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on 7 March 2000
Now we`re talking. I need more than five stars. Nicholson has a style--a sardonic narrative, with lots of dialogue and philiosphical asides; chapter inserts on a tangential subject; set-pieces; dangerous beatiful women; sad melancholy Brits and loud extroverts/madmen (usually American) and most crucially a plot which seems to be a wholly improvised bad dream with incredible and sometimes ironic why-the-hell-not twists. His plots are genuine farcical houses of cards. This one like his others plays games with identity,chance, Svengali control freaks and eccentric pawns under unknown,random control. This is a brilliant twist on the life is a stage novel (John Fowles The Magus is another similar one) and plays those games but here with a reader-friendly plot. Okay I love the Errol Flynn era of Hollywood and any novel with a movie being made gets me,so I`m biased-- but this one has a plot which is genuinely incredible...a loser actor who looks nothing like Errol Flynn is hired to play Flynn by a film director who increasingly begins to look like Flynn. You need know no more. Again it reminds me of Amis and Paul Auster but with its rolling Southern Yorkshire cadences and that British ability of telling the absurd in a deadpan manner it takes you on a real journey from start to finish. Again it would make a great movie...Kevin Kline looks like Errol Flynn...somebody get him this book...or Michael Douglas...they would love to play a maniac film director who controls evrybody outside the film-set too. If you only read one Nicholson novel...this is it.
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on 23 December 2006
I bought this novel purely out of curiosity having read the blurb and a couple of end-cover reviews. The only reason I finished it was to find out if it was really as bad as I thought it was. I had never heard of the author before but from the reviews he seemed to have quite a reputation. How he managed that is beyond me. I have to imagine that his other novels are better than this. A lot better. The Errol Flynn novel reads like something a teenager might think is wild and whaky. Witless, thoughtless, pointless... if you don't believe me read it for yourself and post a review telling me what I've missed.
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on 27 November 2000
This is the first Geoff Nicholson book I've read and I bought it on the strength of the cover blurb and the "laugh yourself sick" review from Time Out. Sadly, the stilted, repetitive prose; two-dimensional characters and unconvincing storyline didn't even raise a titter. Dire ...
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