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White Man Falling Paperback – 20 Apr 2007

3.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Alma Books Ltd; New Ed edition (20 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184688036X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846880360
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 950,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"White Man Falling is that rare and wondrous thing - a perfectly realised serious comic novel. That it is also a first novel makes it all the more extraordinary."
-- Sarah Dunant (Chair of the Judging Panel - Goss First Novel Award)

From the Publisher

Winner of the Goss First Novel Award --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The plotting, characterisation and appealing style are so good in this novel that I found it fairly easy to overlook occasional lapses in authenticity. Laugh-out-loud funny in many places, and a really satisfying, meaty story -- a real page-turner -- packed with surprising incident. Lovely, comic sub-plot -- that was the aspect that I enjoyed most, very funny and charming, but the main narrative is extremely appealing too. I enjoyed all of it. The writer has an amazing turn of phrase, really honed and distinctive. Risks stereotypes from time to time but gets away with it because of the superb prose style.
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Format: Hardcover
It's easy to become dispirited with new fiction because it never does what it says on the tin, but in this instance the Amazon synopsis gave the exact flavour of this gently humorous novel. Like Evelyn Waugh's the humour lies more in the construction of the prose than in the originality of the jokes, but this is the humour that sticks in one's mind. I wasn't sure if the author was telling me that chance is the greatest influence on our lives, that even the seemingly most vital of lives are in fact pointless, that there is light at the end of the darkest tunnel, or if I was just being told a simple & light-hearted tale in elegant & sophisticated prose, but certainly the middle third of this book left me both uplifted & more alert to other peoples' anxieties. The ending is slightly mis-timed & made me wonder whether as the book developed the author's interest in the sub-plot overtook his interest in the main narrative, but the quality of the prose more than compensates for any fault I stumbled across.
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Format: Hardcover
A tragicomedy from Mike Stocks that is impossible to put down. A retired police Sub-Inspector, Swami, has suffered a stroke, is unable to talk properly and wants to kill himself using a puncture-repair kit! There follows a series of incidents that change perceptions of Swami from being a laughing stock to the belief that he may be a God. Based in Southern India, it is plain to see the research that the author has completed in order to write this novel with such subtle detail. The originality of Mike Stocks prose makes this book a joy to read and is used brilliantly to exemplify how the often perceived meaningless can have such meaningful effects. The book is a literary read but also an accessible read -- there's nothing obscure or difficult about it -- so has the potential to appeal to a wide range of readers.

This is Mike Stocks debut novel, and if this book is anything to go by, it would appear there is an exciting future for this author. I am not alone in my enthusiasm for this novel as it has now been shortlisted for the Goss First Novel Award 2006 to be announced in October 2006.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book because I'd had some minor dealings with the author, via his editorship of the excellent poetry magazine 'Anon'. I wasn't at all sure it would be my cup of tea, though, and it did take me several attempts to get into it at first. But when I finally sat down to give it a fair trial and got through the first few pages, I soon began to see what a very good book it really is. It's been described by Sarah Dunant as a 'serious comic novel' and that sums it up nicely. It's serious in that it reads as a highly authentic insight into life in modern India, and deals with issues of faith and mysticism and the power of the unsaid. It's comic in that it offers dry, often dark humour from beginning to end, whether in relation to the absurdities of domestic life or the equally absurd machinations of the political world. For anyone who's interested in a poignant, thought-provoking and entertaining book, this one comes highly recommended.

Gregory Heath, author of 'The Entire Animal'

The Entire Animal
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Format: Paperback
I have read a number of humorous books that left me unsmiling and believe that underpinning the comedy with an engaging overall narrative is a key requirement. Full marks to Mike Stocks who has written a book that seeks to balance the humour and the background of a rapidly changing India. If he does not entirely succeed, there is enough here to add his name to the list of authors to look out for.

On the face of it, a comic novel about a central character hovering between life and death is a challenge. Our hero, Police Sub-Inspector R. M. Swaminathan, has retired after having a stroke and heads a family of six daughters living in Mullaipuram, Tamil Nadu. His main problem is how to arrange their marriages without the funds to pay the necessary dowries. Stocks clearly enjoys playing with the generations, from the six daughters to Swaminathan and his wife, to the grandfather whose flute-playing always disrupts important meetings, whether to arrange a marriage or at his son’s hospital bedside. In his darker moments, which are numerous, the Sub-Inspector had even attempted suicide with a puncture repair kit.

An accident, on the very day that a meeting has been arranged with a boy’s family with matrimony in mind, leaves Swaminathan in hospital. The rumour spreads that Swaminathan has died and been brought back to life by doctors. During this traumatic period he is believed to have been ‘walked with the Gods’ and to have taken on the mantle of a holy man. His inability to speak reinforces his separateness from normal human beings.

I do not know enough about Tamil Nadu and its population to how true are the author’s characterisations of its urban population.
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