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Customer Review

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing, clever work, 17 May 2007
This review is from: Black Hole (Hardcover)
Black Hole is a book about adolescents in an American town, who suffer from a strange disease which causes mutations in their appearance. Instead of just making this a trite metaphor for puberty, Burns runs with the concept and makes it an important part of the world he creates where the characters run from home and go to live with hippies and drug dealers or camp out in the woods, afraid of the world they have run from.

I read Black Hole over two Spring evenings at the park. After the first half of the book I felt disappointed because it seemed like nothing especially interesting had happened and what had happened was too slow and unclear (several of the characters look similar). However, beyond the half way point, everything falls into place and the character focus becomes a bit sharper with you caring about the fates of certain people in the book and feeling angry about how they are treated. It may spend a while setting the scene, but when the plot gets going and the character relationships develop, it becomes a fascinating work and impossible to put down. I particularly like the way that violence is for a long time absent from the story then strikes suddenly and shockingly.

I do feel that the book could have been edited down and better presented. Although the art style is nice-looking and Burns is highly skilled at facial expressions and body language, I did feel at times it was generic and inarticulate - there were only very few points in the book where I felt compelled to stop my flow and step back to admire the composition of a scene. The overall atmosphere that the style creates is powerful though, with a concentration of black which makes you feel at times that it's not black ink on a white page, but white struggling to partition the depth of darkness - particularly menacing and effective in the scenes that take place in the woods.

Black Hole is a thrilling and intelligent work which may be a one-shot read but is a great read, nonetheless.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Jun 2011 21:10:39 BDT
daneastwell says:
This book is an indispensible classic, it's a shame that it is so underrepresented by the reviews here, which seem vague and hand-wavey, as if complaining that a Turner painting is a 'bit blurry' or uses 'too much yellow'. Please read and enjoy this book, and I encourage readers to return to it.
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Location: Northampton, UK

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