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The Most Beautiful Thing Paperback – 23 Feb 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Woodsmoke Press (23 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0957158408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957158405
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 418,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Finding the beauty in dysfunction is a hard task but Fiona Robyn has managed to achieve just that. Her characters are warm and engaging and I quickly grew very fond of Joe, in spite of (or maybe even because of) his imperfections. Now I've finished the book I find that I miss him.

The story unfolds languidly, which isn't to say that the plot is slow, more that there is a pleasurably relaxed flow to it. Indeed, I completely lost myself in it for some time, then "came to" and had almost forgotten that I wasn't actually a voyeur in Amsterdam.

There is a whole gamut of emotion here: tenderness, frustration, humour, anger, all cleverly captured in language that demonstrates clearly without being obvious. A classic example of show, don't tell. There are unexpected twists and the final reveal (and the reason for the title) had me in tears, mourning the loss of something that never really was coupled with regret that it could never be.

I loved this book. I will read it many more times.
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I love contemporary fiction and I have to admit I didn't know whether I really liked this book until about 3/4 of the way through. It's worth reading to the end and not giving up if you feel this way. The writing technique is different, it gives you the minutes and doesn't cut to the action/emotion. It drags things out as real life does. Like a documentary only more honest. By doing this the impact is greater. There are no twists (well, none that you won't have guessed), no hilarity, no great emotion, except that which you will feel yourself, it ekes it out of you rather than manipulates it from you. It's very well done and I congratulate the writer.
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This was the first novel I have read by this author and I look forward to backtracking....it was a very moving read.

Joe, who is just 14 yrs old when we meet him and engage with him at his Aunts place in Amsterdam, quickly endears himself speaking directly and openly to us. The relationship which develops between the reader and Joe inevitably becomes intimate.
As with a previous reviewer I made the assumption that Joe has autism (from various clues) but even later in the book this is never clarified. Is it important to know? No I think I agree with Fiona Robins. Labels can be insidious. I enjoy meeting this boy, who moves into manhood, with his own unique personality and without prejudgment. In my opinion this was the message of the novel. Joe is different but so are you and so am I. Let us love one another because of our differences - not in spite of them.

Fiona writes with great perception and sensitivity. Intense observational skills and an eye for detail kept my attention and interest.
You won't be disappointed!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Most Beautiful Thing does what all good novels should do: it explores an aspect of the human condition. The protagonist, Joe, is a young man who has been psychologically damaged by the actions of others, and the reader is invited to travel with Joe as he struggles to come to terms with the past. With well-drawn characters, some beautiful descriptions and great sensitivity, Ms Robyn has dealt with a difficult subject with insight and skill. The Most Beautiful Thing is a book which I am very glad to have read.
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Format: Paperback
The Most Beautiful Thing This finely crafted novel is certainly the most beautiful thing I've read for a long time. It's a book of two halves, both set in Amsterdam, both about Joe, first as a teenager and then, fifteen years later, as an adult. In saying this, I am only describing the barest bones : Robyn has the skill and maturity of insight to deck the skeleton with flesh aplenty.As a fourteen year old, Joe finds adult behaviour frighteningly irrational,and takes refuge in obsessive rituals and obscure interests like meteorology. As an adult, he thaws a little,learns to love unashamedly, and realises that there's more to life than meets the eye of logic. Because family secrets are only gradually unveiled for Joe, the book is a real page-turner and reads in part like a psychological thriller.What sets this lovely book apart, is the author's love, unsentimental and profound, for all her characters. She has John Updike's eye for the scintillating detail, the sheen on a piece of paper as it is picked up, the sound of an aircraft engine engaging reverse thrust,the ominous odours which lurk beneath a teenage lad's sheets, savoured only by himself. Such detail is never gratuitous or trivial:it establishes the sheer, adorable materiality of her characters, brings them alive inside author and reader.There are tinges of Adrian Mole in Robyn's portrayal of the young Joe, but the novel has a depth and resonance, and has both more 'darkness' and more 'light', than this comment might suggest.Oddly, perhaps, Joe's 'everyboy' ( and then 'everyman') quality reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse Five . His heroism is not of the same order as Billy's ( he only has to endure the firestorm of his own emotions, not the firebombing of Dresden), but heroism, in the hands of this supremely talented writer, it most certainly is.
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Format: Paperback
I don't read that many novels but I couldn't put this one down: probably the best praise I could give this kind of book. Buy it, you will love it.

Fiona Robyn really brought the characters to life and I wanted to find out what happened to all of them. . . .I couldn't believe it when I thought one of the main characters had died - fortunately a false alarm. I enjoyed watching Joe grow up and beginning to make sense of the adult world and reading Robyn's description's of his adolescent struggles.

I am already looking forward to the next book!
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