Cold Water Paperback – 2 May 2002
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An extraordinary first novel from a highly promotable 22-year-old.
An extraordinary first novel from a highly promotable 22-year-old.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
To be critical, there's not enough of it! I like books with minimal plots, but this is more like reading a snapshot of someone's life than a novel: the ending is completely unsatisfying as it doesn't really go anywhere, and the narrator doesn't change at all. The writing is strong so I might forgive this if it wasn't coupled with a very bizarre moment that doesn't really make sense and is never properly explained.
A good read, but needs to go much further.
Cold Water is a short novel at less than 150 pages long, but every word is purposefully written, nothing is superfluous or unnecessary. Some readers might perhaps find it a tad boring, but with this book you have to read between the lines, and I found that the inactivity and inertia of the main characters actually spoke volumes and affected me more than other novels in a similiar vein which purposely set out to shock (such as Helen Walsh's Brass, which failed to impress me).
For such a young novelist, I think Riley shows great talent and promise and I look forward to seeing how her work develops over time.
I started Cold Water, forgetting the comments made here and starting with a fresh mind but I was a bit upset that the reviewers here really arent kidding- this book is pretty horrible in places. Riley's character of the disaffected bar worker is unconvincing and unlikeable... In fact all of the characters are unconvincing and it all wreaks of nasty romantic images which simply dont work in the gloriously idealistic way that is obviously intended.
The whole process of developing a sense of place is poor. Riley name drops various places in and around Manchester constantly and it immediately lacks a genuine sense of setting. Its alright if you, like me, know the places mentioned, but unfamiliar readers are going to get lost in Riley's attempts to really use setting to effect. Yes, Manchester is depicted as a romantically dour rainy town and whether or not you agree won't matter while you endure main character Carmel's hideously self-indulgent thoughts juxtaposed with watery and indecisive tones that jump from the gritty to the rose-tinted with little subtlety.
Why does it deserve three stars? Well, from about page 120-142 (I wont spoil what happens) it all of a sudden (and somewhat mysteriously) becomes quite a pleasure to read until the final few pages when it all goes wrong again.
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I dont think its a matter of it not being 'my thing' because I read books of a similar type and all I see here is something that smacks of someone sitting down, writing a book and chucking in all the ingredients without any real thought (the other reviewers dont lie!).
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