17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Mo's back better than ever,
This review is from: Pure (Hardcover)
I didn't read Timothy Mo's last two books but as an admirer of his earlier work - shortlisted for the Booker Prize 3 times in the 1980s - I thought I would try this one and found it a delight. It's tremendous, certainly as good as any of his previous books - some may say better as it moves along at such a pace. Set predominantly in Thailand and in the Philippines, it's centred around the battle for secession in the Muslim regions of southern Thailand and Mindanao. It's narrated for the most part by Snooky, a Thai Ladyboy of great wit and presence, who is cajoled into joining a mujahedeen `pondok' to spy on their activities on behalf of the Thai police and the British government. Populated by young Thais under the tutelage of an alarming bunch of Imams, their leader, Shaykh - or `Milk Shaykh' as Snooky nicknames him - is on a mission to set up a new Caliphate in S E Asia. A strange concept indeed for a novel you might well think but in Mo's masterful hands this tale of fundamentalist idealism is not only hugely entertaining but covers a deeply serious subject - 5000 people have been slaughtered in S Thailand over the last 7 or 8 years. Courageous, comedic and yet with a extremely important message, Pure is beautifully written and I would strongly recommend it. If you haven't read Mo before, this is as good a place to start as any.
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Initial post: 10 Jul 2012 17:14:21 BDT
I'm just over half way through and really struggling; I virtually never give up on a book but this is testing me. I don't really believe in or care about the characters and its relentless prolixity just tires you out. Big, important themes - yes, but "beautifully written"? A disappointment, as 'Sour Sweet' is an all-time favourite.
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