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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another strong novel from Palliser
Rustication is Charles Palliser's latest novel (published November, 2013). His first novel, The Quincunx, was published in 1989 and it was written in the style of Charles Dickens as a literary exercise, Palliser being at the time a lecturer in literature and creative writing. Quincunx is a masterpiece.

His latest novel, while not the masterpiece that Quincunx...
Published 5 months ago by P. McCLEAN

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Promises but doesn't deliver.
A pastiche of a Victorian novel which starts promisingly enough but the development isn't sustained. The plot, even by Victorian standards, is wildly improbable.There are so many twists and turns to the plot that this reader just felt irritated and didn't finish. Perhaps it might be better to go for the real thing, try Dickens!.
Published 1 month ago by Ms. Margaret M. Mcdermott


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another strong novel from Palliser, 19 Nov 2013
By 
P. McCLEAN (Dublin) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rustication: A Novel (Paperback)
Rustication is Charles Palliser's latest novel (published November, 2013). His first novel, The Quincunx, was published in 1989 and it was written in the style of Charles Dickens as a literary exercise, Palliser being at the time a lecturer in literature and creative writing. Quincunx is a masterpiece.

His latest novel, while not the masterpiece that Quincunx was, is still an interesting book and an enjoyable read. Its format is that of a journal written by a seventeen year old boy, Richard Shenstone, who has been rusticated by Cambridge University, i.e. "sent down", or more literally, "sent to the country", or in more modern terms, suspended from college as a punishment. The Journal spans the days from his arrival in his mother's house on 12th December 1863 to the culmination of events in the story on the 13th January 1864.

This story is a mystery and I will go into no more detail about the plot but I will comment on Palliser's skill at misdirection and obfuscation. Even in the final pages of the novel I was not sure how it was going to end.

Throughout the book the reader is fed the views and thoughts of the author of the journal and his journal entries purportedly record his interactions and conversations with other people in the district and within his family. As a reader I was constantly asking myself if I was dealing with an unreliable narrator, was the reportage accurate, was the journal an elaborate red herring, etc...

The book holds the attention but the pace is a little slow for the first one hundred pages but it picks up speed for the final chapters. This is the second Palliser novel I have read but I will certainly be reading his others.

This is a book I would love to discuss with someone who has read it but I do not want to give away too many details in this review as that would spoil the experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Promises but doesn't deliver., 21 Mar 2014
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Ms. Margaret M. Mcdermott (NOTTINGHAM ENGLAND) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rustication: A Novel (Hardcover)
A pastiche of a Victorian novel which starts promisingly enough but the development isn't sustained. The plot, even by Victorian standards, is wildly improbable.There are so many twists and turns to the plot that this reader just felt irritated and didn't finish. Perhaps it might be better to go for the real thing, try Dickens!.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unpalatable characters, 3 Mar 2014
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H. Lacroix (France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rustication: A Novel (Paperback)
Having read both 'the Quincux' and 'the Unburied' twice already (and thinking of reading' the Unburied' for a third time) it gives me no pleasure at all to write a negative review about 'Rustication'. I was so pleased to see that Charles Palliser had written another novel and I trusted it to be as brilliant as the other two had been. I bought it straight away and started reading the moment it arrived. Unfortunately 'Rustication' is in another league entirely and not the first league either. What irked me the most was the great number of utterly unpleasant characters. From Richard to his sister, his mum and all the village gossips we only read about selfishness, corruption,addiction, greed, cruelty, malicious meddling... The Shenstone household is a cross to bear for the reader indeed if we consider the all pervading hatred and bickering existing between siblings and their mother. The constant squabbling and repetitive conversations bored me to death and it was with a sigh of utter relief that I finally read the last word.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gothic and gripping, 1 Feb 2014
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Bookie (UK) - See all my reviews
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This book is a rare treat; one where the atmosphere is almost palpable within the first few pages. There's a real sense of menace and claustrophobia as the protagonist makes his way home on a dank, dark night. The cloistered confines are tangible as he enters a decrepit and dark house inhabited by a recently widowed mother, sister and maid. A family mystery builds layer by layer with revelations and dark hints about the reasons for the family's current state of penury and exclusion from polite society.

This is the first book I've read by Charles Palliser and I really enjoyed the narrative style; the linear plot moves forward by journal entries recounting significant events and thoughts. Small town introspection and suspicion are caught to perfection as we hear snippets of conversation and speculate about what's going on and why. There's a very strong sense of Victorian period with their grubby double standards and repressions running throughout as an undercurrents. The writing is elegant and the characters individual and convincing. There were shades of Mrs Gaskell at times, particularly in some of the attitudes and behaviours of the females. A number of satisfying mysteries and enough pace to keep me engrossed, so all in all a very satisfying read. I'm keen to read other books by this author after this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent slice of mock-Victoriana, 26 Jan 2014
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Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rustication: A Novel (Paperback)
Charles Palliser is about as far as you can get from those writers who churn out a book every few months: this isn't quite as good as The Quincunx or The Unburied but is another piece of superbly crafted mock-Victoriana.

Told in a series of journal entries written by 17 year old Richard who has been sent down from Cambridge, this has enormous fun with the creaking, dilapidated old mansion, dark family secrets, subversive sex, gossiping neighbours, and the quest for an inheritance with which it is concerned.

Saying the things that authentic Victorian novelists were forbidden to spell out, this is like the dark underbelly of Trollope's Barchester novels. Palliser writes with elegance and a nicely old-fashioned attention to character, voice and plot which is refreshing - hugely enjoyable.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Darkly Fascinating Literary Mystery, 7 Nov 2013
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At the heart of Palliser's "Rustication" is a series of anonymous, sexually charged letters (reminiscent in style of Jack the Ripper and/or the Edalji Case!) supposedly found by Palliser pasted into a mid-Victorian journal. Who wrote them, why, and to what eventual end forms a satisfying mystery, though one told by the most unreliable (and annoying to one and all) of narrators.

Anyone who pored over Palliser's great "Quincunx" will surely want to devour the much shorter "Rustication"; and anyone who enjoyed the author's "The Unburied" will find "Rustication" to be, in some particular senses, a "prequel" to that dark and foggy tale.

I had first reported a curiosity of the Kindle version - that the several hand written letters were were poorly reproduced, rendering them illegible in all but the brightest light. The author has had this problem promptly and wholly fixed, and the book now renders those letters in a bold italic, fully re-sizeable. The book dwells occasionally on the art of "lucubration", and ours will now be easier!

[Anyone who subscribes to Amazon 'Automatic Book Update' will find that the corrected version appears on their device as if by magic, as mine did this morning...]

AGB
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very clever, 26 Nov 2013
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The anti hero of this book is a rather foolish boy who is so easily deluded that his impressions of people veer headily from total trust and admiration to suspicion and loathing in the space of a day or two. As he fumbles his way through the complex machinations of his family and the residents of a small isolated village, constantly finding himself wrong about pretty much everything, we see the plot unfolding to its chilling end. An unusual and intriguing book I must say
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 26 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Rustication: A Novel (Paperback)
Terrific. Palliser is an author entirely unknown to me (I'm sorry to say) and this was a very welcome surprise. A bit of a random pick, this is a beautifully executed, evocative book. It is very atmospheric (and persuasive), the characterisation is first rate. Most of all, though, I applaud the plotting and wrap up/conclusion. So often books like this disappoint, the author either not knowing where they are going with their story or really unable to come up with a convincing resolution. As a result we are left often with tedious lazy literary ambiguity. Not so here.

Reviewers say his previous work The Quincunx is a masterpiece. A bit hefty at 800 pages but I will definitely have a go on the basis of this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great read- almost, 18 April 2014
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Julaka (Norfolk, UK) - See all my reviews
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Pity about the ending. I like closure and I'm a sucker for happy endings. I didn't get that- sorry 4 not 5 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read, 3 April 2014
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Once started, I could hardly put this book down. A dark and complex plot cleverly entices the reader through unexpected developments and a wide variety of vividly portrayed characters in Victorian England. The ending is unpredictable but similar in some respects to the author’s best-selling first novel The Quincunx. In a way I preferred the leaner style of this later novel but unlike the Quincunx, would not recommend Rustication for children.
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