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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding talent
This is a story of desire. Getting free, going deep into a foreign place. Reading this is a revelatory experience not to miss. Neubert was able to rattle me. So much here is the vivid reality of a little-known part of the world (I've been near there, and it's totally true to life), with characters you might think were familiar at first. But you come to realise something...
Published on 29 Nov 2009 by W. F. Hill

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Foreign Bodies
This book affected me and stayed with me, but I am not certain as to the wisdom - or widespread appeal - of putting in so much of the Visayan language. I'm sure Ms Neubert thought long and hard about it; but if I had handed her a novel with the equivalent amount of Turkish (Turkey being the country where I had my foreign bodies experience), I think she may long before...
Published on 11 Mar 2010 by Julia Taylor


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding talent, 29 Nov 2009
By 
W. F. Hill - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Foreign Bodies (Paperback)
This is a story of desire. Getting free, going deep into a foreign place. Reading this is a revelatory experience not to miss. Neubert was able to rattle me. So much here is the vivid reality of a little-known part of the world (I've been near there, and it's totally true to life), with characters you might think were familiar at first. But you come to realise something extraordinary is slipping just slightly off the path. A young woman chooses the dangerous earthy man, not his literary brother, but it is she herself who turns out to be dangerous. What happens as they escape north to Manila, aiming for the West, peels-back and lays bare what we all wish to escape from. As I say, a reading experience not to miss. The end of the book is handled with a writer's hand so deft that I've rarely seen anything like it, although I'm always on the look-out: the story's tone goes Bang! then sensually stretches into another, achingly true, simple, suddenly familar feel, which shakes you because it feels like your own life, your own thoughts, like something you know. On top of this, the book has stayed with me because Neubert sets it in a dangerous place, a notorious region in today's global terror and counter-terror, although this is not overplayed in the book, set as it is in the 1970s. Her main character is a fiercely intelligent woman who loves a place but sets a tragedy in motion by simply going there. A haunting, beautiful book. More from Neubert please.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love in a warm climate, 16 Nov 2009
By 
Paul Moon (Cardiff, Wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Foreign Bodies (Paperback)
It is the Philippines in the late 1970s and Emma, a young aspiring writer is finding out about a wider world a long way from the grey skies of north London. The Philippines is sunshine and light and beaches and beer and two brothers called Alphonse and Raphael, who befriend her, one as a writer the other as lover. But the romance of life against the reality of a young western woman trying to understand the mores and morals of the east is never quite as it seems.

Candy Neubert is excellent on the subtle differences of expectations and of the rush of experiences which can so often disorientate the educated but naive traveller or tourist. She captures the flow of life in the Philipines, the family expectations, the hospitality of life when people have very little but are willing to share. The whole book feels very real and when Raphael and Emma travel to Manila intent on trying to secure Raphael a passport to allow them to escape together we are allowed to fully realise the futility and hope of love.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Foreign Bodies, 11 Mar 2010
By 
Julia Taylor (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Foreign Bodies (Paperback)
This book affected me and stayed with me, but I am not certain as to the wisdom - or widespread appeal - of putting in so much of the Visayan language. I'm sure Ms Neubert thought long and hard about it; but if I had handed her a novel with the equivalent amount of Turkish (Turkey being the country where I had my foreign bodies experience), I think she may long before have put it down in frustration.
Nevertheless a haunting story, and very elegiac in the closing chapters. There is lots more, apart from the Visayan language, that I would like to have understood.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive & vivid, 1 Dec 2011
This review is from: Foreign Bodies (Paperback)
This is the work of a poet; gentle, sensitive and vividly described. Regret and guilt cling like sweat in the Filipino sun as West meets East to a romantic conclusion. Traditional values and cultural ethics, however, aren't the only boundaries that are tested... hearts prove just as fragile in the tropical heat. Candy Neubert weaves her literary magic in inimitable style.

Indeed, Candy can sing just as beautifully; but that's another story... ;)
Cameron Stone Valhalla'S WhisperOf Beasts & Common Men
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3.0 out of 5 stars Thought she could cross ravines ..., 27 Aug 2011
This review is from: Foreign Bodies (Paperback)
Emma,soft fat feet and ankles bitten by mosquitoes, comes to a Philippino island from walking Tottenham Court Road in London. The tropical rural life overwhelms her and she becomes infatuated with Rafael "a piece hewn straight from the islands of the south" who is a handsome, quiet loafer. The book explores well the desparate urge of such an unattached, self-indulgent English girl to soak up a place of mystery "while the earth ebbs and flows". She is a writer; Rafael does nothing. The last part of the book is disappointing as it descends into a series of one-sided letters addressed to Emma. I found these poor as they failed to round off the eventual, pathetic situation. So, only 3 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rang many bells for me, 5 May 2010
By 
Aranya (Axmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Foreign Bodies (Paperback)
I really enjoyed FOREIGN BODIES. It gave me such vivid insight into life in the Philippines and once I starting reading it, I found it hard to put down.
Having travelled abroad alone several times in my early twenties, it rang many bells for me, some of them magical, some of them uncomfortable.
I felt challenged at times, especially by the ending which I found quite frustrating, before realizing it reflects precisely the point the author is making. Though I agree with Julia Taylor's comments about the untranslated Visayan, I identified with Emma's feelings when she couldn't understand what was going on around her.
The book is easy to read but there's plenty going on under the surface and many strong images which stay in the mind.
Much food for thought.
I shall recommend this novel to my book club.
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Foreign Bodies
Foreign Bodies by Candy Neubert (Paperback - 2 Nov 2009)
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