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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comedy, romance and misanthropy, 18 July 2012
This review is from: Blue Cheese and Chou Mian (Paperback)
More than a century ago the satirical magazine 'Punch' serialised 'The Diary of a Nobody', a comic novel innocently narrated by a self-important, middle aged clerk called Charles Pooter. In 'Blue Cheese and Chow Mian' Pooter lives again, this time as a misanthropic academic historian with a PhD in philosophy and a Chinese wife whom he adores.

This isn't a plot-led novel. What keeps you reading is the risky blur of autobiography and fiction. Just as you start feeling disquiet about anecdotes of uxorial mispronunciation, however affectionate and well told, the narrator's mother telephones and demands to know his telephone number. So this is fiction, or at least hyperbole. Or is it? Charles Pooter lived in a fictional London suburb, not in the lovingly described, real-life town of Gosport. Perhaps the author really did offend the lady upstairs by jovially alluding to a certain mammal. Has he risked post-publication unpleasantness by repeating speculation as to Mr Wang's business associates? Do his family still speak to him?

Funny thing is, by the end of the book we've stopped worrying. We realise that we've been reading a love story.

Sam Merry is a fellow AuthorsOnline author and a near neighbour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We begin this time with Gosport author Sam Merry's story, 27 July 2012
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This review is from: Blue Cheese and Chou Mian (Paperback)
Richard Lewis AuthorsOnLine Newsletter

a beautifully written and truly fascinating story with which I can certainly identify, having, like him, taught in various countries abroad and always aspired to be a writer

Blue Cheese and Chou Mian
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet and Sour, 19 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Blue Cheese and Chou Mian (Paperback)
`Blue Cheese and Chao Mian' by Sam Merry has the middle aged Sam, who may or may not be related to the author, as the central character of his novel. He is living `in peaceful disorder' in the South of England with his Chinese wife. The small town is situated as far away from his northern family as geography allows. which is just as well as relationships have been fraught since his childhood.

One learns first to chuckle and then laugh out loud as Sam recounts the extent of his difficult relationships. His young wife, Liu, is trying to adjust to a new language and the quirks of English life. Sam is making efforts to help her but is also dealing with another culture gap between himself and his family from which he has tried, by extensive world travel, to isolate himself.

Sam's interest in history and academic study is not shared by his family but this is not the only reason for the extreme breakdown in relationships with his working class family. His mother is quite capable of calling him `an educated imbecile' before slamming down the phone.

The style and humour will be of great appeal to the English and Merry's bardic pen is sometimes used as a scalpel so sharp it cuts without pain as he introduces us to a series eccentric characters living in Gosport. Sam is aware that he too has been washed up along with other flotsam and jettison on the shores of the Isle of Wight and gives us an intimate insight into his day to day life.

`Blue Cheese and Chao Mian', has a laugh or a chuckle on every colourful page and Merry may do for Gosport what Joyce did for Dublin.

Don Michael - author of `The Prodigal Housekeeper'
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Blue Cheese and Chou Mian
Blue Cheese and Chou Mian by Sam Merry (Paperback - 27 Sep 2011)
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