- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1273 KB
- Print Length: 545 pages
- Publisher: Thrust Books (17 Jan. 2012)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B006ZSVMKS
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,496,428 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Life as a Literary Device Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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I enjoyed the way the book is structured, moving back and forth in time, and having my intellect stimulated.
I also loved the survival tips, which were interesting and thought-provoking. One of these suggests re-reading familiar books from childhood, which can be calming and reassuring at low points. How true. This form of bibliotherapy rekindles happy memories and nostalgic thoughts, as we also associate the actual text we are re-reading with the circumstances in which it was read. I count myself lucky that my dearly loved, late, mother used to read to my brother and I when we were very young, while we were snuggled up in bed, and this helped to nurture my love of books, leading to many hours spent reading under the covers by torchlight when the rest of the house was asleep.
I liked the advice "Relax about tomorrow and just see it as gathering information for your survivor's guide." Yes, life is a survivor's guide, a giant research project, as we accrue the knowledge and experience that will guide us on the journey. [...]
One senses it relates to a woman in Edinburgh, though he doesn't go on about it - perhaps because of respect for his children. A contributing reason could be that he is mentally unable write about it - at least not yet. Writing, after all, is emotion recollected in tranquillity.
It's a beautifully written book, his comic talents so manifest in his thirties now offset by a sadder, more mature sensibility. My favourite parts are his sharp observations about provincial aspects of England and Scotland.
Listening to the World Service in his native Kharkov of the early 1970s, he had dreams about a perfect Britain as the counterpoint to the dreary, dirty and chauvinistic USSR he grew up in: he still loves London, but some of his observations about the rest of the country where he was stuck during his "Eclipse years" reminded me of Paul Theroux's Kingdom By the Sea.
That book's most famous review read "Not to be read by patriots with high blood pressure".
"Puffing up High Street towards the area's only open corner shop, I couldn't help thinking of how different the real Edinburgh appeared from its cool festival-inspired stereotype. Irvine Welsh has claimed that the Scottish capital was a desert outside the festival with some of the biggest drugs and child poverty related problems in Europe. On the eve of our move out of London. I chose to dismiss his words as literary hyperbole. But the flesh and blood child poverty problem, multiplied by two, was now stumbling towards me - smoking, drinking beer and chewing a battered mars bar.
"[In Edinburgh] it rained 25 hours a day, and the evening air was thick and sticky like haggis. Rare pedestrians looked sullen and flat like crude mannequins in the dusty windows of a charity shop.
"...Many things are deceptively similar to London: Sainsbury's and M&S, double deckers and fluffy old ladies (`God's dandelions' is a good Russian expression) speaking to shop attendants in a posh London accent, but the street crowd was duller, and, compared to London, Edinburgh felt very small."
End of quote. He also describes Folkestone as a place where only the tattoo parlour prospered, and where the local paper ran a regular photo column called `"Dumped car of the week".
The seafood sold on the deserted sea front promenade, he was told, was actually minced lamb in disguise.
It's a capacious and open-structured work. On his journey back from his personal and professional crisis there are scenes with Yevtushenko, accounts of a visit to the Falklands, an analysis of football under totalitarianism, advice on the art of writing, and much else.
One is never bored in his company, and one comes out a little wiser about many things.
This patchwork of bite-sized connected memories takes the reader through place and time. One minute you could be on Mount Athos, the next in Moscow.
There are survival tips for life (STs), and tips for writers (be a director of first impressions!).
You will learn something and you may even start to see your life as a hunt for little treasures.