- Hardcover: 528 pages
- Publisher: Chatto & Windus; 1st Edition edition (29 Mar. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0701180463
- ISBN-13: 978-0701180461
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.3 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,806,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
South of the River Hardcover – 29 Mar 2007
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[Morrison's] prose has the diamond cut of a poet's eye, and his story is suffused with warmth and longing (Independent)
Enormous imaginative reach, transporting us beyond mere testimony or reportage... I don't expect to read a more enthralling memoir [Things My Mother Never Told Me] all year. Or a finer book on love and love's impediments. (New York Times)
South of the River is a Bonfire of the Vanities for Blair's Britain. Intimate and epic, compulsively readable, this is a big ambitious book in every way, a novel of the heart and mind, the personal and the political, the kind of intellectual blockbuster that we get from Philip Roth at the top of his game. Blake Morrison is a bloody marvel. Read his first novel. In fact, you should read everything that carries his name. (Tony Parsons)
A scintillating read. (GQ)
Compelling, contemporary, comic, a significant change of direction for Blake Morrison and it's a tour de force - a kind of English The Corrections but sexier, sharper, broader and (for us) infinitely more recognisable.See all Product description
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The social and political setting was used well and (being in my 20s at the time) it felt familiar and comfortable.
The stories are intriguing and complex, leading the reader in one direction then turning you around to face the real story.
All the way through there are clues about the characters meaning that you are continually wanting to know more.
I was hooked to this book right to the last page and thought it could have gone on for another 500 pages.
Too fragmented. South Of The River is not so much a story as a catalogue of events some of which the reader only becomes aware of some time after they have occurred which only adds to the overall confusion. The synopsis is at least right in that this is not so much a 'state of the nation' novel as a novel of middle-class adultery.
Never have I been so indifferent to a novel's characters. Unable to like/dislike them - yes, I found them that mediocre. The nearest I came to having any feelings about them one way or another was when one of the characters whilst acknowledging that she was partly to blame for her children (seven and five) being unable to read ('if only she had more time, if only when she did have time she wasn't so exhausted') laid the blame firmly with the school.
And then what is it with the odd little asides, the fox theme that ran throughout? Like the subjects at the revealing of the Emperor's new clothes I'm afraid I was left wondering just what exactly was happening.
Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper
Despite a terribly flat start, the characters tend to ring quite true, even if they are not always especially likeable. For the first few chapters, as the characters are intially introduced, I didn't think I could make it through 500-plus pages of such aimless vacuity, but my perseverence rewarded. Each character has a first person voice in the novel and gradually gains colour and credibility through their self perception and the perception of them by others. Often brutally candid (particularly in its warts-and-all descriptions of sex) it spares few characters by making explicit their prejudices, pretentions and insecurities. But, in a way that recalls John Updike for me (and particularly his `Rabbit' series), there is something to like - or at least identify with - in all of them. Admittedly, a couple of the characters - particularly pro-hunting country conservative Jack and his failed playwrite nephew Nathan - often veer towards characateur, but Morrison tends to get away with it with cutting wit.
What is particularly interesting and unusual about `South of the River' is that it combines this well developed human drama with experimental tangents. The fox theme bubbles up in some highly unlikely places, and there are some short-story-within-a-novel devices that allow Morrison to break out of the first person formular and make playful digressions. He manages to pull this difficult trick off without - as these enterprises often do - seeming pretentious or sacrificing the overall mood of the novel. Funny, heartfelt and believable, `South of the River' restores your faith in modern Britain as an interesting literary landscape.
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