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Customer Reviews

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on 13 February 2012
I love this book. I love the ingenuity of it, I love the contemporariness of it, I love the symetry of it and I love that you get 253 stories in one. Each page has 253 words describing 253 characters with an end goal (one collective narrative of a train ride).

As a London lass, riding the tube regularly, this book speaks to me personally as well as jovialy, this is a book for people who love the written word, love a good story and enjoy seeing an author play with his medium in a confident and new way.
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on 3 November 2011
I enjoy the idea behind this novel, and it is a refreshing format, but there are some fundamental problems. One I cannot overlook is that the inclusion of a pigeon as one of the 253 passengers, a nice comedic touch, goes on to make little sense when lapdogs and a magician's rabbit travel unnumbered. I also find the Dave Eggers style 'advertisement' segments miss the mark.

However, it is an easy going read and not entirely without enjoyment.
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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 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 6 October 2014
this is the book i wish i had written
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on 26 November 2001
I had high hopes when I bought this book, it sounded like an truly original idea. What a dissappointment, this book is awful. I couldn't quite believe how banal, predictable and with complete lack of insight this book was. How it ever got published I do not know. Not a single character came to life for me...
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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 10 June 2010
I really, really wanted to like this book. The concept had such potential: a full Bakerloo line train with 253 passengers, and 253 words dedicated to each passenger, providing a window into each soul during what might otherwise have been a mundane seven-and-a-half minute tube journey. In practice, however, the book is a compilation of lackluster, dreary and absurd characters. How Ryman manages to make the characters ridiculous yet so mind-numbing thoroughly eludes me. By the novel's end, I could not have cared less about what happened to 95% of the characters, and the 5% I found interesting got completely lost and forgotten amongst the inanity of the rest. It's not often that I regret taking the time to read a particular book, but I want the hours of my life spent reading 253 back.
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on 1 March 2001
A truly terrible book. What sounds like a promising idea quickly becomes tedious and predicatable - even down to including a pigeon as one of the 253 passengers. I think my main disappointment was that it was so obviously written by one person. It might have been redeemed somewhat and wouldn't have paled so quickly if each character was written by a different author.
What 99% of travellers think about on the tube (including myself) is " . . . ", but it seems all Rymans passengers appear to be undergoing annoying and pretentious life-changing decisions.
This book seems like the sort of thing that looks easy for an agent to sell to a publisher looking for something different, but in the end it reads like a soap opera - it certainly has the depth of one.
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on 17 November 1999
I enjoyed this book increadably! Truely one of the best and most original books I've ever read. Even if you're not sure if you'll enjoy it, I'd say give it a go!
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