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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting blend of fiction and social history
This is an extraordinary novel, if 'novel' is the right word to describe a sequence of interconnected chapters that narrate the lives of some of the past and present inhabitants of Brick Lane in East London: pre-Romans, Romans, Danish invaders, Polish Jews and homesick Bangladeshis all make their appearances in this complex narrative sequence that plays with time, place...
Published on 26 April 2007 by Rich Ham

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3.0 out of 5 stars A combination of documentary and imagination
This rather odd book is a kind of history of the Brick Lane area in East London, or it could be a novel. It is a collection of incidents, imaginative and factual, that have occurred there, at whatever period in history. Some of them don't seem to have any relationship to any of the others and it is difficult to identify any commonality. As you would expect, migration is a...
Published on 11 Jan 2010 by Martin White


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting blend of fiction and social history, 26 April 2007
This review is from: An Acre of Barren Ground (Paperback)
This is an extraordinary novel, if 'novel' is the right word to describe a sequence of interconnected chapters that narrate the lives of some of the past and present inhabitants of Brick Lane in East London: pre-Romans, Romans, Danish invaders, Polish Jews and homesick Bangladeshis all make their appearances in this complex narrative sequence that plays with time, place and literary genres in sometimes disorienting ways.

Gavron has clearly done a vast amount of research, but his invocations of the wide array of lives lived over the centuries on this 'acre of barren ground' are never weighed down by the historical details, and in spite of the book's episodic structure, the narrative tension is maintained right until the end. Brilliant: 10/10.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strikingly original, 23 Jan 2006
By 
G. L. Haggett "glynlhaggett" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
An extraordinarily and strikingly original take on the rich history of Brick Lane, weaving historical and fictional characters in an informative, entertaining and hugely readable way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Amazing Book I have ever read, 15 Mar 2013
By 
Katharine Ashley (Stroud, Gloucestershire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: An Acre of Barren Ground (Paperback)
I have read voraciously since I joined the libraray on my seventh birthday (because they wouldn't let you in before seven). I don't know how many books I must have read since then but nothing, absolutely nothing, has ever grabbed me, shaken me, and left me breathless like this book has. It is quite simply the most amazing novel I have ever read. Although calling it a novel doesn't do it justice - it contains elements of fiction, social history, finance, business, architecture, botany, zoology, archeology, criminology and just about any other ology you care to name.

All this in a series of interacting stories embedded in a seamless sweep of time from when mammoths roamed the earth to the current times when the book was published(2005). And if all that doesn't keep your attention enough (but it will) then the style of delivery changes throughout the book and one cameo is even presented in Roy Lichtenstein style cartoons.

The title comes from Shakespeare's The Tempest "Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an ace of barren ground". Well give a few pounds and buy this book for the most amazing literay experience of your life.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A combination of documentary and imagination, 11 Jan 2010
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This review is from: An Acre of Barren Ground (Paperback)
This rather odd book is a kind of history of the Brick Lane area in East London, or it could be a novel. It is a collection of incidents, imaginative and factual, that have occurred there, at whatever period in history. Some of them don't seem to have any relationship to any of the others and it is difficult to identify any commonality. As you would expect, migration is a strong element. It is cumulatively quite effective - I like the doing of history through the combination of the documentary with what may have been people's subjective experiences. What's missing is any kind of analysis or general account, a contextualisation of the events which, to be fair, would probably make the book what it is not.
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An Acre of Barren Ground
An Acre of Barren Ground by Jeremy Gavron (Paperback - 6 Mar 2006)
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