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Hearts And Minds Paperback – 4 Feb 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (4 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349115877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349115870
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

** 'This is a novel written with passion and moral outrage. It is a vivid portrait of a city that is at once familiar and disconcertingly strange (THE TIMES Joan Smith)

** 'Rich, Dickensian (SUNDAY TIMES Penny Perrick)

** 'She is a humane writer as well a waspish one and it is the plight of London's migrant workers and sink-school pupils with which she is primarily concerned here, and her passion and care are affecting (OBSERVER Lisa O’Kelly)

** 'There is much in HEARTS AND MINDS to praise . . . The book displays the author's relentless compassion. A large kindness overarches the novel (GUARDIAN Stevie Davies)

Review

'This is a novel written with passion and moral outrage. It is a vivid portrait of a city that is at once familiar and disconcertingly strange' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just bought Hearts and Minds and am absolutely immersed. Touches on so much I am familiar with through work and patients that Amanda Craig has managed to represent with mind-blowing authenticity.

This is a world so real, not just in its finely observed details locations but the sights we see on the streets - traffic jams, hijab-wearing groups and women with buggies - to the dark crevices where trafficked Eastern European girls are stowed and abused, just a few floors beneath a young American woman working for a society magazine. The breadth of Craig's reach is immense and incisive even in passing, a S. African cab driver, an Asian anti-immigration doctor, the misuse of the NHS - the juggling and jostling of so many warring views that make one, albeit sometimes grudgingly, let in a shred of understanding of an an opposing view. And it's this maelstrom that is today's London, sweeping up the human detritus and elite, the whole range of colour and sound and silence that keeps the thoughts whirling throughout.

Amanda abandons the too-precious rules set by cautious publishers who demand a limited number of voices and gives us a cacophony; she ignores the commandment on a limited number of characters, plunging us instead into whole populations; a rough inner-city school , a car-wash consisting of of African, Asian, English workers, owners, clients, each one with a personality that comes through the briefest encounter; she disregards the edict of connecting and bringing together these many groups quickly to provide the the reader with easy connections and latch on to a central narrative.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I absolutely loved this book. I'm much more a reader of non-fiction because I always think, there's so much about the world I don't yet know and journalism is what will help me understand it. "Hearts and Minds" is one of those rare novels that does that job as well or better than any correspondent from war, migration or poverty could ever do. Amanda Craig has a very distinctive voice and the characters are so real and the worlds they occupy so compelling that I couldn't put it down. If you want to be introduced in novel format to the world also described "This Is London", by Ben Judah, this book will do it.

I think it's the greatest novel I've ever read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Craig tells a dark tale with a twisting plot and dramatic turns that consistently enthrall. Her picture of 21st century London is detailed, witty, broad and colourful. Her social satire is biting, her savaging of the media astute. A rich addition to the capital's literary canon.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I lost Hearts and Minds half way through due to a house move, and had that terrible hungry feeling until I refound it at the bottom of box. Then I could not put it down or let it out of my sight in case it vanished again. I reread a whole lot I had read before, and enjoyed it even more second time - desperate to find out what happened to the complex cast of London characters - most of whom had arrived from somewhere else or, if not them, then their forebears. I love Craig's descriptive prose, she is particularly good on how London strikes all the senses: the transition of sky from day into evening, the effect of rain on pavements, trees, and London landmarks, which made me 'look' at them again. I read those passages more than once. Masses of felicitous phrases. Lots of interesting and gripping plot - although I wanted to know a lot more about Iryna and her sister Galina and what exactly happened there and why - but then I love detective fiction. I liked Katie's story, and the way she reacted to the poor little girl she rescues, and found it sympathetic and interesting without it being overstated. The passages about the Rambler magazine were amusing - brought back memories of the discomfort and weird politician-spotting of rammed Spectator summer parties. There are plenty of good jokes too, even in the darker passages. Really a compelling read about contemporary London that sets out to entertain and reveal, and succeeds brilliantly.
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Format: Paperback
Hearts and Minds enthralled me. The over-riding theme is the effect of immigrants, both legal and illegal, on modern-day life and how individual responses to this phenomenon define and challenge different people in different ways. The lives of six characters (five being human, the other London) are intertwined in an uncontrived manner. The five characters hail from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ukraine, USA and England respectively. As a South African, I particularly loved the insight the writer has into subtle aspects of our country. This is unusual as in my experience only South African writers manage to capture these nuances. Even the fact that one character claims, incorrectly, that white people cannot work as teachers in schools in SA because of their colour, it is true that many white people do talk this way. (The facts are that despite affirmative action only 5% of whites are unemployed while 40% of blacks are unemployed).

The other aspect I loved about the characters is that they are so human and so real; Polly is a human rights lawyers and believes fervently in her cause; helping those who deserve asylum and trying to prevent their deportation yet she is not "goody-goody" or perfect; the reader is privy to all her insecurities and also frivolities. Job, the Zimbabwean, is a very good person but he also strays. The outsider view on the English as expressed in different ways by the characters is also very insightful and amusing. London too is a character in this novel; not glorified or prettified but shown as big, bustling, impatient, exclusionary, grimy but also pretty and village-like at times.

The storyline is compelling, I could not put it down but it is by no means one of those formulaic page-turners that I despise.
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