- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 862 KB
- Print Length: 313 pages
- Publisher: Green Wizard Publishing; 1 edition (18 Mar. 2017)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B06XQJXQT8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #334,417 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice Kindle Edition
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This book has a slow start, and at first I just thought, yes, Mark Barry's always worth reading, but maybe this isn't as hard-hitting as my favourites. But by only 10% it became much more interesting, and I was reminded why I like this writer's work so much. The observations, the character detail, the dialogue, the sharply viewed snippets of popular culture, the fearless sentences that might make lesser writers think 'hmm, I want to write that, but dare I?' ~ I loved it. Unanswered questions kept me agog all the way through the first half; what was Carol's connection to the Giffords? And what were these mysterious 'work outs' with 'Gnasher' about?
Up until 52%, it was a jolly good book, I thought, but then ~ whoosh! It became something else. Questions were answered, and there were some passages of real brilliance (feedback for Mr Barry: Steve's speech about why he doesn't talk about feelings, and Carol's description of Steve's bender). The plot stepped up about ten notches, and all of a sudden I was reading a different novel. I couldn't read it fast enough, so eager was I to find out what happened.
At the beginning, we're told that it's connected to Barry's earlier book, Carla, and I never, ever guessed how ~ nice one, and it made me want to read Carla again!
I have only one criticism, and that's the constant repetition of Carol's dialogue 'tics' that I had to train myself to gloss over so that they wouldn't spoil it, but I am exceptionally picky about stuff like this, and this one minor irritation doesn't stop me from recommending this story of love, pain and revenge absolutely, totally and wholeheartedly.
This is a love story… this is what it says at the beginning of Shiny Coin but if you’re looking for hearts and flowers, tears and romance, walk on by, because this is not one of those. This is the other sort. This is the type of love story that tortures breaking hearts, the type of love story that can’t ever be, and that happens in real lives only too often.
Because this is what Barry writes, real lives. His characters, and their interactions with each other, are honest and totally believable, even when they do things we could never imagine. Nothing is shied away from and while we love the rapport shown between some of his people, the faults, failings and weaknesses of all are viscerally depicted on the page.
Carol has moved back to Wheatley Fields following the death of her father. I imagined her as glamorously gothic and totally cool, but her fabulous hair, makeup and clothes make her an oddity in the conservative passages of her home town. She gets a job at the book shop working for the older and wizardly wise Steve and they hit it off, becoming friends as well as work colleagues.
One day there’s an altercation between the odious Toby and Steve, when the former tries to buy a comic, and it is this that is the catalyst for the shocking events that unfold.
While Steve bears the brunt of what is to come Carol knows it is not aimed at him, because following a terrible betrayal when she was last home she has returned with a plan for revenge, and it’s one she’s determined to see through.
Readers familiar with Barry’s work will recognise references such as the Arkwright Trust from The Night Porter, The Jacket, a short story in Punk Rocker, and Carla, of course, as this is its loose sequel. There’s a brief cameo by Mark himself as the writer in Wheatley Fields the setting for many of his novels.
I enjoy reading Barry’s work in total silence and ideally in the dark, my screen the only illumination. I don’t like there to be anything to distract me from the precision of his words, the fabulous one liners and flowing passages, and throughout, the observational wit. This read was to be no exception, and it really is that cliché of all things, a page-turner, because you simply have to find out what is going to happen.
This is no boy meets girl romance but Barry is right, this is a love story, albeit a deeply saddening one which he makes you feel, all the way to its end. Because when you take away everything else there is only one thing left, hope, and I was left hanging on to that. A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice made me shed tears, and when a book does that to me I know it is truly special.
My review is simple – I felt like I lived this book. Mark Barry's ability to conceive and express the inherently inconceivable and inexpressible has borne out a fabulously-written tale of raw human emotion and revenge and of the mind's complete inability to accept defeat even when annihilation is staring you in the face.
Carol Prentice is a complicated and damaged character – we understand immediately that her history in the well-heeled town of Wheatley Fields, in her life before University, a time that we don't yet know about, is the key to unlocking the persona she now projects to the world. I had to brush over her valleyspeak, I wasn't sure initially whether it was genuine, as it can conjure images of Deliciously Ella – which is decidedly not the exposed and gothic character of Carol Prentice. But, over the course of the novel, I began to feel that her idiosyncracies were real and this intelligent young, woman had developed them in compensation for the confidence stolen by her past. Through her relationship with the older and sometimes wiser book-seller, Steve, that she truly blossoms and an unlikely love story, and at the same time definitely not-a-story-of-love, evolves.
As each page of A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice turns you start to feel this wonderful sensation that something magnificent is developing right before your eyes but you don't know what it is until the last stroke of the brush is complete. The beautiful cover is just the varnish on the canvas, but I'd like to note that, while you can't judge a book by its cover, sometimes it can give you a pretty good idea of what lies beneath.
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I’ve now read four of Mark Barry’s books, each one different in genre.Read more