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Underground Paperback – 3 Apr 2000
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Already lauded for his vivid collections of poetry and short stories, Tobias Hill makes the move to full-length novel with Underground and instantly establishes himself as one of Britain's most exciting young novelists. London Underground worker Casimir is jolted out of his somnambulant routine when he realises, from the evidence on his monitor, that a young woman's supposed accident or suicide attempt is in fact attempted murder. At the same time he becomes particularly obsessed by fleeting glimpses of Walkmaned tube dweller Alice, whose otherworldly beauty haunts the tunnels. Like Neil Bartlett, Hill uses London's hidden history to explore London's hidden present and like Bartlett he does it through the eyes of an outsider. The story unfolds in counterpoint to the childlike telling of Casimir's troubled childhood in Poland, his own underground life, with which he's slowly forced to come to terms. Hill may stuff his book with tubespotter detail about London's fascinating subterranean network--its hidden passages, makeshift dwellings, locked and forgotten stations--but, far from being just another feelgood novel for city commuters and Time Out addicts, Underground is a rich, multi-layered novel that reaches far beyond the end of the Northern line. --Alan Stewart --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Tobias Hill was born in London. In 2003 the TLS nominated him as one the best young writers in Britain: in 2004 he was selected as one of the country's Next Generation poets and shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. His collection of stories, Skin, won the Pen-Macmillan Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday Prize. The Cryptographer, his third novel, led AS Byatt to observe that 'Hill is one of the two or three most original and interesting young novelists working in Britain today.' His fourth novel, The Hidden, was published in 2009 to great critical acclaim.
Top customer reviews
There is not a string of murders, there are two pushes and that's that. Casimir is a worker on the underground who randomly falls for a girl who he sees on the tube and then finds lives in a disused station and just happens to like him back and want top have sex with him after meeting him for 50 minutes or so. Riiiiiiiiiggggghhhtttt. How is she connected to the killings is she the killer? I think these were the questions I was meant to ask however I just thought `what?' and then got very bored with her and him. The alternating chapters were the tale of Casimir's childhood in Poland, this was more interesting but not what I wanted from a book, if I had this would have been the redeeming factor of the book.
This book is the perfect book to point out the issue I have with some books blurbs, especially when they lie. This is another case of the blurb mot telling the truth, its not the books fault, its not the authors fault and yet it makes me annoyed and puts me off both, why don't publishers tell the truth? For example this blurb was "On the London Underground, someone is pushing women under trains. In his search for the killer, Casimir, a Tube worker, is led even deeper into a labyrinth of long-forgotten passages and deep shelters - and into the terrible secrets of his own childhood."
I will highlight in italics what they should have added "On the London Underground, someone is pushing women under trains (well someone seems to have been pushed and then someone else does it's a bit vague). In his search for the killer (well in accidentally hearing and seeing things he shouldn't and then becoming slightly obsessed), Casimir, a Tube worker, is led (well once or twice) even deeper into a labyrinth of long-forgotten passages and deep shelters (and also becomes obsessed with a girl he randomly sees on a tube and then finds coincidentally lives in a disused station where she is only too happy to sleep with him after very few introductions)- and into the terrible secrets of his own childhood (which dominates the book and should actually be the main theme of the blurb."
A shame, the right blurb which would have lead to the right timing and right mid set I think I could have really liked this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
The story was interesting enough but I found the narrative depressing and often...Read more