Top critical review
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Don't believe the hype
on 7 November 2005
I made the mistake of suggesting this book to a book group, based on the strength of a Radio 4 review I had heard. I then came on this site and found similarly encouraging reviews. I have felt guilty ever since for almost bringing the group to an end with their first book!
I can only assume that the dazzling reviews that this book has received have been as a result of some desire by the reviewers to tap into what they conceive to be fashionable modern culture. The characterisation and prose do not otherwise deserve anywhere near this praise. Poetic at points, but muddled and dull at many others.
This was a character driven book, the plot taking a back seat and acting more as a vehicle through which the characters could reveal their feelings and personalities. It was a shame therefore that the characters varied from engaging and believable in the form of Amira, to aimless and annoying in Lamis and Nicholas.
I read it quite easily and enjoyed it in parts but feel that someone had to address the outrageous overstating of the merits of this book!