38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Patronising and smug,
This review is from: The Other Hand (Paperback)
Few books make me want to lob them across the room in frustration but for me this one had several lobbable moments which ruined the whole reading experience.
I enjoyed Incendiary, Cleave's first novel, but The Other Hand is so uttely disappointing that I will probably never read his work again. For me the book started badly when it became clear that it was an Incendiary rip-off. It's as if Cleave struggled to find a fresh plot for the second book that his publisher demanded of him by deadline day so he pilfered the twists and turns that worked in his first effort. Mother of a young boy? Check. Dead husband? Check. Disillusioned journalists? Check.
It got worse with the dialogue. Stilted, unrealistic and clearly the indulgent imaginings of the author, there were lines in there that I had to disbelievingly read several times before aforesaid lobbing. The worst was where Sarah (naturally, the bereaved mother and disillusioned journalist) claimed to have glowed so much from her extra-marital affair that she tried to hide her new-found loveliness with foundation. It was her self-proclaimed joie de vive, don't you know. Oh, come on! And what about the title of the magazine? And Sarah's believe that her colleague is unfulfilled because she doesn't have a child? And how she is protrayed as a strong, driven woman but every other line of dialogue contains a permutation of "Oh my God, I don't know what's wrong with me/ what to do/ how to fart straight!"
And yes, the editor's note at the start is bewildering. It builds up the book way beyond anything it can actually deliver and I suspect the ed penned it to counteract the poor reviews it would receive. When she asks you not to tell your friends what it is about she really means that she'd prefer you to keep your gob shut about how awful the book actually is.
Seriously, I so rarely write book reviews but this one has been gnawing at me. Why? Because all the hype about the book is just way off beam. It really is Emperor's new clothes territory. Just don't be fooled by it, OK?