on 21 November 2007
This is the book you want to read when you know you really need a good laugh and a fun, enjoyable read but don't want to feel your brain slowly dying as you read it. Michael Tobert hits just the right balance of intelligent, informed writing and a deft touch with humour. The premise is the right kind of absurdist and he easily draws you in with his characters and skillfully comedic literary style. I would certainly recommend this as either excellent travel reading or as a great Christmas gift.
on 20 December 2010
Crisis in the golfing world as The August and Venerable Golf Club of St Magnus faces its biggest threat ever.
The action is firmly anchored on the windswept East Coast of Fife, exposed to icy blasts from across the North Sea, and peopled by golfers and committee stalwarts. If Tiger Woods had been a character in this book, the plot would have been quite different (and shorter!)
The funniest thing I have read in a while. Do buy it
on 25 November 2007
Why is it we always so much enjoy books like this? Because you know you're on familiar terrain straight away--the English language has been doing this sort of stuff brilliantly for a long time now--and you can comfortably settle into it when Michael Tobert treats you to his funny, clever, learned, human and surprising take on the genre. Which one? The nonsense one, the one that probably began with Tristam Shandy, whose special blend of splashy understatement comes to mind easily when reading The Mating Call. Fortunately, he knows what he is doing with his bird; Tobert serves her up adroitly, with a light touch and the type of pathos that makes you think he is probably a nice human being.When was the last time you read a book where the premise was that the girl must do it for the first time before she turns 18, or the town's August and Venerable Golf Institution changes hands? And that in a story that shows off more knowledge of Sanskrit, the alimentary habits of Monty the python, Scottish country dancing, Horatius Cocles and Hans Brinkers, mashie niblicks and fishcakes, than you can swing a golf club at. The story breezes along, the subplots are woven together nicely, and along the way the author nods his head at many literary style-examples found in the canon. Sterne, Fielding and Austen, but also Waugh, Wodehouse and Wilson (and Woody Allen and Igmar Bergman) would feel right at home with what Tobert is up to in his story.You get funny dialogues and well-caught types (if you've ever exercised, you know Fiona the instructor), almost every page offers a witty observation (who thinks about Darwin vs. Wallace?), the sentences are polished with attention to detail that keeps it all alive.
So, there's not much wrong with this, the story is silly and light-hearted yet `eru-lite' and full of good stuff. Appealing to golfers, India lovers and knowledgeable readers, in short the type of people who populate and visit St. Magnus/Andrews, and quite a few others as well.