The Picture of Contented New Wealth: a Metaphysical Horror (Zero Books) Paperback – 3 Sep 2009
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A pacy, poised and undeniably exciting debut...a teat bleakly humorous, well written adventure --Boyd Tonkin, Independent<br /><br />Goddard's eye is for irony and disaster, a potent thriller, driven by unravelling the neuroses of his characters as much as by uncovering the politics behind their predicament. --Observer<br /><br />Goddard's highly impressive debut mixes a black comic tone reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino and Graham Greene, a cracking good read. --Mail on Sunday
Goddard's eye is for irony and disaster, a potent thriller, driven by unravelling the neuroses of his characters as much as by uncovering the politics behind their predicament. --Observer
Goddard's highly impressive debut mixes a black comic tone reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino and Graham Greene, a cracking good read. --Mail on Sunday
About the Author
Tariq Goddard was born in London in 1975. He read Philosophy at King's College London, and Continental Philosophy at The University of Warwick and the University of Surrey. In 2002 his first novel, 'Homage to Firing Squad' was nominated for the Whitbread (Costa) Prize and the Wodehouse-Bollinger Comic Writing Award. He was included as one of Waterstones "Faces of the Future", and the novel, whose film rights were sold, was listed as one of the Observer's Four debuts of the year. In 2003 his second novel, 'Dynamo', was cited as one of the ten best sports novels of all time by Observer Sport's Magazine. 'The Morning Rides Behind Us', his third novel was released in 2005 and shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize for Fiction. He lives with his partner on a farm in Wiltshire where he is writing his new novel, 'The Message'.
Top customer reviews
There are some jarring notes. We are told, rather than being shown, a great deal about the characters, so sections of the book read rather like short lectures. However, the atmosphere of horror is well done, and the ending satisfying without being too neat (a few puzzles are left). Overall, a quirky horror story, with many of the traditional spooky props but with a modern tone.
This is a 5-star book, and like the rest of this author's stories, you feel involved from first page: the time, the place, the characters and their particular world and its smells and texture are introduced with wicked ease. It's 1986. It's set in one of that decade's most pampered backwaters, and you know you're goimg to hate everybody. But you also know you're gonna love the book. Especially when you read with disbelief, the introduction to the unfortunate Brigit, whose possession is manifested to her brother as a soundscape of a noisy farmyard.
You don't hate everybody, of course, and you will soon meet The Rector, a fine, complicated and raddled exorcist who, you feel, could become a Gothic hero in his own right, were more nightmares available for him to inhabit. It's strewn with descriptive sentences, that although you want to read again just for the sheer thrill, they don't interrupt the narrative flow. I noticed a kind of Iris Murdoch paucity of commas sometimes, but to me this was only an occasional trick to disarm a thought that would hold us up. As an excellent reviewer noticed, there along with hardcore historical and personal philosophy, is homage to Mark E Smith.
We're in safe hands again with this book, written by someone who's a gifted and exemplary storyteller.
Much of the book paints a lovely, bleak picture. The house, the demons in the walls, the possession itself, a fantastic scene in a department store. The atmosphere was pervasive through the book as the main characters saw everything and everyone around them tainted by/after their experiences.
Only criticism: A lot of the time I found the dialogue quite bland. There were occasional well written interchanges, but I felt that there was just a bit too many "My God man! You can't be serious! This is crazy!" conversations going on, some of which were only there so a character could reply or interject a great philosophical epiphany. So they ended up a bit heavy-handed.
I also thought it ended a bit too quickly, and while another reviewer commented that they liked the openness of the ending, I would have loved some more closure - good or bad.
In summary: Good book! Creepy read. Very glad I supported an independent publisher and author.
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