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F. Hendry (Aberdeen, Scotland)

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The Versions of Us: The Number One bestseller
The Versions of Us: The Number One bestseller
by Laura Barnett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.38

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant, but not compelling., 31 July 2015
As others have noted, the concept of this novel is quirky but not unique: it very much reads like 'Sliding Doors' meets 'One Day'. However, unlike 'Sliding Doors', in which the two Gwyneth Paltrows helpfully get different hairstyles to allow us to differentiate between them at a glance, these various Evas and Jims are not instantly distinguishable from one another. This leaves us as readers flicking back often to remind ourselves who is whom. Also, because what we have is basically three novels crammed into one, none of the characters is as wholly developed as I would have liked; nor, unfortunately, are their lives wholly compelling. What we are left with is three pleasant stories about a range of ordinary, somewhat underdeveloped characters undertaking ordinary, everyday tasks. And given that we see every single thing that could have happened, I found it harder to feel pathos for the Evas and Jims who were having a rough time, or happiness for the contented Evas and Jims - how can we truly feel an emotional connection with characters who are whipped away very few pages to make space for their happier or more miserable counterparts? It makes for a pleasant, but slightly hollow read. I did enjoy it, but wouldn't rush to read it again or recommend it to others.

The Three Musketeers
The Three Musketeers
by Alexandre Dumas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.32

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Classic, 25 May 2014
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This review is from: The Three Musketeers (Paperback)
This is an excellent version of a superb classic novel. The story is wonderfully enjoyable and this edition and translation does the great characters and plotline justice.

Mrs Dalloway n/e (Oxford World's Classics)
Mrs Dalloway n/e (Oxford World's Classics)
by Virginia Woolf
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Modernist Writing, 1 Feb. 2009
Mrs Dalloway is critically regarded as one of the quintessential exemplars of both stream-of-consciousness writing and the ethos of the Modernist era. Stylistically stunning, the innovative narrative follows a day in the life of protagonist Clarissa Dalloway, an aristocratic socialite struggling to find meaning and contentment in post-war London. Juxtaposed with her, Septimus Warren Smith, a shell-shocked combatant attempting to readjust to life after war, struggling with the difficulties of a fractured mind and a creeping madness which threatens to destroy him.

The narrative voice flits effortlessly between the many characters, blending their thoughts, memories and perceptions in order to provide an insight into the psychological processes of a disillusioned generation attempting to restore normality after fundamental assumptions about reality and human nature have been shattered by conflict.

This is a beautifully crafted novel, a deceptively quick and easy read despite the rich narrative structure and content, and a must-read for all those interested in Modernist literature.

Everyone will enjoy this book: for its characters, its story and its vivid descriptions of post-war London. Moreover, for Modernist scholars it provides an exquisite example of the narrative innovation which characterises early 20th century writing.

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