Customer Review

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars moments of genius, but inconsistent, 11 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: Lights Out in Wonderland (Paperback)
Like thousands of other readers, I thought Vernon God Little was a fantastic book. I never bothered with his second as it sounded like the archetypal "difficult second novel", but was excited to hear about Lights Out and full of anticipation. I didn't take to the opening, which put me in mind of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (a much better book overall), but once our narrator left these shores for Tokyo I was taken in and for the most part I enjoyed the ride.

Some of DBC Pierre's insights are brilliant, if sometimes a little out of place. The trip round Ikea should ring a bell with anoyone who has had to endure that particular shopping experience, but receieved a peculiarly large amount of coverage. However, one of my favourite passages, where the world economy is likened to a space rocket where a fortunate few are in the tiny cockpit being propelled to Stratospehric heights while the rest of us merely make up the huge fuel pods and are jettisoned along the way, is such a brilliant analogy to my mind that I have quoted it several times to friends since.

I also thought the choice of the Templehof airport as the location for much of the book was inspired, but sadly the climatic orgiastic banquet stretched my imagination just too far and I couldn't be bothered to read the recipes beyond reading what the bizarre key ingredients were.

In summary, for me the middle two thirds of this book are very good, but the beginning and end, so important for those key impressions, let it down.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Mar 2011 03:32:27 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Mar 2011 03:37:58 GMT
D. Davis says:
I'm glad I read this review. I had already bought the book and had started to read it. The book, so far, is terrible. The use of language is strained and repetitive. For example, he seems to use decadent on every page; twice on some. Then there are the obscure references to ancient Greece and Rome, and in particular their subcultures. Like I said: it seems strained and out of place. I often got the feeling that he ran an automated thesaurus over the text and replaced all those words which had a longer equivalent. Maybe he was being paid by the letter?

I was on the cusp of abandoning this book. However, having read your review, I shall give it time to grow on me. Hopefully, as you mentioned, the story will improve as it progresses. I hope to God that he stops using the word decadent. It really has become grating.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Jul 2011 17:26:32 BDT
Burak Alpar says:
I just finished the book yesterday and I find myself agreeing with the original reviewer. The first part of the book felt like it was trying too hard with a cast of characters I had little interest in. But once it moved on to Tokyo the story really came to life and I suddenly found myself gripped by the story and the writing.

I'd agree that this book inconsistent, but the good bits are great and I'm so glad I stuck with it.

Posted on 17 Nov 2011 21:45:15 GMT
Initially I was in the struggling category and your review made me hold with it - especially as Tokyo was pages away - thank you.

Posted on 21 Nov 2011 10:20:09 GMT
ms paradise says:
How odd, I was just lightly browsing, having just read the book and trying to order my thoughts. Your review, Nail, said exactly what I would have written, including the best quote being the space rocket. I read that yesterday morning and was quoting it to others by the evening!
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