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Customer reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
8
3.5 out of 5 stars
Bonita Avenue
Format: Kindle Edition|Change
Price:£3.69


on 20 May 2014
I must be getting old and/or completely out of touch with modern fiction. I spent some time trying to work out what this was all about, and eventually gave up on the grounds that life was too short.
Often I've admired an author's ability to baffle me initially, and then lead me towards a logical end; this, sadly, can't be included in that category.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 May 2014
Peter Buwalda’s debut novel was published to widespread acclaim in his native Holland and has now made a similar impact worldwide. It is a sprawling, exuberant, wild ride of a novel, with twists and turns and a cast of eccentric characters, multi-layered and original. It’s the story of a dysfunctional family par excellence, headed by patriarch Siem Sigerius, a larger than life mathematical genius, judo champion, university professor and charismatic family man. When Aaron falls for Siem’s step-daughter Joni and is introduced to the family, he immediately falls under Siem’s spell and a friendship develops between them.
But what starts so promisingly soon degenerates into chaos as events conspire to break down everything that once seemed so successful and secure. Paranoia, madness, the fragmentation of the family and the individual members’ psyches, secrets, lies and a seemingly unbridgeable generational divide – all these dark and disturbing elements could have made this a gripping and moving tale of a family’s fall from grace.
But for me this novel just doesn’t hang together. Buwalda tackles far too many weighty themes, from internet pornography to suicide, without saying anything very meaningful about any of them. His characters are neither likeable nor sympathetic, and Siem Sigeruis, on whom the novel largely focusses, is an over-the-top caricature, obsessed as he is with sex and seemingly incapable of forging meaningful relationships.
Buwalda does have an eye for the arresting detail, a facility for amusing set-pieces, and an acute awareness of contemporary issues, but tries to pack in too much. He just about manages to keep control of his narrative as the pace quickens and the novel hurtles towards its climax, but by that time I had lost interest in the whole sorry bunch of them. There’s remarkably little depth to this book, in spite of its exuberance and verve, which go some way to disguise the fact, and in the end it all amounts to very little. Much noise but no substance. Disappointing.
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on 11 December 2015
Lovely twisty tale of family fun and frolics. I was surprised to see other readers found it hard to get going - I zipped through it with occasional pauses to tell friends how good it was. None of the characters are very wholesome but that's what makes it so good.
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on 15 July 2015
This is one of the best books I have read, reminded me of Donna tarts a secret history in some ways, either way I enjoyed it very much
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on 19 June 2015
A very strong start but the second half of the book doesn't really live up to it.
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on 7 August 2016
Very poor. Spare yourselves the effort
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on 5 December 2015
Very pleased with product
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on 25 July 2014
Great writing. Gripping book
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