4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant. Funny, disturbing, thought-provoking,
By A Customer
This review is from: Barcelona Plates (Hardcover)
Not what you'd expect from Alexei Sayle perhaps, (well, not quite what I expected). I'd always suspected he was very intelligent and this book really confirms that. He is also such an acute observer : he looks at characters with such a clear eye. They jump fully-formed from the page. They are all very specifically located - the place descriptions are short but very successful - you feel you are there. The stories are gripping and funny but quite often disturbingly nasty. My favourites were the opening one "Barcelona Plates" which is sort of about how boring it can be being on holiday and also what it would be like to be a totally different person; "Last Woman Killed in the War" is , I think, a masterpiece. It's funny but also made me cry. (I noticed the guy who reviewed it in "The Times" thought it was a masterpiece too!) It's about how times change and one generation's sin is the commonplace of the next generation. When I was a teenager it was a disgrace to get pregnant outside marriage - it could literally ruin your life and thousands of poor girls were pressurised into giving their babies away. Alexei has a wonderful insight into that and into how attitudes have changed. I also thought "Minister for Death" was brilliant. So different - an old age pensioner who is a hired killer. Once a hard case, always a hard case. So in summary, I would say these stories are all very different. I would be surprised if, like me, people did not have favourites. But I liked the entire book and would 100% recommend it.