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The Seymour Tapes Paperback – 2 Mar 2006

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; First Penguin Edition edition (2 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141009136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141009131
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 825,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The Seymour Tapes confirms what readers of Tim Lott have long known: he is one of the most subtle and sensitive writers at work today. In such books as White City Blue and Rumours of a Hurricane, the author has demonstrated a masterly command of subtle and allusive prose, along with a refusal to repeat himself in terms of subject matter.

The conceit of the new novel is that Lott is examining a real-life case: at the request of the widow of the late Dr Alex Seymour, he has decided to put certain facts in the public view. Seymour had experienced a life change after seeing a shoplifter caught on a surveillance camera: what was he missing in his own life that surveillance could reveal? He decides to enlist the Cyclops organisation and undertake a revealing overview of his own life--all at the behest of the charismatic American Sherry Thomas. An embarrassing scandal follows, know as the Skin Tapes. And it's this which is (we are told) the basis of Lott’s investigation, as the author interrogates Seymour's widow Samantha. As with the novels of John Fowles, Lott becomes drawn into his own narrative, as Samantha Seymour puts the author himself in the limelight, obliging him to be equally as frank about things he'd rather conceal about his own life.

Sex and dark psychology are always a good recipe for a compelling novel, and Lott is as adroit as ever at marshalling the combustible elements of his narrative into a fascinating whole. His self-involvement is a dangerous gambit--and if Lott doesn’t entirely pull it off, the final effect is exhilarating. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Tim Lott's previous books are The Scent of Dried Roses, which won the JR Ackerley Prize for Autobiography, White City Blue, which won the Whitbread First Novel Award, Rumours of a Hurricane, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread novel of the year, and The Love Secrets of Don Juan. He lives in London NW10.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Lott's new book is all about surveillance. It's central point is that omniscience brings neither the truth nor an accurate representation of reality. Indeed, a reliance on it as a means of gaining power over others or ascertaining their motives to action is apt ultimately to lead to disaster, whatever the intention.
Lott sets himself as the narrator, pretending to be writing a faithful account of a factual event at the behest of the widowed Mrs Seymour. The relationship between them is interestingly developed throughout the book, and allows the author both to play with the reader's unease at not knowing whether what is going on is based on fact or not and add a feasible if easy to anticipate twist at the end.
There are times when reading the book that belief needs to be temporarily suspended, but this is vindicated by later revelations in the narrative. The one criticism I do have is of the very end, where what has been implicit throughout the novel is made explicit in a way that feels rather patronizing. Overall, though, this book is an pleasurable and worthwhile, if a little undemanding, read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Dr Alex Seymour is a man on the edge, a control-freak who feels that he is losing control over his family and his life - until covert camera surveillance offers him an almost God-like insight into the lives of those closest to him. Suddenly, Alex is caught up in a vicious circle of deceit and manipulation and a shameful desire to see and find out more. Anyone who is addicted to today's reality TV culture will appreciate the lure of Alex's growing (and ultimately destructive) obsession.

Through transcripts of filmed episodes, interviews with family and other associated parties, Lott pieces together the truth behind the Seymour family's demise. Occasionally, Lott crosses the boundary into unbelievability particularly with regard to Alex's relationship with the bizarrely mysterious woman who ensnares him in the covert surveillance game in the first place. Otherwise, I quite enjoyed the way the author played around with perception, and the reader slowly comes to understand the story from different points of view.
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Format: Paperback
I do like Tim Lott, but this novel was a real departure from his other novels.

The basic idea behind the novel is that Lott has been approached by the widow of a Dr Alex Seymour (who has been involved in a highly publicized scandal.) Seymour's widow wants to set the story straight and so wants a book written.

The scandal involved Seymour using covert CCTV in his own home to watch his wife and two children, which leads to a romantic involvement and ultimately his death (I haven't given anything away by telling you he dies....but I won't tell you how!)

What follows are transcripts of coversations with the widow, Samantha and Lott's own intrepretation of what he is seeing on the video tapes.

This is a highly original novel, written as if it is fact. It plays with modern day paranoia about being watched and who is watching. It also deals incredibly well with power in realtionships and how people can be manipulated /manipulative.

Tightly plotted and can be read on several levels.

If you like this book also try 'Blood data' by Lurey Gibson...you may never sleep again!
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Format: Paperback
I just finished this in more or less one session. It is excellent. The form is original and gripping. A page-turner with a nice twist in the tail.
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