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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vicious Circle by Amanda Craig
This is a jaundiced but funny and poignant look at a small circle of Oxbridge graduates in London who are cutting each others' throats on their way to the top of the media at the end of the last century. It is a hugely ambitious book, ranging from the world of mega rich media magnate Max de Monde (Robert Maxwell in disguise)to the run down housing estate lived in by...
Published on 3 Mar 2003 by Matthew Hargreaves

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite on the money
Three stars might suggest it was O-Kayish, but I really loved reading it. The writing was so witty, entertaining and page turning it was a sheer delight to open the book. However, I did feel that there really was a need to create a major character who out-balanced all the others for a point-of-view perspective. Also, there were so many of them I forgot who some of the...
Published on 7 Aug 2011 by Lovejoy


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vicious Circle by Amanda Craig, 3 Mar 2003
This review is from: A Vicious Circle (Hardcover)
This is a jaundiced but funny and poignant look at a small circle of Oxbridge graduates in London who are cutting each others' throats on their way to the top of the media at the end of the last century. It is a hugely ambitious book, ranging from the world of mega rich media magnate Max de Monde (Robert Maxwell in disguise)to the run down housing estate lived in by single mum Grace. The heroine Mary thinks that if you can't beat em you just have to join em, and becomes the most savage book reviewer of them all, until she sees how destructive her pen can be. She is a likeable and believable character, and the whole story whips along at a cracking pace, by turns funny, excruciating, sad, wise, and, when it comes to bringing up baby, toe-curling. Altogether a Good Read.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful novel, 11 Oct 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: A Vicious Circle (Paperback)
Amanda Craig's book is a tour-de-force: a panoramic, Dickensian swoop around 90's London. Vivid, funny, and passionate, Craig's fictional world seethes with humour and wonderful set pieces. Although primarily set in the bitchy world of literary criticism, Craig also brilliantly explores the way motherhood can turn your world upside down. A must- read for anyone who loves fiction, and a welcome introduction to Craig's best fictional creation: the slobby, lecherous critic Ivo Sponge, who makes a welcome return in Craig's latest, "Love in Idleness."
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful, wonderful book, 31 July 2000
This review is from: A Vicious Circle (Hardcover)
This book is a delight to read -- and read again after reading Craig's earlier novels, Foreign Bodies and A Private Place, which are loosely linked to each other and this one. Compelling well-drawn characters, rich plots, and an authorial voice that strikes the perfect balance between harshness and light, satire and empathy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devour this Tale, 11 Sep 2010
By 
Quicksilver (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Vicious Circle (Paperback)
I have long admired Amanda Craig's book reviews, and this year I have also had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with her fiction. Starting with the excellent state-of-the-nation novel Hearts and Minds, I then read In a Dark Wood and now 'A Vicious Circle'. Lighter in tone than 'H&M', but still a novel with a social conscience, this is the best yet.

It seems incredible to me that 'The Vicious Circle' is not more widely known. With a writing style reminiscent of Jonathan Coe, and Kate Atkinson, it is hard to see why Craig does not share their popularity. Perhaps this novel's subject matter is the reason? 'The Vicious Circle' is an amusing, and often cutting, dissection of the publishing industry.

The characters are richly described, well rounded and believable. They have wonderful Dickensian sounding names; the irrepressible Ivo Sponge, the ghastly Mark Crawley and the corpulent newspaper proprietor Max de Monde (Who is Robert Maxwell, so thinly veiled even Salome would blush). The whole thing is a riot of backstabbing and one-upmanship.

The plot follows publishers, authors and book reviewers, and the toxic relationships that form between them. Throw in a socialite beauty, a jilted ex and a dashing doctor, and you have the ingredients for a most agreeable novel. Considering that Craig is prolific reviewer of literature, it seems odd that in this novel, critics come in for such hard time. Then again, if I wrote a novel based on my job, and the people I'd worked with, I'm not sure how many would still be speaking to me! 'A Vicious Circle' is a novel guaranteed to make you laugh, but it has its serious side too. Once again, the deprivation of the inner city and the invisible underclass of London are central to this novel.

One of the best things about Craig's novels is the reappearance of the same characters. Characters that are periphery figures in 'Hearts and Minds', are central to this novel, and the same is true of 'In a Dark Wood'. The more novels you read, the bigger picture you get of Craig's fictional London. Individually the novels are excellent, but read as whole, they mesh together to make a more satisfying, wider story. How she has kept it straight, over so many years, I don't know. Considering the overlap between AVC's and H&M's characters, it seems odd that this book hasn't been given a relaunch. If you enjoyed one, you are sure to like the other. OK, I am an unabashed fan of Amanda Craig's books, but I assure you, pick up any one of her novels and you will not be disappointed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An acid wit and sharp observations, 5 Sep 2009
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Vicious Circle (Paperback)
Amanda Craig shows and amazing insight into the world of writing and publishing. A Vicious Circle is inhabited with journalists, literary agents, media moguls, editors and publicists. It is written with great verve and skill with well-rounded characters - few of which emerge as unflawed human beings. Many are shown as selfish, egotistical and, let's face it, vicious. The most sympathetic character is Grace, a single parent living on a run-down estate and eking out a living by babysitting and cleaning. Some characters are depicted as quite monstrous - but at the same time are quite believable.
Mary Quinn, an Irish waitress, is introduced to the world of book reviewing by her lover and takes to it like a duck to water. But she soon becomes as cruel and revengeful as many others and uses her reviewing as a weapon of choice rather than as a way of sharing literary insights. At the beginning of the book is the launch party for a travel book written by Max de Monde's daughter, Amelia. She is a "celebrity" - beautiful, vain and lazy but has still managed to get a book published - just as in real life! Without wishing to give the plot away her character was one of the surprises of the plot....
Some of the writing is very funny. When Mary queries as to whether some reviewers don't actually read the whole book she is told: "Good heaven, no. Skim, my darling, skim.....reviewers are paid far too little for it to be worth their while." Craig also has some lovely observations. She refers to infants in their buggies with the rain covers on as "boil-in-the-bag progeny".
A great read made even better by Amanda Craig's acid wit and sharp observations. And there is even a redemptive ending - how good is that?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, clever and compassionate., 10 Mar 2009
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This review is from: A Vicious Circle (Paperback)
A brilliant and sharply observed novel about competitive friendships and the world of arts journalism. It combines wicked humour with real insight about friendship, love and the impact of child bearing on women's lives; it is funny, poignant and wise - a rare combination
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Keen Observing Eye, 22 Feb 2011
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Vicious Circle (Paperback)
It's rare that one finds a novel that combines satire and serious thought as well as this. As a Cambridge graduate myself, I recognized many of the 'types' described in this novel, and found myself laughing out loud at times. But this is not just a humorous look at Oxbridge graduates living in London; it's also a very moving examination of motherhood, of the lives of single women (particularly Mary Quinn, the highly intelligent, book-passionate Irish girl who moves from a career as a waitress to being a well-regarded literary reviewer) and of the difficulties of forming lasting relationships. I loved the sections about working as a doctor in London (again very well observed, from what doctor friends have told me about their work). The class observations, and the whole range of society covered was also impressive, and Craig managed to avoid ever being polemical. A good read that will make you laugh, and also keep you thinking for a very long time.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, wicked black comedy, 11 Jun 2002
By 
Sophie Masson (Armidale, New South Wales Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Vicious Circle (Paperback)
As an author and long-time observer of the often hideous literary scene, I found this book both laugh-out-funny and squirmingly real! As an absorbed reader, I couldn't have higher praise for the book than to say I looked forever to reading an instalment each night in the same way as I looked forward to reading books as a kid. The novel has an integrity of vision, an elegance of language and an understanding of character that were both delicious and sustaining. I also thoroughly recommend In A Dark Wood, another title by Amanda Craig, which I've recently read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern 'Way We Live Now', 2 Jan 2002
By A Customer
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This review is from: A Vicious Circle (Paperback)
If you're put off by all the five stars and raves - don't be! I knew nothing about this book apart from other people's recommendations, but now I can't think why this hasn't been turned into a film or TV serial. It's just as good as Trollope and far more accessible - the kind of novel that should win the Booker and never does because it's just too readable and doesn't play enough post-modern tricks. A really great, intelligent, meaty read, full of solid, well-drawn characters, humour, comedy, tragedy and romance, it charts the rise and fall of two women who are both in love with the same awful man, plus a host of other characters. Set in the 1990s but (with another recession looming) still completely relevant and modern in its depiction of greed and selfishness, love and revenge, this is the best novel I've read this year.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and enjoyable London novel, 10 July 2001
By A Customer
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This review is from: A Vicious Circle (Paperback)
Perhaps I'm not sufficiently "in the know" to understand all the remarks about incestuousness, because as an American I just read this as a very good novel. It reminded me of Maupassant's 'Bel Ami' and Balzac's 'Lost Illusions' more than Dickens. The only US parallel in its linking of rich and poor is 'Bonfire of the Vanities'. While some of the characters are slightly stereotypical (the good doctor, the spoilt heiress etc.) I found them believeable and sympathetic, and the plot as funny as it was complex. My only complaint, which I guess women readers won't share is that the ending is way to romantic. For this reason I prefer the other novel of Craig's which I then immediately bought, In a Dark Wood.
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A Vicious Circle
A Vicious Circle by Amanda Craig (Paperback - 3 July 1997)
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