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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Theo: A Novella
This is the first time I've read anything by this author and I was impressed. John Elliott is vicar of the church of St Joseph somewhere in the North East of England. He has a small and apparently unchanging congregation and nothing he does seems to increase the numbers and he does not altogether believe he has a vocation. Then he meets an unusual small boy - the Theo...
Published 16 months ago by Damaskcat

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars ok
I couldn't understand the ending but it was interesting to read the book as it was very different in concept
Published 8 months ago by sian williamson


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Theo: A Novella, 24 Dec 2012
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Theo: A Novella (Kindle Edition)
This is the first time I've read anything by this author and I was impressed. John Elliott is vicar of the church of St Joseph somewhere in the North East of England. He has a small and apparently unchanging congregation and nothing he does seems to increase the numbers and he does not altogether believe he has a vocation. Then he meets an unusual small boy - the Theo of the title - and his life starts to unravel before his eyes.

I found this short read somewhat sinister but I found I had to keep reading to find out what happened. There is a lot which is unexplained and left to the reader's imagination which intensifies the strange atmosphere. I am not keen on anything written in the present tense which is why I have not given it five stars but apart from that I thought the novella well written. It has interesting themes of madness, death and redemption and it left me wondering what would happen to John Elliot and his wife Christine after the end of the story.

This novella comes with the first three chapters of the author's latest book - Light Shining in the Forest - which features some of the characters from Theo: A Novella. I think I shall be reading that at some point as I enjoyed this novella.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Theo: A Novella, 21 Dec 2012
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Theo: A Novella (Kindle Edition)
Once again, Paul Torday has written a thought provoking and, slightly disturbing, novella - this time with a theme relevant to the Christmas season.

John Elliott is the vicar of the Church of St Joseph of Arimathea. Along with his wife, Christine, he hosts coffee mornings and tries to enlarge his congregation, which consists of sixteen elderly regulars. Both John and Christine are questioning whether this is a worthwhile prospect. Meanwhile, lead is stripped from the church roof and the young only appear for christenings or weddings. Christine is a teacher at a local school, where the headteacher tries to keep the vicar at bay. However, one day Christine asks him to help organise a football match and, it is there that he meets Theo - a young boy who has a most unsettling effect on him. As John is plagued by dreams and feelings of fear, he goes to visit Alfred Stone, the former vicar, who is now a patient at St Mark's hospital for the mentally well. "What if it is all true?" Stone asks. Indeed, what if it is? Does John really believe and are his beliefs being questioned? Why did Alfred Stone have a breakdown and does he understand what John is going through?

This short novella really packs a lot into a few pages. The place of religion in our society and how much it really means, even to those, such as John and his small congregation, is questioned without mercy. Torday shines a light on our true beliefs and how religion is represented in todays society within this excellent novella.

The end of the book has a taster of his forthcoming novel, Light Shining in the Forest. Personally, I never read samples of books, but this is definitely one I have on pre-order. If you enjoy this novella, then you may also like a previous novella Torday wrote, Breakfast at the Hotel Déjà vu: A Novella, as well as his many novels. He really is a writer who never disappoints and I recommend this highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Theo: A Novella, 29 Jan 2013
By 
Mrs. B. Bromley "Boni Bromley" (London England) - See all my reviews
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Excellent kindle reading. This book I would definitely recommend to my friends. Paul Torday is one of my favourite authors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Abrupt Ending, 18 Jan 2014
By 
Mrs. J. S. Godfrey "Bookworm" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Theo: A Novella (Kindle Edition)
A kind of OK book but a bit strange. The ending was abrupt - a good ending but with loose ends. We'll never know what happened to Theo now.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good taster, 14 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Theo: A Novella (Kindle Edition)
I tried this novella as a taster (it's a side story to Torday's novel Light Shining in the Forest) and it immediately had me intrigued. Set in the North East close to the Scottish border, a local boy begins to manifest signs of stigmata on his hands that then disappear. The novella is taken from the viewpoint of the local priest who is baffled and disturbed by this - and causes a crisis in his life.
It made me download the full novel straight afterwards!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good short read, 23 Nov 2013
This review is from: Theo: A Novella (Kindle Edition)
Very good,Paul Torday at his best,good character building
Small list of characters but do not want to have to remember too many names
Wanted a quick read after reading previous book and this did the job
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3.0 out of 5 stars ok, 24 July 2013
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This review is from: Theo: A Novella (Kindle Edition)
I couldn't understand the ending but it was interesting to read the book as it was very different in concept
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5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting tale, 19 May 2013
By 
Mary Penwarden (Kent) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Theo: A Novella (Kindle Edition)
Having just read, and been mesmerized by, PaulTorday's novel 'The girl on the landing' I approached his novella 'Theo' with anticipation. I read it at one sitting and was gripped from the first page. Torday writes brilliantly and creates both unease and belief in his characters for his readers.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good for a while, 15 May 2013
By 
George Macleod (Guardamar, Spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Theo: A Novella (Kindle Edition)
I am an admirer of Paul Torday and enjoyed this book until the penultimate page. I turned the page and the book was finished and it was as if the author had run out of ideas. The end is sudden and I think unsatisfactory - but still good upto that point.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant prequel, 13 May 2013
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As a book it stands on its own as a dark and atmospheric read. It is a prequel to the "main" novel Light shining in the Forest and certainly brings the book to life when you read that. Buy them both and read them straight after each other.
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Theo: A Novella
Theo: A Novella by Paul Torday
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