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My Little Armalite Paperback – 6 Aug 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (6 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099513250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099513254
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 694,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Hawes has developed into a prolifically inventive and increasingly subtle satirist. Though the current novel features all his regular trademarks - black humour, sharp dialogue and a plot that goes off with all guns blazing in every respect - one senses that this book is also Hawes's homage to one of the great academic satires of the last century, Malcolm Bradbury's The History Man" (Guardian)

"Very witty... Both laddish and slyly intelligent, Hawes has his cake and eats it" (Daily Telegraph)

"Terrific black satire" (Toby Clements Daily Telegraph)

"Hawes scatters pellets of satirical wit on the twitchy paranoia of the ageing liberal" (Arena)

Review

`Hawes has developed into a prolifically inventive and increasingly subtle satirist. Though the current novel features all his regular trademarks - black humour, sharp dialogue and a plot that goes off with all guns blazing in every respect - one senses that this book is also Hawes's homage to one of the great academic satires of the last century, Malcolm Bradbury's The History Man'
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
You could probably read this little book in one long sitting, and really annoy everyone around you with your barely-suppressed chuckling as you did so.

Hawes skewers the chattering classes' liberal sensibilities in an playful, affectionate way, and manages to tell a pretty interesting and amusing story while he's at it.

One note - there's a secret sticker on the cover that's so subtle I didn't notice it was there until my daughter peeled it off. Make sure you find yours!
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By A. Ross TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 April 2016
Format: Paperback
In the late '90s I stumbled across, and loved, Hawes' first novel (A White Merc with Fins). But I didn't care much for his second book (Rancid Aluminum), so I kind of forgot about him for a decade. Casting about for something new to read, I remembered him and decided to take a flutter on this one. The premise of a middle-aged academic discovering the titular military rifle in his back yard, with wacky antics ensuing, sounded like it had potential. Alas, I didn't really connect with the satire that results. The story is basically a send-up of reflexively liberal Guardian-reading academics of a certain age, who feel under siege by the modern marketplace and neoliberal imperialism, and like to whine about it.

The story takes place over the course of a few days when the protagonist's wife has taken the kids away on a holiday so that he can focus on finishing the Very Important Paper he is slated to deliver in a week. This paper that could be the resurrection of his creaking career, which has been adrift since the revelation that the East German poet that he championed and made his reputation on was actually a major in the KGB, spying on dissident artists. In any event, procrastinating from his writing leads him to a little night-time gardening, which leads him to the gun, and then in turn, a boozing session with a thuggish neighborhood watch type, a ride into the teeming streets of late-night London revelers, a scary visit to Peckham, and then a whirlwind trip to Prague and Dresden. Wacky antics do indeed, ensure -- they're just not necessarily all that amusing.

The best part of the book is his trip to Prague, where he books a session of instruction at a local gun club, where he is shepherded by a an ex-Sarajevan Muslim, who explains the world to him. But all in all, the satire is just too broad, the protagonist too unlikeable, and the plot twists too silly, for me to really enjoy the book.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book. Well-written, funny, spot-on in its satire of our up-itself so-called 'liberal' culture. It should be required reading for everyone who reads 'The Paper' too!

Together with 'Crump' this is my favourite satirical novel of the academic, 'metro-liberal', chattering classes of the last decade. Great fun!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So what next after you're planting a plum tree in SE London and something very unexpected happens?
This is one of my all time best books. So witty and original and a very good expose of hypocrisy. I bought several copies to give to my friends and they loved it as much as I did.
James Hawes cannot write a boring sentence.
I've downloaded other books of his which are available on kindle and I'm looking forward to reading them.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good read.
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