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4.6 out of 5 stars
29
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 10 August 2017
I can't quite put my finger on exactly why I liked it so much, I just did. I'm so glad I stumbled across this gifted author, and now can't wait to start Gabriel's Angel.
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on 24 March 2017
great writer
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on 6 November 2013
This was one of those books I couldn't put down. It is well written and this makes it very easy to read. Although I wouldn't immediately reach for a book where the initial storyline was set in a mental health hospital, in this case I was hooked after the first two or three pages. Why? It has a fast moving, engaging storyline, interesting characters and quite a few very funny asides and put downs. It managed this whilst also providing some thought provoking insights (to me at least). Try it, you wont be disappointed.
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on 8 April 2014
I read this having enjoyed Gabriel's Angel and not long after reading "the shock of the fall".
It could be viewed as a collection of oddball characters, coincidence and a touch of magic but I found it moving and revealing in equal measure. The main characters have depth and realism, and the story is thoroughly engaging and despite its dark moments leaves a sense of hope.

From the madness of the asylum, through care in the community and the damage done to many who come into contact with the mental health world, patients and staff alike, to a gentle sense of possible redemption, this is a great story and a compelling read.
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on 10 November 2013
A fantastic read which makes you look at mental illness in a different way. At times it is very funny but equally as sad in parts. I believe the author was once a psychiatric nurse which gives gravitas to the writing.

I do not review many books as music and film is far more my thing, but this is so good I thought I'd spread the word!
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on 14 July 2014
When I started reading this, I feared I might want to read something else in parallel, thinking that a story involving mental health patients and carers might be a tad depressing. And parts of it were certainly challenging in that respect. To my delight however, the characters were beautifully drawn, the story (spanning over 20 years) fascinating and ultimately rewarding. As someone who reads a lot, I'm used to picking up and putting down a book, but this one really did earn the phrase "I couldn't put it down".

Immediately after finishing this wonderful book, I downloaded Gabriel's Angel and read that in a day too - I've found a new favourite author and can't recommend this highly enough.
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on 26 May 2014
As a nurse actively working with service users with mental health issues, I was compelled to seek out this book after it was mentioned by a colleague, in a meeting.
I found it very moving, accurate and a little disturbing. Being an "old school" nurse who trained in the early 1980s I can relate to the whole asylum mentality, and remember clearly them being closed down and patients being "turned out" into an uncertain world.
Back to the book. Read it, please.
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on 18 May 2014
This seems like a book of two halves and in the first half it is gritty, griping and at times slightly shocking and this is the half I loved the most. The second half is excellent but less shocking and more dreamy somehow - less realistic than the first part of this great novel.
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on 22 June 2014
Really enjoyed this book. Thought provoking and entertaining. A real page turner. Would recommend this book. It has also strangely inspired me to archive my goal of becoming a nurse and maybe a mental health nurse. Here's to hoping I get in!
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on 1 December 2013
One of the many things I like about this book is that it's written about the kind of people that don't get written about much in modern novels. Its protagonists are the kind of people I know so well, and, yet, outside genre fiction, are pretty much invisible. They appear occasionally in the work of writers like Martin Millar, Anthony Cartwright and Jonathan Coe, but they're an endangered species. What happens to these characters when first relationships break down, life hits like a hammer, and first jobs are given up in poverty and frustration? How does life turn out for these people? Just a few of the questions posed by Stranger Than Kindness as work in an asylum in the eighties moves to working against the menace of big drug companies in 2013. A bulwark against Daily Mail readers hoping to keep reality out by burying their heads in their herbaceous borders, Mark A Radcliffe's characters (surely a sizable minority of people in this country) try to change things for the better as they take on their own vulnerabilities and the challenges posed by outside agencies in a thoroughly engaging, robust, and sparky manner. Ultimately, Stranger Than Kindess proves that surviving Thatcher doesn't have to be stranger than fiction.
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