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Profile for Roger Risborough > Reviews

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Roger Risborough (Richmond)

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The Accidental Woman
The Accidental Woman
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meet Miss Ann Thrope . . ., 2 Jun. 2013
Jonathan Coe's narrator talks us jauntily through the miserable life-story of Maria, who takes no pleasure from anything that life can offer, and allows chance, rather than choice, to dictate the directions her sorry life takes. This is both a satire of a certain type of novel and a bleak view of life, suggesting that we are all really pretending to like the things we're supposed to like. It is clearly a clever writing exercise and a recognisable career stepping-stone for an emerging novelist . . . but rather a miserable read.


No Off Switch
No Off Switch

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hold My Coat, Someone . . ., 30 May 2013
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This review is from: No Off Switch (Kindle Edition)
I started reading this not really sure if I liked Andy Kershaw or not. Half-way through, and I was still none the wiser. This multi-faceted personality has got lots of different sides, and quite a few of them are quite annoying (particularly if you're his girlfriend, apparently). But as Kershaw's charmed life starts to unravel, something odd started happening. First of all I found myself warming to him as he trails the globe unearthing undiscovered musical gems. Then I was rooting for him in his seemingly one-man battle against radio ga-ga, and by the time he'd become a foreign correspondent, I found myself crying with him at some of the world's recent horror stories. And then, when things really went into a tail-spin from Day One of his new life on The Isle of Man, I was metaphorically rolling up my sleeves ready to scrap for him. I realise now how much the real Andy Kershaw had passed me by. Saddled with a perception of him anchored by his in-yer-face brusque, bluff mid-eighties persona, I completely missed his late night radio show years, his rogue-state journalism era and his Radio 3 rehab. Instead, he only popped back on my radar as a tabloid villain in 2007. Well, my perceptions were all wrong. Here's someone who's been harshly treated by life, but is thankfully bouncing back and good luck to him - he's done some amazing things, and his story is compelling, as he pings from trouble-spot to trouble-spot, lashing-out at plenty of sacred cows as he goes (Elvis, Sir Bob Geldof, The Beatles and even John Peel). So, no punches are pulled, and plenty are thrown. Hold my coat someone, Kersh needs a hand.


Gone Girl
Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Twisted Tale, 23 May 2013
This review is from: Gone Girl (Paperback)
This is a clever and compelling book. Gillian Flynn deconstructs relationships/marriages in general through the parallel stories of Nick and Amy, who manage to be the perfect couple, murderer and victim, hen-pecked husband and cheated wife, "psycho-bitch-from-hell" and bar-room buffoon, all at the same time. The message really, is that we're all capable of loving/being loved and hating/being hated, but that doesn't stop us forming relationships with each other! As Amy and Nick strive to stay one step ahead of the other as their relationship implodes, the author manages to stay ahead of the reader at just about every turn, with each new twist of the tale. This will confirm all the worst thoughts you've ever had about your partner, but don't worry, they'll be feeling exactly the same way about you.


Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance (BBC Audio)
Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance (BBC Audio)
by M. C. Beaton
Edition: Audio CD

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Off The Beaton Plot, 20 May 2013
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You often hear authors claiming they start writing a book without knowing how it will develop or end, but you never really believe them. In the case of "Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance" however, each turned page clearly came as a complete surprise to MC Beaton, who churns out ludicrous plot developments and ridiculous character U-turns with total abandon in a desperate bid to fill all the pages of her tiresome book. This is truly awful stuff - featuring a heroine who has no redeeming features, in a title that has no connection with the story, which in turn has no connection to credibility or interest. The only high-light on the (sadly) unabridged audiobook version of this was hearing Penelope Keith (the reader) pronounce Don Quixote as "Don Kwixoat" in the first chapter, thereby blowing her supposedly high-brow credibility. The author's credibility had been murdered long before then.


Consumed: How Shopping Fed the Class System
Consumed: How Shopping Fed the Class System
by Harry Wallop
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wallop's Cod, 15 May 2013
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Harry Wallop talks towards the end of this book about the "culture of entitlement", but having finished "Consumed" I wonder what the author thinks entitled him to write it, other than his family's oft-mentioned title, and the fact that he believes he's done some sterling missionary work in the community by marrying beneath him (into a family that takes tinned English food on foreign holidays, for heaven's sake). He acknowledges the fact that he has raided far-more scholarly works on British social history for much of his background information, but the rest of this book is general observation on social trends that could have been dashed-off by anyone who's read a paper or watched TV regularly over the last five years. There's no science, no revelation, and no real analysis - instead there's a bit of cod-demographics in which Wallop reports that there we're no longer working/middle/upper class, but instead we're all now either Sun Skittlers, Asda Mums, Wood-Burning Stovers, Rockabillies or Portland Privateers. He missed one such new (and annoyingly named) social category - "Codswallopers" - under-employed, over-opinionated journalists who state-the-bleeding-obvious.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 19, 2014 11:15 AM GMT


What a Carve Up! (Penguin Essentials)
What a Carve Up! (Penguin Essentials)
by Jonathan Coe
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Things That Go Bump In The Night, 10 May 2013
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This is a rambling country-house of a novel with lots of hidden corridors, secret passages, layers of history and things that go bump in the night. Jonathan Coe takes a deeply-personal homage to black-and-white British cinema and classic British detective fiction and spins it into a fascinating novel that is part memoir and part corruscating assassination of English post-War society and politics. The impact of one family's privilege, sense of entitlement and complete lack of scruples is laid bare through character essays on the cast of family members that includes a journalist, a politician, a battery-farmer, an arms dealer, an art dealer and a banker. The action revolves around dark acts in a creepy country house in the 1940s, the 1960s, on film, and then finally in 1990. There can't be many books that can successfully string Kenneth Connor, Shirley Eaton, Yuri Gagarin, Colonel Mustard and Margaret Thatcher together in a single narrative arc, but Jonathan Coe has done it here. Post-modernism meets Poirot and Poe.


Bageye at the Wheel: A 1970s Childhood in Suburbia
Bageye at the Wheel: A 1970s Childhood in Suburbia
by Colin Grant
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Loving, Longing, Look-Back to Luton, 1 May 2013
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Colin Grant introduces us to "Bageye", his father, and talks us through a very formative year in the author's early adolescence in the early 1970's in Luton. Colin is one of five children of Jamaican immigrant parents, who are struggling to get to grips with their new homeland, battling against poverty, and fighting with each other.
Grant must have written this at about the same age his father was in this memoir, and has presumably been waiting for his father's death before publishing, for this is a searing portrait of one man's battle with himself and the outside world, in trying to do the right thing for his family. Frequently, Bageye fails in this task . . . at least as far as his frightened "Pickney" and wife Blossom are concerned. Everyone runs scared of Bageye, as he lumbers splenetically from card-game to factory-floor to junk-shop, trying to scrape-by, and meet what he sees as his socially-aspiring wife's un-ending requests for house-keeping, new furniture, children's clothes and school fees. This high-lights the difficulties of immigrant families in England, but more than that, it covers some universal issues: a father's terror of the responsibility of raising a family, a mother's absolute determination to push her children into a better place in the future, and a son's loving, longing, look-back at both of them.


The Stabbing in the Stables: The Fethering Mysteries
The Stabbing in the Stables: The Fethering Mysteries
by Simon Brett
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Theft of Time, 21 April 2013
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Oh dear, this is really poor. I'm a fan of Simon Brett's radio output (honest) so on seeing so many 5 star reviews for his books I wanted to try one of his three novel 'franchises'. I picked on one of the so-called "Fethering Mysteries" - as it turns out this name is appropriate given the feather-light plot, characterisation and story-telling. These tales centre on two South Downs spinsters who form a sort of Buy-One-Get-One-Free-Miss-Marple who have a totally unconvincing knack of getting suspects to tell them things that Carter & Regan would have trouble squeezing out of people in the cop shop. But over-riding all that is the proximity to Midsomer Murders. Let's just say that Mr Brett's stories share a similar template, oh, and that this one in particular has a lot of apparent cross-overs with a particular (earlier) edition of Midsomer Murders ("Who Killed Cock Robin" 2001) involving a horse whisperer, and murder . . . Sorry, but this isn't so much about a stabbing in a stable, it's got more to do with the theft of time (mine).


Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8,000-Mile Car Journey Around Britain
Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8,000-Mile Car Journey Around Britain
by Ben Hatch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ends Justify The Means, 10 April 2013
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Ben Hatch's journalistic approach to this subject matter/book throws up two issues - firstly it makes "Are We Nearly There Yet" very readable and hard-to-put-down, but secondly, he clearly takes liberties (artistic licence?) with time-scales, facts, locations and situations as required to produce a compelling intertwining of an extended family holiday round the UK (whilst researching a family travel book), and a parallel tour back through his own family story. This has clearly upset many reviewers because some of the chronology here simply doesn't stack-up and aspects of the story have been re-sequenced to make them work better. To some, this is cheating and has led to at least one reviewer questioning whether the whole trip wasn't fabricated! Leaving these moon-landing-type conspiracy theories to one side, there are other irritations - the excessive (and possibly manipulated) level of 5 star reviews, lots of inaccuracies/typos, the unfettered behaviour of the two Hatch children at every given turn, and the author's general attitude that he's the first person to have been a parent, looked after his children and loved all their ridiculous foibles. And yet . . . despite all these grumbles (and who likes other people's children anyway, especially when their antics have no doubt also been exaggerated for the sake of good copy) there is something really absorbing and intriguing about this book. Partly this is down to recognising some of the ludicrous attractions and places that are visited (yes, I've also been to that Doctor Who exhibition in the basement in Bromyard), but more than that, it's empathising with Ben Hatch's desperation to grab hold of time and stop it passing so fast that is so poignant. He and his wife Dinah are caught in that classic cleft between their children growing up too quickly and their parents fading away in front of them. This aspect of the adjacency of life and death is what gives the book it's whole spine, and for me is enough to absolve the author of any cynicism about his means.


A Reconstructed Corpse: A Charles Paris Mystery (BBC Radio Crimes)
A Reconstructed Corpse: A Charles Paris Mystery (BBC Radio Crimes)
by Simon Brett
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £9.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paris . . . Capital!, 8 April 2013
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An absolute delight! Great cast led by Bill Nighy have a lot of fun with a suitably snappy script involving the ludicrous world of am-dram. This has got me scouring Amazon for more Charles Paris and more Simon Brett.


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