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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Identity/fiction/metaphor/affirmation
Christopher Priest is, as I've mentioned in another view the British middle class answer to Philip K. Dick. His work deals with the very notion of self, how we form our identities and how fragile those identities might be, wrapped into a metafictional narrative that acknowledges its own artifice at the very same moment that it celebrates it.

Like the Glamour,...
Published on 14 Aug 2009 by S. Bentley

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A slow read
Bought this book on the back of Priest excellent Inverted World novel, and must admit found this book a slow read, this is not a sci- fi novel more fantasy nothing gripping about it or memorable really it just droned on about a bloke who seemed to be living in his own inverted world! Still I'll read his other stuff.
Published 6 months ago by christopher walton


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, gripping read, 6 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Affirmation (Paperback)
I have just read this book after 12 years. When I first read it I thought it was one of the best things I've ever read. The second read did not disappoint: it was even better. Why is Christopher Priest not more famous? A man writes his autobiography, he's just had a run of bad luck ... no, to give anything away would spoil it. Buy it.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreaming of Islands in London, 2 April 2006
By 
J. T. Meddle (Lancing, West Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
02 April 2006 12:59 pm
Earlier this mornng, I finished reading the 1981 novel by Christopher Priest, "The Affirmation." I'm sure I read this before, around the time of first publication, or at least soon after. I recall this as being one of the best books I'd read in a long time, perhaps longer. Now,on re-reading, I believe this to be far better, even a revolutionary novel, one that has broken boundaries, norms, expectations and many previous efforts in the field. Also, it should be said, this profound work should not be labelled 'Science Fiction', nor even 'Fantasy' - it is both a bigger and more encompassing work than this boxy pigeon-holing could imagine. Nor should it be described as a mainstream work, which implies an agreed way, or tried-and-tested particular method or modus operandi. The only notions that may be given and accepted is that the novel is written in the first person, runs for 200 pages and is enclosed and offered as a printed book. After that, the parameters can and will become as large, or as small as the reader's mind. It's a personal journey, so be open and do forget Roland Barthes' notion of 'The Death of the Author', your reading this work may well lead to the disappearance of the reader. In 1966, a major novel was published with an ambiguous conclusion. This approach by John Fowles, in 'The Magus' (and more famously later, in 'The French Lieutenants' Woman'), seemed to herald a more imaginative, yet realistic, approach to the writer dealing with the disparity between story, fiction, neatness, life and endings.
In 'The Affirmation,' Christopher Priest adroitly provides no real ending at all, for the story of Peter Sinclair, the narrator, continues, like ouroborus, the snake with its tail in its mouth, to run on, back to its beginning, staying suspended in the mind for days, weeks (years?) after a reading.The reader, once drawn into the narrator's tale, will take everything as having really occurred, just as in most well-written stories. But just when we reach the point where Peter begins to type out his own life-story, and we believe that his memory is correctly describing events, characters and places, we begin to doubt, ponder, question. During this process the writer inhabits a white room, types on sheets of blank white paper, and all appears well - the truth is told - until other characters attempt to read his work. Slowly, we begin to wonder who/what is real, what is imagination, how far reality and dream inter-penetrate, where/what is the interface - how does one level of existence affect and influence another? This is not only a superb study of a person trying to understand who he really is,in relation to self and others, and what he should be and do, but also shows a mind in turmoil, treading water but trying to find dry land, heading towards a space that is both enclosed and limitless, image and stone reality. Priest/Sinclair has successfully depicts a schizoid state of utter clarity coupled with maximum confusion. He knows what is true and real at every step...then turns another corner, as do the readers... At one point, re-reading his manuscript, Peter Sinclair says there are three levels of the text: the first is the written words, the second is the pencilled alterations and deletions and the third level is what was not written - ie, the spaces, allusions, and deliberate omissions. This is the space that the reader may fill in, with his or her own diaries, dreams, descriptions of the real, word-paintings of the imagined, worries, hopes for the future, memories of past deeds and misdeeds. Read this book once, then let it read you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A convincing perspective on a troubled individual, identity and how it might be impossible to really know another person., 23 May 2014
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Almost the leit-motif in the book - deftly woven realities leave the reader with a deeper truth. This book has a schizophrenic quality which eesonates long after the last page.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A slow read, 14 Feb 2014
This review is from: The Affirmation (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Bought this book on the back of Priest excellent Inverted World novel, and must admit found this book a slow read, this is not a sci- fi novel more fantasy nothing gripping about it or memorable really it just droned on about a bloke who seemed to be living in his own inverted world! Still I'll read his other stuff.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not sci-fi, not that great, 14 Feb 2014
The story is interesting but the writing didn't feel like anything special. Confusingly it isn't sci-fi unless you're using a very broad definition. It seemed promising at first but didn't really go anywhere.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Still confused!, 23 Sep 2013
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i am still confused by this book! I finished it 2 weeks ago and am still wondering if I fully understood what happened - although I think this is the point of the cyclic way the book is written.
I loved the imagination used in this book and the way is moves so fluidly. I think it would be a great book for a book club as would inspire a lot of discussion. I would recommend it....although it may frustrate you :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic, surreal and tragic, 22 Sep 2013
This is one of the most surreal books i have read recently. It can be read and interpreted on several levels. It stays with you long after you have closed the book. Like the islands in the book, the story is difficult to describe, you have to experience it.

Peter Sinclair, the narrator, tries to redefine himself by writing an autobiography of himself. He is suffering from bereavement, loss, and guilt. He hides them and simultaneously puts them on display in the pages of his manuscript. His split personality allows him to traverse, and sometimes merge the two different worlds. One fantasy that he has created, one real that he wants to meld into the former. Will he find what he is looking for in his own story?

The writing is taut, poetic and refreshing. The structure of the plot is non-linear at times but works well with the theme of the novel. A very satisfying read indeed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the uninitiated., 9 Jan 2013
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This was my forage into Sci Fi and I didn't really get it. The Islands, the war, the girls prepared to give up everything for some pretty uninteresting bloke didn't really seem feasible. Not for me.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally absorbing and beautifully written., 23 Dec 2008
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I first started reading Christopher Priest's novels as a teenager back in the 1970s but lost touch with his work as life took over for a couple of decades. More recently, helped by actually being able to find his books again for sale on the internet (as opposed to not finding them on booksellers' shelves!), I have begun to read his books again and find them as delightful as I did all those years ago. Having said that, I don't think that there's actually one book of his that I have understood completely - although to be fair I have never analysed them the way one would do for an exam or a piece of literary criticism, for instance. Irrespective of total understanding, I love the way that he writes, his prose is always captivating and his books structured to maximise suspense.

"The Affirmation" is no exception to these general rules. I thought whilst reading it that it was one of his easiest to understand but then a couple of twists near the end made me reconsider and whilst the ending was something similar to what I'd anticipated, the actual detail was not! It doesn't matter, I've learned to live with these problems with Priest. In fact, "The Affirmation" is one of the most enjoyable books of his that I've read.

I can't remember which ones I read in the 1970s but there must have been three or four; and recently I've read "The Prestige", "The Separation" and "The Glamour" and, of the recent ones, "The Prestige" is the only one that I prefer to this.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 stars, 4 Dec 2002
By 
R. J. Hole (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Affirmation (Paperback)
It is the best novel about schizophrenia that I have read. Peter Sinclair isolates himself in a cottage to write an autobiography but writes it in the form of a fantasy. The trouble is what is
fantasy and what is reality?
I remember this book as a wonderful reading experience and would be in my top books of all time.
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The Affirmation (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
The Affirmation (S.F. MASTERWORKS) by Christopher Priest (Paperback - 13 Oct 2011)
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