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To Walk Invisible [DVD]
To Walk Invisible [DVD]
Dvd ~ Finn Atkins
Price: £9.99

10 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bronte Hybrid, 3 Jan. 2017
This review is from: To Walk Invisible [DVD] (DVD)
Lets begin with the positives. The central thrust of the production focuses on the decision of Charlotte, Emily and Anne to take responsibilities for their lives, financially if at all possible and creatively in terms of their writing lives, their novels and poetry. This is a fine place to start and creates dramatic tension as all the siblings arrive home, including Branwell. What unfolds is the disintegration of Branwell and the triumph of the sisters. Truths that each of them have been covering up, Emily in Brussels her telling of ' Charlotte's demons' and Charlotte's unrequited love affair with M Heger and Anne's knowledge of Branwells affair with his employer, all that ensues, his dismissal and her humiliation and compromising position within the household. This is done well and I can see how Sally W came to the decision to begin uncovering the lives in this uncompromising way, the three sisters are shown honestly, the Yorkshire accents, the costume, the feel for the landscape, the sound and location of the set pieces between all members of the family are honest and lack sentimentality. The ambitious Charlotte, the not so reclusive Emily, or gently does it Anne show integrity - about bloody time I kept saying to myself as I watched. Branwells decent into drugs, booze and self pity was also executed well. The courage of Charlotte, Emily and Anne blazed through. Also the complexity of the sisters relationship and that with their brother, hints at sibling rivalry, even fear, as with Charlotte and Emily. All this, and then the great novels and poetry. The exploration of family dynamics is brutal and sets the sisters work in context of the period and the industrial and socio/ political climate of the times. The novels were written out of this and the imagination and this came through in bucketfuls. Now the rub, and to be honest the shock, which ruined the whole endeavour for me. The misplaced add on of an advertisement for the Bronte parsonage, I couldn't believe it, after Branwells death, the rush through captions of the deaths of Anne and Emily, and what happened to Charlotte.... bizarre. The guided tour, people looking at the books, the bronze statue of the sisters in the garden, the note telling us how they wrote the greatest books in the English language, still read today - what is the need for this? It looked as if it was an advert for the reinvented, reconstructed, Bronte Society - that and the Yorkshire tourist board! This ruined the whole thing, it smacked of corporate advertising and cynical and compromised the whole production. Just watching the programme as it was, with its fresh, honest and realistic approach is enough to take you to Howarth and to read - or re read the books and poetry surely? It wasn't needed and sat out of place with the production. I can't believe that the writer and production team consented to this, it seemed sly and out of place with the spirit of the production. It does fit in with the cycle of Bronte curations for the next couple of years that started with Charlotte last year and begins with Branwell this year etc.. but is this what TV is now for , to support other bodies and link with funding?
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 27, 2017 11:33 PM GMT


Mothering Sunday
Mothering Sunday
by Graham Swift
Edition: Board book
Price: £11.43

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars As I lay on the bed..., 1 July 2016
This review is from: Mothering Sunday (Board book)
Reminiscent of Virginia Woolf, and reading some of the other reviewers it doesn't surprise me that its been read on Radio 4 and by Eileen Atkinson who has appeared as Virginia Woolf on stage. For all its class consciousness and analysis its very middle class and self congratulatory. I kept imagining the radio 4 listener/reader smiling in recognition that they ' got it' and well, how this made the feel better. Off putting. The rhythms of the novel give a hypnotic quality to the work , the loops and repeats , and unreliable narration. Class insights are spot on and telling, skillfully adroit and slippery. Ultimately the work becomes more about the writer than the telling of something. Not sure what the obsession with language and the role of the writer is all about when your supposed to be telling a ' truths'. I suspect it will be ' used' as something exemplary for a creative writing course.
Heading... How to Do it.


Gull
Gull
by Glenn Patterson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.48

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Retro, 12 Mar. 2016
This review is from: Gull (Hardcover)
Cobbled together from a radio play. Poor writing, character development, bereft of any plot. Is this really all the novelist can come up with, especially when you consider what is happening in the North of Ireland, politically and economically. Dire and frankly a wee bit lazy. But retro is in so, why not then..


Noonday
Noonday
by Pat Barker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.90

3.0 out of 5 stars Devoid of ideas, Big on humanity.., 21 Oct. 2015
This review is from: Noonday (Hardcover)
The Regeneration Trilogy is a hard act to follow. Sadly this final book in the second trilogy that takes up the life, work and practice of the artists Kit, Elinor and Paul fails to hit the mark. The main issues are poor character development, and frankly the lack of knowledge about how artists function. Whilst it's not a biography of war artists it does show, this lack of understanding in the day to day creative existence.
What we do have is sketchy attempts at this, not fully developed of types and period. There are virtually no ideas in this novel, its grace is it's grasp of humanity, especially the countless blitz scenes, which is its part-saviour. Ghosts are present in the form of a medium akin to Zola's Nana in description though without the glamour. Not sure why she's in the novel, what's he function? Lots of descriptive passages of London, which feels like the star of the novel, as if writing the landscape of London was a distraction from writing about the characters lives. Sad because she's a good novelist.


The Novel: A Survival Skill: The Literary Agenda
The Novel: A Survival Skill: The Literary Agenda
by Tim Parks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.98

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Look and Learn, 20 Oct. 2015
This collection of essays appears to be stating the obvious, in a multitude of ways. My main issue here is the self concious , self congratulatory nature of the writing itself. This crops up all the time in his critical work and makes tedious reading.
Despite the connections between reading, writing, criticism and what shape a writers writing and preoccupations, I can see little of this development in his own novels, apart from Europa. Perhaps he should take his head out of a book and look around the country he lives and works in.


A Year of Good Eating: The Kitchen Diaries III
A Year of Good Eating: The Kitchen Diaries III
by Nigel Slater
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.00

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Edition .... With A Few Flaws, Fig And Plum...., 1 Oct. 2015
Fine, well considered sky blue book, handy size, good easy to follow recipes and best of all 3-5 ingredients per recipe. Clever, quite cunning little passages that sit in-between or at the beginning of recipes, sort of food musings... very seductive... which fuel his well thought through food philosophy-that all would share who love his style. I'd say he knows his faithful market of fans well.
He's the best kind of cook because of the lack of social and cultural pretentiousness you get so many others . I love the steamed savoury pudding revival, belly pork, shortbread with fresh blackberries- unusual for a shortbread recipe. It works. Kind of take on Italian Dolic or soft biscotti because of the hazelnuts and lemon zest... it does make you want to cook which is brilliant.
A note to anyone making the the delicious fig and plum jam/ conserve, keep your eye on the timings I found it took twice as long as he states in the book and I'm not a novice jam/ preserve maker. Also some of the recipes seem tweaked from other recipes from other books.


Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood
by Vivienne Westwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.48

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Selective Memory, 28 Sept. 2015
This review is from: Vivienne Westwood (Paperback)
Do take note. This is auto/biography, written by her about herself, with the aid of a ghost writer ( good to see him named- so many are not) so she is bound to be selective in terms of what she remembers and what she chooses to forget - or tells. It's also about legacy, what she wishes others, such as critics and member's of the fashion establishment and so called 'cultural elite' V& A ,to flag up, attribute to her and her business.. With this in mind its dry, conventional and poorly written. I find it difficult to understand how she justify s her rebellion, radicalism, anti establishment ideas with the branding of herself and work, isn't this a cop out-? Fashion is all about making money lets be honest( Tom Ford is honest about this, like him or not) so where does this fit into her initial impulse of busting the system via punk- punk was just punk, its the north of England that had the bite in terms of music and fashion, Northern Soul, Joy Division...Westwood is part of the establishment, I heard he talk about literary salons etc.. It's easy to attribute historical referencing in design and collections without having to mean anything as long as the cash and kudos keeps rolling in.


A Literary Tour of Italy
A Literary Tour of Italy
by Tim Parks
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Once Upon a Time in Italy...., 27 Sept. 2015
If you are looking for a guide, so to speak, of Italian literature you may be disappointed by this book. What you have is a series of subjective essays on Italian writers the author admires . Most of the essays are taken from other publications, so introductions from his translations of Italian classics or commissioned work from journals or newspapers. Well written and erudite, they will either point you in the direction of the novels, poetry etc.. or not. To be fair he does say in a brief introduction at the beginning of the volume, that this is not a definitive guide to Italian literature, so omissions of the likes of Primo Levi, Carlo Levi, Grazia Deledda, Pasolini, etc.. do not appear, neither do modern Italian novelists or poets. It is described as a 'literary tour' which seems to me a trite snobbish considering how much fine crime fiction is coming out of Italy- I can only presume he doesn't read it or this was not the brief.... It could be argued that the crime novels of Andre Camilleri have done as much for Sicily as Lampedusa, in terms of popular culture, politics and such like.
Camilleri is as literary as Lampedusa with fine echoes of Pirandello. Parks is honest about his inability to speak Italian when he arrived in Italy and it is refreshing to read how he taught himself to speak Italian by reading in the library and practising on his family, that's why I found it curious that in an essay on the writer Elsa Morante he criticised the biographer motives for writing a biography on her - the reasons given, she had no Italian and limited knowledge of the country.... just like himself once upon a time..
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 1, 2015 5:20 PM GMT


Tightrope
Tightrope
by Simon Mawer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.54

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Male View Of Female Agents..., 10 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Tightrope (Hardcover)
This is a disappointing sequel to The Girl That Fell From The Sky. I was in two minds to finish it but did based purely upon previous novels I'd read and enjoyed by the author. The problems of the novel surround poor character development, not just of the main protagonist, but other characters back in post war London. Particularly the woman V... lover comrade, fellow prisoner ... in the camp. This is curios due to the amount of weight Marian bestows on her in conversations with other in the narrative. Also Marian herself turned into a sort of ' male fantasy agent' clique ridden ideas about a powerful, glamorous,seducer of men, and lacking in any sexual morals- what ever that is... which at times you felt the authors indulged in the writing off. The one interesting aspect of the novel was the representation of the' celebrity agents, like Odette, in relation to other female agents. In truth there's not much new hear and the old myths about women like Marian still persist .


My Brilliant Friend: 1
My Brilliant Friend: 1
by Elena Ferrante
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 2 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: My Brilliant Friend: 1 (Paperback)
Sublime, accurate account, book 1 , of this southern Italian trilogy of womanhood.


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