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  • 253
  • Customer reviews

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on 14 March 2007
This is the story of a lifetime. The story of 253 lifetimes to be exact. It is the story of 253 twelve minute train journeys. With 253 words devoted to each and every character, the author is able to intertwine the secret lives of the passengers brilliantly. It is amazing how detailed a picture of someone can be built from so few words. This novel began its life on the internet where it attracted a huge cult following. Since being published in paper form, 253 has been heralded as a modern classic, a seminal work of twenty-first century literature. Join 253 faceless people, as they live twelve minutes of their lives, hurtling towards an inevitable future. This is such an easy book to read wherever you are. Just don't read it on the Underground, you might find yourself staring at people, wondering what secret their stony faced silence conceals.
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on 14 January 2001
"253" is a smart and funny book about 252 passengers and one driver on train on the Bakerloo line. What makes this book unique is each page describes exactly one passenger - so reading this book is like reading 253 very short stories. Some of the stories have informative and witty footnotes. Watch out for the one on a shopping centre near the Elephant and Castle - it's a gem!
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on 9 August 1999
This book is genius. Not only does it have a storyline to it but it delves deep into the lives and thoughts of everyday people, imagine yourself sitting on a train... someone might be wondering what you are think, someone might even write about it. The way it all ties together must have taken years to come up with alone. You simply HAVE to read this book.
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on 16 April 2003
I absolutely loved this book, It was great to read and I think that some of the reviews have been a little unfair. As this was a web book first I feel that it has translated very well and is a compulsive read which is excellent. I think that it's a must read book, very good!
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on 9 November 1998
I stumbled upon this book and thought "mmm interesting". I started reading it and WOW! It zips by, kind of leaves you punch drunk but is worth every minute. The stories are intertwined brilliantly, it's funny, sad and thought provoking. Hell, I just liked it.
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on 9 November 2012
A very interesting and original idea, although it is somewhat lacking in execution. Great characters. This is the ideal book to take on a tube journey, not only because of the subject matter but because it's easy to read, put down and pick up. I'd give the idea 4 stars and the execution 3. I probably wouldn't read it again, but it passed the time and I enjoyed it.
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on 26 April 2002
... bog. That's not a criticism. Liked the book, but found it difficult to read too much of it in one go and eventually left it in the little room and it made perfect diversion. Some characters a bit trite or plain poor, most very entertaining, many very sad. Good book.
2 people found this helpful
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on 5 October 2010
This is an interesting idea spread far too thinly. Each page takes up a different character on a tube car, what they're wearing, what they're thinking etc. A surprising number are connected to other people on the tube. That's about it really. On and on it goes for all 253 passengers, and there's its weakness. 100 passengers and I might have given this four stars, but in the end it's just about the most boring book I've ever struggled to the end of. Geoff Ryman has had an original idea here, and boy does he beat you over the head with it until it's had every shred of interest drained out of it. A shame really.
One person found this helpful
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on 13 January 2004
253 is the number of people which travel on a London Underground train including the driver (if all the seats are taken and no one is standing up- the ideal amount). The author gives you some insight into the people which are traveling; outward appearance, inside information and what they are doing and thinking. It's a clever idea for a novel, very imaginative, each page provides a potrait of the person in 253 words. It's ideal for someone who likes to dip in and out of a book.
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on 26 February 2006
One of the greatest books I've read.
It sounds terrible - one of those pseudo-mathematical exercises in writing much beloved of French experimental writers - but it isn't like that. Geoff Ryman writes brilliantly and each of 253 characters immediately involves you. I've read and re-read it.
Simply stunning.
3 people found this helpful
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