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3.4 out of 5 stars
18
3.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Kindle Edition|Change
Price:£4.94


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on 4 March 2012
I read this in one sitting, takes just a few hours to get through.

A totally bizarre read right from the start & I hadn't a clue where it would take me.

It reminded me a bit of a scary twisted version of Alice in Wonderland, & I heard the Eagles song " Hotel California" enter my head as I was reading! Spooky!

I wouldn't say I loved it, but it certainly kept my attention & a book that I will remember.
I thought it was well written with a harrowing concept!

Not one to be read last thing at night! ....(which I did!). .... Dare I open the fridge this morning!!
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on 15 July 2011
I hated this, I hate the writing style, I hate the content and I hate that I wasted even a small part of my life on this utter rubbish!

The reviews of this book, included in the version I have, describe it as "humorous, clever and funny" but it is none of these things, they also describe it as "surreal and weird" which is at least true if not very helpful.

The author seems to think verbosity is the same as wit, he stretches sentences on and on as if you should marvel at his ability to string words together in a coherent order.

In the first chapter there is a little wit as we meet Valentine and his parents but even this is spoiled by pretension.
The author deliberately uses an archaic word, contumacious, and even suggests you look it up in the dictionary, that is a bit pretentious but harmless. The problem is if you are going to do that then the rest of your prose needs to be perfect otherwise it goes from a little pretentious to completely pretentious with a dollop of stupidity mixed in and within a few pages there are mistakes, these are mistakes that would be ignored normally as simple editing errors but after telling his reader to go use a dictionary these mistakes make the comment seem arrogant since clearly the author was too lazy to use his own dictionary.

After chapter one there is no more humour, none.
The next chapters can be defined by the whining that is done, there is the one that whines about western news, the one that whines about western consumer culture, the one that whines about religion, and so on ...

The book is weird and surreal but anyone can be weird and surreal; just ask someone to describe their dreams to you.

There is some cut-price spiritual nonsense mixed in with the whining to try and give the book a veneer of depth.

I have rarely hated a book this much.
I got it for free and I still feel ripped off.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 April 2011
This book was recommended by a friend, so I downloaded the sample to see for myself. I found I was hooked from the first amusing paragraph and it wasn't long before my mouse wandered back to the 1-click button so I could read the rest.

The book begins with a verbal exchange between a mother and her stay-at-home son. From the first few words, I found myself chortling at the curiously philosophical conversation. The son later meets Anna the landlady, in whose household he spends most of the story. The various other 'lodgers' in Anna's house keep the young man in a state of naive bewilderment with a succession of eccentric propositions and unexpected questions. The only challenge he is able to rise to is when he is accosted by a priest who emerges from a kitchen appliance, in a scene which reminded me of the prison cell visit by a priest in Albert Camus' 'L'Etranger'.

If you can imagine your literary sensibility having feet, with one foot planted in surrealism and the other in existentialism, this book will tickle your toes in a singular fashion with its extravagantly eccentric banter. The story races along at a cracking pace, with barely a pause to draw breath, and includes many wonderful lines like:
"I stood in the doorway, sensing failure but clinging to hope."

- and of a bottomless coffee pot offered as part of the extensive breakfast menu:
"But surely that defies the laws of physics."
"Not if you pay your rent on time."

The mid part of the story veers into the macabre and even horrifiying, as death insinuates itself between the pages. Although death may be peaceful, it can also be horrific. This phase passes, however, and as the story concludes, it finds resolution in a surrealist form of reincarnation. 'The End Of The World' explores how death might also be a very confusing place for the recently and unexpectedly deceased.

I consider this tale to have a strongly humane and humanitarian message. It is an absorbing, entertaining and thought-provoking story, and one I would very highly recommend to anyone who appreciates a surreal and unconventional approach to 'life, death and everything in between'.
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on 1 November 2011
Strange little tale that never really goes anywhere and feels as though it is just being odd for odd sake! Reads a little like Will Self but not quite so good ~ the main advantage is that it won't take long to read!
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on 26 June 2011
From the opening few pages this read identifies itself as whacky and a little bizarre. Biss creates dialogue which is witty yet gives one pause for thought every now and again and, in doing so, has established a singular style that whilst borrowing, a little, from others is unique and refreshing.

Here we follow the tribulations of Valentine as he makes that most arduous journey of all - that of life to death and beyond...perhaps! Without doubt there is a Buddhist undercurrent supporting the story but that's all it does and at no time do the characters proselytize about religion. We are asked to look at ourselves in the context of religion and Biss offers us an explicit Christian pitch delivered by Monsignor Dave via the kitchen sink (I did tell you it was bizarre) to balance out the Buddhist thread which runs throughout the book.

The characters Valentine meets at the B&B allow the author to bring other agendas into the story and he does so skillfully, pricking our collective conscience about matters such as, ethnic cleansing, interfering in world affairs and our part in the state this planet is in.

I have a slight problem with the initial set up and cannot reconcile the fact that our protagonist lived such a cosseted life (he had never set foot outside his garden) prior to ending up where he did with the general tone of Bardo Thodol (The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo (Shambhala Pocket Classics). There is probably some point to it that my extremely limited knowledge of Tibetan Funerary Text has missed. Perhaps somebody else can enlighten me!

Overall, the book is too short and this work could have been extended easily. Due to it's shortness one feels that the points the author wishes to make are "shoehorned" in and it too readily jumps onto another agenda without fully exploring the previous. On top of that, there is much that could have been made of Valentines relationship with his parents and I think that this is a major failing of the book which downgrades it to "OK", in my opinion.

It is certainly worth the admission fee to take the journey with Valentine and I would say that this book is worth a read, for sure.
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on 15 November 2013
This was a little bit of a weird book in that it doesn't really seem to go anywhere and lacks an overall ending. It takes almost half of the book for the point of the story to be revealed. Up until this point little makes sense and it seems to be a lot of rambling. Characters pop up for one chapter, disappear and are then never heard of again.

The idea of the story was that everyone in The House at the End of the World was dead and needed help coming to terms with it. The main character Valentine is kicked out of home after his mother becomes pregnant. He has never been outside before and is subsequently mugged and killed at gunpoint. Soon after his mother is killed after being knocked down by a bus and comes to help him come to terms with his death. The story ends quickly with no real conclusion and I felt let down by what I had read. It was a quick but wasted time reading a book.
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on 11 May 2013
Downloaded this free on `Amazon' in June 2012. This is an amusing Novella. No real plot, but a crazy ride where you meet some weird and wonderful characters. I rated 4 stars as it kept me amused, has some good quotes and sayings, and gives you a unique look into someone else's mind. Would like to have read more and will be looking for other short works by the author. Check out my blog (sharonsbookreviews.wordpress.com) for a full review (coming soon). If you want something quick and easy to read, and that is a little bit wacky then this is for you. The End of the World
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on 3 April 2015
I just didn't get it. A story of someone with bizarre parents, who has never left home, suddenly finds themselves trapped in some sort of half life bed and breakfast.
I didn't understand the story, if there was a message it was above my head. I hate giving poor reviews, especially after someone has taken the effort to write, but having finished it (thankfully it is short) I know I will never remember the story or that I read it. It wasn't particularly funny, and none of the characters were identifiable.
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on 30 March 2011
This is a surreal, clever, literary story by an award-winning playwright. Though it's much shorter than A Confederacy of Dunces, if you have read that book or The Third Policeman, I think you will enjoy this story. It is weird, funny and philosophical - recommended.
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on 23 June 2014
Not a bad little story with a good message.

Interesting, but over too quick, could have easily read more, but good concept and easy to read.
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