Customer Reviews


23 Reviews
5 star:
 (13)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (2)
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


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book
This book carefully interweaves its three elements, thriller, love story and tradgey and its central themes love, commitment (political and personal) and betrayal (political and personal). Its is commited but not preaching. Its prose is lyrical and evocative and its plot convincing. The historical period is a fascintating one and is brought to life. The role of the...
Published on 29 July 1999

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars self-obsession
This book needs a good ediitor because it doesn't come alive until half way through. The "hero" is utterly self-obsessed and humourless and engaged in a dysfuncrional love afffair with a young wman who expresses her self-obsession through left wing politics. Not my cup of tea, but the author is clever and writes perceptively.
Published on 4 April 2010 by Barrie J. Clement


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book, 29 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Catastrophist (Paperback)
This book carefully interweaves its three elements, thriller, love story and tradgey and its central themes love, commitment (political and personal) and betrayal (political and personal). Its is commited but not preaching. Its prose is lyrical and evocative and its plot convincing. The historical period is a fascintating one and is brought to life. The role of the CIA in the killing of Patrice Lummumba Congolose nationalist leader is not as well known as it should be but although this is one focus of the book the centre piece is the love affair between James Giiispie and Ines Sabani and this is brough to life with insight and raw emotion. I took this book on holiday and had to finish it in one sitting. It throughly deserved the praise and awards. My only criticism would relate to the African characters who are well described but their inner thoughts are not adressed and the main perspective is of the Europeans. Having said that the racism of colonial rule and european attitudes is brilllantly crystallised I can also recommend Ronan Bennets other book The Second Prison the best fictional account of the war in Northern Ireland i have ever read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything an adverture story should be, 1 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Catastrophist (Paperback)
A story of colonial mismanagenment and a true love story, beautifully written and terrifyingly real - all the characters are still with me. I was acutally involved in the evacuation of the Belgians from the Congo, acting as an interpreter for them in what was Salisbury, Rhodesia. I well rememhber the utter astonishment of the evacuees who could not believe what was happening to them, and I also remember following the disintegration of the Congo, the failure of the leaders etc, all of which is foreshadowed in this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unfair criticism, 22 Dec 2000
This review is from: Catastrophist (Paperback)
...the book is about a apathetic, stranger's trip to Africa in the middle of upheaval. If the book lacks nuances of African culture it is because it is about an alien looking disinterestedly into this radically, different world. The book may be dense but is a cracking read that not only entertains but also makes you consider the selfishness behind caring, intelligent people's actions when lust, trust or situation cloud their judgement. It's well worth a pick up. I haven't recommended it to one person who hasn't thanked me for it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A flawed novel...so much the better!, 17 Oct 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Catastrophist (Paperback)
I picked this up having enjoyed the marvellous 'Havoc in its Third Year' and was not disappointed. This novel has flaws and they are part of what makes its success. Gillespie the narrator is a confused Irishman and follows his love/lust to Africa to conquer her at the same time as decolonisation is taking place in the former Belgian Congo. Gillespie is indifferent to politics, part of his Northern Irish background (it is the 1960s and 'the troubles' are yet to begin) in contrast with Ines's passionate yet naive belief in the politics she encounters. The novel explores passion of various kinds, belief, cynicism, background and family and tries to get to the question about what makes people love and how they love. Why do I call it flawed? Because there are echoes of Brian Moore/Graham Greene here. This novel is flawed in the same way.....you can't get much better than that. I am going to read the other Bennett novels I can get my hands on - he is definitely one to watch!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enduring and Harrowing, 17 May 2000
This review is from: The Catastrophist (Paperback)
Bennett's prose is refreshingly prudent and yet at the same time astutely passionate. He succeeds in creating a convincingly textured world in which the machinations of love and politics are perceptively and painfully entwined, exploring their analogous rise and fall towards a bitter denouement. Utterly compelling and perpetually haunting.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Catastrophist, 6 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Catastrophist (Paperback)
Ronan Bennett writes in a very fast moving style, creating his characters with clarity, grit and conviction. This book is set in the time of the Congo Independence, it is a clever and thoroughly enjoyable combination of an extremely complex psychological love story and a political thriller which gives a very interesting amount of background information about that period of African history. Having myself at that time witnessed the exodus from the Congo of Belgians into 'Rhodesia' with all they could carry crammed onto their cars, I have always been interested in the background to this period. I would recommend The Catastrophist as a most enjoyable and informative page turner.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling romance surrounded by a piece of history, 8 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Catastrophist (Hardcover)
This novel was incredible. It molded the history of the Belgian Congo's independence with a heartbreaking romance between two people not destined to be together. I could not put this book down. I will be looking forward to reading Ronan Bennett's other works.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read, 31 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Catastrophist (Paperback)
Ronan Bennett is a master storyteller and I wish that I could find more of his books in print. Set in the Congo prior to the country's independence from Belgium, it is about an Irishman, James Gillespie, who goes to the Congo to win back the love of his girlfriend, Ines. The politics, beaurocracy and the failure of his relationship results in a sad story but one of great depth and certainly one of the best books I have read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic and touching, 21 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Catastrophist (Paperback)
An excellent book; a cross between Graeme Greene's 'The Quiet American' and Joseph Conrads 'Heart of Darkness'. The story of someone who loses a lover to another, set against a country that is going from independance to civil war. You can feel Gillespies pain and anguish, Ines's passion and Stipe's agenda. Worth buying.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 5 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Catastrophist (Paperback)
This is a truly superb novel. It has everything and it does it all well. It is a beautifully written thriller with a number of interesting themes. It paints a rich picture of life and the political situation in the Congo at the time. I was disappointed when I finished it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Catastrophist
The Catastrophist by Ronan Bennett (Paperback - 8 April 1999)
7.81
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews