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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deliberately confrontational, deeply disturbing and very good
This is not a book for the lily-livered. Bold, courageous and confrontational, The End of Alice is most disturbing. It is also very, very good. There is absolutely nothing engaging or delightful in this story which relates, through correspondence, the exploits of an imprisoned paedophile and his young, wild prototype. It is uncomfortable reading: repulsive and gripping...
Published on 30 April 2007 by Rivercassini

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable
After reading the reviews I was somewhat hesitant about reading this book. It did, as pointed out by other reviewers, leave you asking yourself some awkward questions, and wondering why the hell you were reading such a book. However, I did enjoy, if thats the right word, this book to a degree. Though I did find it uncomfortable in parts. I don't really know what else to...
Published on 21 Jun 2008 by I. S. Thompson


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deliberately confrontational, deeply disturbing and very good, 30 April 2007
This review is from: The End of Alice (Paperback)
This is not a book for the lily-livered. Bold, courageous and confrontational, The End of Alice is most disturbing. It is also very, very good. There is absolutely nothing engaging or delightful in this story which relates, through correspondence, the exploits of an imprisoned paedophile and his young, wild prototype. It is uncomfortable reading: repulsive and gripping in almost equal measure. Deliberately shocking, Homes forces unpleasant questions, at each and every turn of the page judging perfectly how readers are likely to react, catching them in their own doubts with scary precision. The erotic correspondence, delicious to the letter writers, works well in revealing how a paedophile, imprisoned twenty three years ago, is also witty and intelligent, manipulative and guiltily complicit. Turning the final page comes as a relief: can't imagine anyone actually enjoying reading this novel but it is rewarding in its own way. A unforgettable literary questioning of liberalism and modernity, it deserves attention.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting and seductive...but hesitate, 29 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The End of Alice (Paperback)
The most riveting, seductive book that I have ever read...and hesitate to recommend to others. Homes is an amazing writer. The inner world she creates inside the pedophile's head weaves it's own spell upon the reader, drawing one into a maze of logic unto its own *reality*. The reader is seduced into a point of view that warps the truth and charms in a perverse and oddly mesmerizing way. What bravery in tackling such repulsive subjectmatter. I recently read an interview with Homes, and she spoke of the anger that the book has evoked in people. Well dear reader, be warned. If you are able to face the shadow in your own self, and endure a little squirming in your *safe* little seat...read this dangerous and dark insightful tale. I myself will order her newest novel with great anticipation, " Music for Torching".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable, 21 Jun 2008
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This review is from: The End of Alice (Paperback)
After reading the reviews I was somewhat hesitant about reading this book. It did, as pointed out by other reviewers, leave you asking yourself some awkward questions, and wondering why the hell you were reading such a book. However, I did enjoy, if thats the right word, this book to a degree. Though I did find it uncomfortable in parts. I don't really know what else to say apart from if you're looking for a book to evoke something perhaps other books haven't (though not necessarily good) this is a book for you. Strange, unregrettable, yet somehow I feel I missed the point of the book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly uncomfortable, 17 Sep 2009
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The End of Alice (Paperback)
It is difficult to know what to say about this book. By turns I was revolted, amazed, made extremely uncomfortable, and found myself aghast at the vision that created it. Alice is a 12 year-old girl and her story is told by the man who killed her, a paedophile in prison. The child herself is portrayed as extraordinarily precocious, as is another, a 12 year-old boy whose seducer, a 19 year-old young woman, is writing to the paedophile. The 12 year-olds are willing, complicit, both of them. In the world of the paedophile, of course, they would be seen as such, even if they were not.

Alice's killer is subjected to stomach-churning abuse as a boy - one scene of him in a bath with his mother does for baths what Alfred Hitchcock did for showers, and then some. At one point I did not really want to continue reading - it made me feel grubby and profoundly uncomfortable, but I persevered, and I am impressed, but I don't want to be impressed.

A M Homes' writing talents are extraordinary, but I wonder what she gained by portraying a paedophile as a victim? Perhaps that is her point? Perhaps there is nothing done in this world that cannot be explained or understood? To write from the point of view of everyone's moral panic figure is brave, defiant, almost as if she is saying there is nothing under the sun that a human being cannot comprehend.

I expected to be shocked by this novel - but at the same time I knew I would want to defend Homes' right to portray a taboo subject. What I did not expect is my feeling of revulsion at the complicity of the children concerned. Perhaps what I missed in this extraordinary book is some confirmation that this complicity was an illusion of the paedophile? I'm pretty sure I would have recognised this element if it had been present. I may read it again some time with this idea more in mind, but I hesitate to put myself through this experience more than once. Trusting to my own judgement therefore, my conclusion is that it isn't there because there is no room for it in the paedophile's psychology. For him to admit to even an inkling of the immorality of his actions would bring his world crashing down around him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, challenging; what else could you want?, 10 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The End of Alice (Paperback)
I read this book a couple of years ago when it was first released in the UK amid all the hoo-ha and WH Smith's ban and so on. Indeed, it is a disturbing, distressing and very challenging book. Above all though, a very courageous piece of work.
Possibly the most dificult of all society's taboos, peadophilia, Homes has none-the-less allowed a story to evolve that is real, very sad and full of questions and no real answers necessarily. The biggest answer, if there is one, is that perhaps the peodophile is not too far related to the 'normal' human being and that perhaps this is the discomfort that allows the issue to go by and grow, without real progress into its' prevention.
Beautifully written, scary and cold, A.M. Homes has an observational eye to be reckoned with.
I'm in the middle of reading her latest book, Music for Torching, and she again has produced a brilliant piece of work.
Both books highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not that great, 15 Sep 2010
By 
Jenny Wong (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The End of Alice (Paperback)
Unfortunately this book is just not a particularly great example of any of the literary genre it attempts to straddle. For epistolary books 'We need to talk about Kevin' is better. For underage eroticism obviously there is 'Lolita' (I accept that the last quarter of the book may be a deliberate homage but the execution - pardon the pun - is much too heavy handed). For the prison theme 'Sleepers' is a better read and has the added spice of being true. And for those seeking out the bloody bits, 'American Psycho' is much more exciting and vomit inducing. I would suggest any of these titles over 'The end of Alice', which takes too many disparate elements and cobbles them together unconvincingly into a rather pointless story. On the other hand it was not boring, so a quick and easy read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is the author as clever as she seems?, 3 July 2007
By 
Rusty (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The End of Alice (Paperback)
Some aspects of this novel impressed me, such as the narrator's highfalutin language and the deft handling of flashback sequences. In certain places, fantasy seamlessly blurs with reality and if you're not careful, you can read whole paragraphs incorrectly...sending you back to read them again in the correct light (I like this demand upon the reader).

However, it is this blurred line between fact and invention that gradually began to bother me. I believe that what is at work in this book is the concept of the 'unreliable narrator'. Everything we are reading has come from the pen of an ageing child-killer...hence nothing can be corroborated or taken at face value.

For instance, the way in which every child speaks in this story is absurd. They talk with the wit and understanding of a well-read adult - in other words, they are mouthpieces for a paedophile recalling events in his own deranged way. This in itself is a clever literary device, reminiscent of such excellent works as 'American Psycho' - but the difference here is that this tricky device is either much too overstated or much too unintentional. I couldn't decide which it was and so could not grasp what A.M Homes was ultimately trying to say.

The 19-year-old girl intent on seducing her underage neighbour was, I felt, a rather obvious female counterbalance to an otherwise strict set of sordid male perversions. Was she entirely necessary? Her character dissolved and faded into nothing in the closing stages, leaving you wondering what, essentially, she had brought to the story. Far more interesting were the intrusive memories of Alice and what role she may have played in this grim affair.

This said and done, I did admire the uncompromising way in which Homes forces us to walk a mile in a paedophile's shoes. It is difficult to approach such subject matter objectively. I was also struck by the incredible way that a female author has so convincingly captured some of the darkest corners of the male sexual psyche. So - a compelling read overall, but did it really tap into the right veins to really get people thinking?
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most memorable books you will ever read, 17 April 2007
By 
R. Jugnarain "Miss J" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The End of Alice (Paperback)
The story- concerning the correspondence between a murderer/paedophile in prison who is on the verge of being released, and a 19-year-old girl intent on seducing a 14-year-old boy in her neighbourhood- is, from the outset, deeply unsettling and compellingly written. A.M. Homes never shies away from taking us to the darkest places of the human psyche, and from revealing some uncomfortable truths about ourselves. Of course it is very graphic and disturbing (a flashback in the Roman baths springs to mind), and I know people who couldn't finish this book. Personally, I think this is wonderfully written and is one of my favourite books of all time; I read this about 8 years ago and I have read another 3 books by A.M. Homes, all of which I have been disappointed with, as nothing holds a candle to this.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging but unsatisfying, 1 Mar 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The End of Alice (Paperback)
The most shocking content in The End of Alice is not the pedophilia, which to sophisticated readers is by now familiar if not exactly comfortable. What is novel and potentially breathtaking is the coming-of-age story of a young woman whose own twisted fate leads her to correspond w/ an imprisoned killer/pedophile during a pivotal summer of sexual exploration.
The writing is good; the reading, engaging; the book, ultimately unsatisfying. In addition to the coming-of-age story, there is the convict's own story, and there is the story of his murder victim. Too many stories for a short novel, and the occasional post-modern cuteness w/ reader and characters' identities doesn't make the exposition any deeper or more profound. The novel ends with what is surely a self-conscious imitation of Lolita's travelogue -- but so what? I have the feeling i must have missed something big -- but then, apparently so does the author, who has now published an "Appendix" to the novel (which I have not seen). I would be happy to receive enlightening comments.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint hearted, 13 Jan 2013
By 
Ilona Bell (York, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End Of Alice (Kindle Edition)
This story is disturbing and creepy and menacing but highly addictive! Similar to the classic Lolita, it's a story told through the eyes of a paedophile and despite the horrific issue faced in the book, the writing style is witty and clever and makes for a very interesting read.
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The End Of Alice
The End Of Alice by A.M. Homes
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