly, Priest is a more considered writer, his prose is more elegant. Similarly Priest is more concerned with the middle classes than Dick's blue collar heroes. And in this book, Priest is doing what Dick would have done more of, had his publishers been more daring, he writes a book that seems like science fiction but isn't. Not really. It's more about relationships and stories and glamour. The science fiction or fantasy element is very slight and if you look at the story in a certain way, does not necessarily exist.

The book is beautifully ambiguous and the fractured nature of this review just testifies to the fact that no review can do it justice. You just have to read it. And then all of Priest's other books. He's that good.
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on 7 January 1999
I have read and reread this book, and it still drives me up the wall! No other book has ever had such an effect on me or on the other people I gave the book to. This edition (1996) is actually a rewritten version of the original.The author had received such a large amount of mail from similarly maddened readers, that he decided to change a couple of details. Whether he created a better book or not is debateable, but the essential twists and turns of story and narrator remain. To say too much about the story would spoil the surprise of potential readers, but I can say that the inherent mystery will change the way you look at the world. Read, read and read again. Remember, the best books make you think for a long time after you have turned the last page.
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on 15 October 2013
The Glamour has to rank among the best books I've ever read - a thought-provoking and fascinating page turner and a harrowing nightmare of alternate realities/personas that will blow your mind. Priest is a master of psychological horror - if you enjoyed his books The Dream Archipelago and The Affirmation, you will absolutely love this. The Glamour reads like one of those vivid dreams that leave you confused and full of questions. Don't let the drab cover art, title or mundane-sounding blurb put you off - this is one hell of a book and a dream-like reading experience you won't forget!
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on 20 December 2005
Christopher Priest is a superb writer. Using simple direct and unornamented prose he weaves a world where nothing is quite what it seems but where the impact of what he writes is stupendous.

To reveal the storyline in a review like this would be grossly unfair but this is probably one of the two best books I have read this year -- and I read lots.

The writing is crystal clear and unaffected. The story is superbly constructed with the author fully in command of the twists of the plot. Priest's writing is absolutely unimprovable. Why isn't this man at the top of the best-seller lists?
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on 14 July 2015
Plays with the reality of what's actually going on but is still one of Chris Priest's most approachable stories; a subtle x-men-style take spliced with a profound and painful love affair. The end is both beguiling and shocking, like the rest of Priest's outstanding cannon of work. Immerse yourself in the strangeness of a unique perception of events then try and shake it off when the books finished. It could take a while.
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on 27 July 2013
I loved this book for it's detailed storytelling by Christopher Priest but also the themes of memory and how each person understands and remembers the world around them differently. There are some genuine moments of creepy horror, which I wont give away to anyone reading this review whose not read the book yet.

I'm looking forward to reading the next Christopher Priest book in my collection!!
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on 16 January 2015
Have recently read this for the fourth time. It still remains my all time favourite book. There are several parts I have had to read over and over again - especially the ending.
An inspirational author.
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on 23 February 2009
I came to this book after a recommendation in the Bloomsbury reading guide '100 must-read science fiction novels' (Andrews and Rennison). Although it's published in the Gollancz SF imprint, the first thing to say is that the novel is a long way from what is usually understood as SF. There are elements of psychology and even neuroscience in Priest's treatment of memory and perception, but this is primarily a novel of metaphysics, addressing the nature of reality and identity.

It's a spellbinding read, beautifully written in a clear, unornamented style. Despite several shifts in narrative viewpoint, the two central characters are cleverly drawn by increments, and it's easy to get caught up in their plight. It's a measure of the author's skill that fantastical distortions of reality appear perfectly reasonable within the context of the plot.

It's impossible to summarise the plot without giving the whole thing away, and the basic premise has been set out in the other reviews here anyway. The only problem I had with plot (and the book) is what happens in the last few pages. It all ends with a sudden lurch, the details of which I'll not go into, which I felt undermined a lot of the suspense that had built up until that point. The ending forces a re-evaluation of the whole book, no bad thing in itself, but I couldn't help but feel a bit cheated. Having said that, I suspect the book will stay in my mind long after it's finished, and it wouldn't surprise me if the ending starts to make more sense on reflection.
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on 28 December 2008
Despite never quite fully understanding any of the six or so novels that I have read by Christopher Priest over the years, I have always enjoyed reading his subtle brand of science-fiction. I guess sometimes his plots border on conventional writing (for instance, "The Affirmation" may be a "straight" novel dealing with schizophrenia) but mostly there is a hint of what I would call science-fiction in there.

"The Glamour" is no exception, it sits definitely in the science-fiction camp and, like other books of his, I didn't understand it fully, but thoroughly enjoyed it, eventually. Eventually because the first half of the book lacked that little bit of sparkle that you normally associate with Priest's writing and which gives the enjoyment, even in the absence of full understanding. However, having read to the end, the different writing style adopted may well have had something to do with the plot itself, which undergoes gorgeous, sly little twist at the very end that I wasn't expecting.

The second half of the book is gripping and the ending, as I have said, took me by surprise. The latter half of the book is so good that it would be churlish to limit the score to 4-stars, although I can understand why some other reviewers may have scored less.
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on 28 November 2015
I've got this in paperback somewhere but I don't know where and I had to read it again. A great story.
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