Shop now Shop now Shop now Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now
Profile for Roger M. Kean > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Roger M. Kean
Top Reviewer Ranking: 88,629
Helpful Votes: 60

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Roger M. Kean
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
pixel
The Boys from Eighth and Carpenter
The Boys from Eighth and Carpenter
Price: £2.76

4.0 out of 5 stars Authoritatively authentic, 19 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Powerful, satisfying and emotional, this character-driven narrative rings true at every level. The all-encompassing disaster at its heart never overwhelms a natural core of humour that make the events at Eighth and Carpenter both sad and warming – a new Philadelphia Story.


The Delightful Guide
The Delightful Guide
Price: £3.86

4.0 out of 5 stars A romp through time and character, 16 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A rondo brings back its main theme complete and in the same key, in poetic repetitions separated by longer episodes, digressions or interludes. The title of this particular rondo-in-writing is taken from AE Houseman’s poem “The Merry Guide” that begins: “Once in the wind of morning
/ I ranged the thymy wold;
/ The world-wide air was azure
/ And all the brooks ran gold. / There through the dews beside me
/ Behold a youth that trod,
/ With feather cap on forehead,
/ And poised a golden rod. / With mien to match the morning
/ And gay delightful guise
/ And friendly brows and laughter
/ He looked me in the eyes. / Oh whence, I asked, and whither?
/ He smiled and would not say,
/ And looked at me and beckoned
/ And laughed and led the way.”

In this instance the delightfully merry guide takes several forms through a series of apparently unrelated stories ranging in time and place from the third century AD through the 17th century, the early 20th century, contemporary, to the distant future. As Jack he is Reggie’s imaginary friend, in the future a spaceship’s holographic assistant, in the past he is the muse of teenaged emperor Elegabalus or of a young witch in dangerous Jacobean England. The several interludes weave in and out of each other’s paths in often unexpected ways, gradually building a total picture in the way those postage-stamp collages form a recognisable image as the camera zooms back.

In some respects the concatenation of tales adds up to a danse macabre, since death threads its way through each and every story, a theme hinted at by the choice of Houseman’s poem, in which the youthful guide represents Hermes – a beautiful, friendly, mirthful guide, yet one who never speaks as he guides the speaker through a richly beautiful world towards the realm of darkness, of the Underworld. “And midst the fluttering legion / Of all that ever died / I follow, and before us / Goes the delightful guide…”

The short-story form is frequently a difficult sell, since the majority of readers prefer a standard novel, but in The Delightful Guide, David Lister has woven the disparate elements in a way that reads as does a novel, particularly as the reader is returned to each episode to see it reach conclusion, and often in doing so cast its effect on a different episode which at first reading seems to have no obvious connection. This interleaving exercises its own fascination as one reads on, and the cross-references are subtle and enlightening. For instance, what can a youthful Roman emperor murdered in AD 222 have in common with an Italian transgender boy-girl of the modern era, other than they both live in Rome? But there is a connection that becomes apparent as their different stories progress.

The Delightful Guide intrigues and entertains in good measure, and incidentally contains a wonderfully revisionist self-portrait of the much-maligned Elegabalus, born Varius Avitus Bassianus.


Tom & Christopher And Their Kind (Dog In The Chapel Book 2)
Tom & Christopher And Their Kind (Dog In The Chapel Book 2)
Price: £3.85

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forced to avoid the ferry, 19 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A fine sequel to "The Dog in the Chapel" with a sweeping narrative that brings back those "bad" days on the 1960s or recreates them for those who have had a more blessed life in growing up since.


Two Boys Kissing
Two Boys Kissing
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Going viral…, 19 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Two Boys Kissing (Kindle Edition)
This is a tour de force, an extraordinary magic created through the use of ordinary words. I was struck by encountering so many thoughts I might never put into words but which seemed so apt when read.

I was strongly reminded of Sydney Pollack's tremendous but disturbing 1969 movie of the Depression era, <i>They Shoot Horses, Don't They?</i>, a metaphor for life, which is centered around a cash-prize dance marathon—not that the prise in <i>Two Boys Kissing</i> is money, it's something far more valuable, nor is the book's ending depressing is is the movie's.

An engrossing, thoughtful and moving book.


The Youth & Young Loves of Oliver Wade: Stories
The Youth & Young Loves of Oliver Wade: Stories
Price: £4.24

5.0 out of 5 stars A Coming To Life novel, 17 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In as much as this lays out vital moments in the discovery of Oliver Wade's nature from age 13 to 28, it is in essence a "coming of age" novel, but that is not how it comes across. There are none of the usual high-school tropes (bullying jocks vs. nerds; the footballer who turns out to have a secret, etc., indeed, only the first few sections are set at school age). The structure of the title suggests a collection of short stories, and I suppose that's how the book was conceived, but don't be put off if you dislike shorts because the book is really a novel in episodes, all connecting perfectly to form a satisfying whole.

Ben Monopoli doesn't put a foot wrong in bringing to life the first-person events: the scariness of early adolescence at a school dance; the extraordinary wonder of a wordless connection made with another boy made through the sound-proofed window of a commuter train (echoed on the cover image); to the heartbreaks and triumphs that inevitably make up the tapestry of any life. I wish I'd written it.


Captured Shadows
Captured Shadows
Price: £2.94

4.0 out of 5 stars A Victorian Gentleman's delight, 17 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Captured Shadows (Kindle Edition)
I read a review which commented that after enjoying the story the ending came too swiftly and seemed contrived. I can only say that while I would have greatly enjoyed another 20 pages or so, I can't see that the conclusion is either too rapid or very contrived.

The two primary characters, Jim and Archie, are charismatic and well drawn. The early scenes in which young Jim Sinnet—acclimatized, or perhaps desensitized to the night time pornographic photography activities of his employer—introduces the even younger, innocent Archie to the sexual antics of the prostitutes and "gentlemen" brought in as "actors" who they must photograph are extraordinarily erotic, through implication far more than by graphic description.

Overall, I rated this novel highly (4.5 *), both for character, situation, locale and the feeling for the period. The evocation of early photographic processes is beautifully presented by Jim with a confidence he lacks when it comes to wooing Archie and then keeping him. I don't consider this to be M/M Romance; it is far more a gay man's novel—which when you think about it might be considered odd since when they are convinced to act before the camera they must dress in women's clothing. Does this make them lesbians?


Something Like Thunder (Something Like... Book 6)
Something Like Thunder (Something Like... Book 6)
Price: £3.21

5.0 out of 5 stars Donner und Blitzen!, 12 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What needs to be said about Jay Bell as a writer and maker of stories has already been said many times over. All that's left, then, is how well the characters work. I've seen some comments pointing out that this is "Something Like Lightning" all over again only from Nathaniel's view point instead of Kelly's. Not so, I say. It would be academic to suggest going back with "Lightning" open again and re-read them side by side, but I think that would show up the essential difference and that "Thunder" enriches what Bell achieved in "Lightning"… not to mention casting varying and interesting degrees of illumination on "Summer", "Autumn", "Winter", and "Spring".


Pride
Pride
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars and with several layers in a sweet story., 12 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pride (Kindle Edition)
Short, to the point, and with several layers in a sweet story.


One Week of Summer
One Week of Summer

5.0 out of 5 stars Tough, gritty, compelling, 18 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's tough work, writing mixed first-person points of view, even when the characters whose minds you enter are restricted to two or perhaps three, but to pull it off with many voices… that requires a true skill in penmanship. And mixed POVs don't often find favor with many reader groups, least of all M/M Romance, which is a great pity, for those readers may miss some of the richest of writing.

The voices of the three main protagonists in this hip, young, and unashamedly Shagaluf-style story are drawn with an incisive accuracy: Johnny, thick as two planks nailed together but impulsive, driven, and persuasive, vain and vainglorious, likes his jeans nice and tight at the front so you can trace the shape of his…; George, his best friend since they were born, shy, retiring and with the dread certainty that he isn't as shaggable as Johnny (for which he has good reason but one he can't face); Lara, poor little rich girl on her way to her father's unoccupied luxury apartment in Bilbao for a quiet month off from too many boys and failed shagfests.

When Johnny falls for Lara over a breakfast coffee in London, where the Nottingham lads (18 both) have gone for a week's break before George faces uni, he insists that he and George follow her to Spain. Johnny is driven by the traceable shape in the front of his tight jeans, and sensible but passive partner George is dragged along on an insane adventure in his wake. An unexpected weeklong festival of unsuitable alcoholic cocktails, a pharmacopoeia of drugs, too much head-banging loud music, and emotional revelations follow as the two boys and Lara circle each other in an ever-changing perspective of relationships.

The voices of several of those who become either knowingly or unsuspectingly swept along in their stories add color and propel the narrative forward. Norris has an unerring ear for dialog, and while I hesitate to make comparison-recommendations, I suspect anyone who enjoyed Alexis Hall’s “Glitterland” for its authentic Brit-Essex voice, will find a similar engagement here. If romance is your bag, don’t look for it here, because it’s subtly buried within the context and not worn on the novel’s sleeve. It’s a book to work at, and all the better for that.


Like and Subscribe
Like and Subscribe
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Short but sublime, 27 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Short it may be, but this packs the kind of light, humorous-sad punch one expects from the master.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4