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32 Reviews
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A touching and funny tale that overturns stereotypes
This was such a good read. The story intertwines a number of stories spanning Africa and the UK, all of which contain unexpected and touching twists and turns. The writing is full of wit and insight. In its depiction of a range of characters and their different reactions to love and personal tragedy, the book quietly overturns stereotyped views of ex-pat life, offering...
Published on 2 Aug 2009 by qassidas

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic
As someone who lived as an ex-pat in West Africa for 20 years in the 50s and 60s, even the cover of this book evoked fond memories. Although of course things have obviously changed since then, there were much that was familiar in the descriptions of the setting and lifestyles. I found the time-frame of the narrative confusing, partly because my Kindle for some reason...
Published 4 months ago by Bibliophan


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A touching and funny tale that overturns stereotypes, 2 Aug 2009
This was such a good read. The story intertwines a number of stories spanning Africa and the UK, all of which contain unexpected and touching twists and turns. The writing is full of wit and insight. In its depiction of a range of characters and their different reactions to love and personal tragedy, the book quietly overturns stereotyped views of ex-pat life, offering one which is funny, touching and, I suspect, rarely told. Highly recommended - I'm looking forward to the next one from this author.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cloths of Heaven, 6 April 2011
The reader is instantly transported into another world and the sights and sounds of Africa. Sue Eckstein speaks with a completely convincing sense of place and people. She has a gift for dialogue which brings an extraordinary group of characters off the page, fully formed, into the reader's visual imagination. At the heart of her story lies a mystery. A cleverly constructed novel that draws two time lines together into a surprising twist at the end.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Irreverent, warm and witty, 5 April 2011
Sue writes with the insight of one who has ridden the rough roads of this corner of West Africa, and sat with her characters drinking wine beneath an equatorial night-sky; the expat community is finely drawn through sharp dialogue, a generous portrayal of failings and frailties, and an astute eye for the humour underlying the mundane as well as the bizarre.

If you've ever lived abroad, especially in a developing country, read this book as it will transport you to a time and place that will resonate; if not, then simply enjoy the rich evocation of setting, the compelling personal journeys of the protagonists and this debut novelist's skilful mastery of the form.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A jolly good read, 8 April 2009
By 
Valerie P. Vickery (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
When I first picked up my copy of `The Cloths of Heaven' I did not really know what to expect. As I started to read it I was reminded of the story of 'White Mischief' by James Fox as it had a similar undercurrent of affairs which ended in a much more brutal way in the Fox novel. `The Cloths of Heaven', however, has a story all of its own and the reader feels compelled to finish in order to tie up the loose ends of a flow of several stories running alongside each other. The reader needs the answers to such questions as what is Bob Newpin's fate, what is the mystery surrounding Rachel?

This brief glimpse into the lives of the post-colonial ex-pat experience is fascinating to read about, and in some cases difficult to believe in 2009. The novel portrays a real cocktail of ex-pat life and intrigue which is not only absorbing, but delightfully written by the author.

Such a little gem to keep on the bookshelf

Valerie
London
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Debut, 11 April 2009
Sue Eckstein's first novel is a thoroughly enjoyable read, offering a sharp insight into the lives of ex-pats in Africa and their differing relationships with the Africans they encounter.

Although a piece of fiction, with a satisfyingly rounded plot, the characters are drawn with such a controlled use of fine detail, and the setting is so richly depicted, that The Cloths of Heaven was as authentic and believable as any piece of travel writing. It was as if the author was introducing us to a part of Africa that she herself is intimately familiar with, and some of the people she met there.

The lives of the various characters - black, brown and white - interweave with one another as the novel progresses, reaching resolutions that are both satisfying and, at times, unexpected. I found myself reading faster and faster to discover these resolutions. All in all, an outstanding debut.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ENTERTAINING AND ENLIGHTENING, 1 Jun 2009
Steamy and scandalous! So this is what goes on behind the scenes in the lives of those upright, uptight faces that West Africans like me encounter at visa offices and foreign missions, eh? An enjoyable read, Sue Eckstein does an excellent job of capturing the African setting while challenging our beliefs and values, our ideas of love, sexuality, betrayal and fidelity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Read, 2 April 2009
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The Cloths of Heaven is a really entertaining and compelling book. Set in West Africa it has a great cast of characters, witty dialogue, a vivid setting. Very funny but also an interesting and revealing insight into ex-pat and volunteer life.

Sue Eckstein takes us into the world of VSO and the High Commission exploring a series of contrasting relationships between the characters and with the country. The whole thing is held together by a strong and unexpected narrative.

Sadly this is Sue Eckstein's first book so you can't rush out and read more - I really wanted the story to go on and to know even more about these characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cloths of Heaven, 8 April 2009
By 
Sara Fovargue (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This is a brilliant debut novel - a captivating and compelling read. I was torn between racing through it to find out what happened and taking my time and enjoying the excellent dialogue and colourful pictures which were so well drawn by Sue Eckstein. The characters are interesting and intriguing and made me want to know more about them. I cannot wait to read more of her work - I really do hope she is working on that difficult second novel!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, 7 April 2009
I read this book in one sitting, finally finishing it in the early hours of the morning having thought I was just going to read the first chapter. Sue Eckstein has an excellent ear for dialogue and the characters are colourful and well-drawn. Short chapters, with changing points of view, make this a real page-turner. A thoroughly enjoyable romp in ex-pat West Africa.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but postcards unreadable on the Kindle!, 22 May 2014
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This review is from: The Cloths of Heaven (Kindle Edition)
The title summarises! On my Kindle I skipped the postcards as I couldn't read them, then when I reached the end I realised they were important. So I clicked back to each of them and SQUINTED under a really bright light to make out the handwriting. The postcards do not enlarge when you enlarge text. Perhaps they could be produced full page for Kindle readers?

Other than that, the book evoked both the ex-pat life and the African life and once I got into it I was desperate to know what happened to the characters.
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The Cloths of Heaven
The Cloths of Heaven by Sue Eckstein
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