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3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  299 ratings  ·  21 reviews
American sales supremo, Raleigh Connor, is masterminding the launch of Kwench!, a life-enhancing drink. Barker Dodds is hounded out of Plymouth by a family who suspect him of murder. And Glade Spencer works as a waitress in a Soho restaurant. What does she have in common with Connor and Dodds?
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published March 5th 1998 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published January 1st 1998)
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MJ Nicholls
Soft has the most misleading blurb and design I’ve ever encountered. (This month at least: let time corrupt). Packaged as an edgy Palahniuk-style assault on evil capitalist pigs, the blurb tells us of the most marginal protagonist in the story, marketing whizz Jimmy who devises a subliminal ad campaign based on brainwashing experiments. Well . . . no.

In actual fact, this is a book about relationships. It just happens to bring the three protagonists together via a subplot about an evil fizzy pop...more
I didn't actually finish this book. I read most of it, and it was OK, and I had about 50 pages to go. I wasn't inspired by it, so I figured I'd knock those off that evening and start something else. Sadly, at the end of a long train journey that evening, the 13th September 2009, I set it down on the concrete outside Andover train station and must have forgotten to pick it up when my lift arrived.

That was a little disappointing, but not very, which is really as good a verdict on the book as I can...more
Steve Sanderson
Three people, three different backgrounds and lifestyles, one soft drink. It's a thriller, and so well written. This book flew by, because the writing was crisp, but not spare, the characters not at all stereotypical (there's plenty of backstory).

But what I liked most was the choices Rupert Thomson makes in his descriptions - he doesn't show you everything, only just enough so the reader has to do a bit of work.

This book's well worth your time, if you like a literate and somewhat scathing noiris...more
Paul Simon Grimsley
this was a really interesting look at the world of advertising taken to the nth degree. really compelling and genuinely gets you on the edge of your seat. you care about the characters contained within these pages. a great read.
I don't think this is a bad book. Thomson can definitely write, and he's on fairly decent form here. He manages to switch between three pretty different narrators and make each voice convincing, each character fleshed out. When he's telling the story as Barker, the former bouncer and hardman who moves to London to escape his past, he's not far short of brilliant. However, the character's pasts and complexities in the end aren't really all that relevant to the plot, and although it's good for fic...more
I would give it four stars in fact, but I did not like the chapter five that is far too long, and its blurry, dreamlike style seemed to me to be out of sync with the rest of the book. Which is a pity, because otherwise it's a real joy to read it: well, that is, if you are not too squeamish and if you do not happen to be a hardcore fan of orange-coloured soft drinks...

The characters are finely cut, and it's good that Glade is just a normal girl and not an utter angel. The only character I had som...more
An innovative detective story grounded in contemporary amoral advertising. Sits well alongside The Circle by Dave Eggers, and a glass of water.
Michael Riess
Another unique novel from this outstanding writer. A well written and compelling account of unethical corporate practices is the basis for the storyline of which I think most informed readers will appreciate.
An inconsequential and detached read, reminiscent of Amis, with a dark and sombre mood. A perplexing amount of rave reviews from the days of its late nineties release adorned my copy, pronouncing that this would become a cult classic that would live long in the collective memory – for a hardly notorious book that touches on how advertising and industry can seek to drive tastes and fashions independent of consumers’ genuine opinions, I found this to be nicely ironic.
I just could not figure out what this book wanted to be. Someone called it horror-lite,but there was no horror that I could find. There were some ironically funny bits, but not enough to make it consistently amusing. There were some suspenseful bits, but again not enough to make it consistently interesting. At times the book felt like I was in the center of the sleep study which is at the center of this novel.
Exploring the grim underbelly of advertising & its not so subtle connection with brainwashing. A speedy little read, with three complex and engaging main characters locked in a very surreal battle. At times it is frustrating but only due to subject matter and some less than likeable character traits on show. A well-written, pacy little thriller that will make you think twice about your next thirst-quencher.
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I quite enjoyed this but I spent the first 100 pages wondering what was going on as it didn't seem to fit with what I was expecting. I think overall I preferred the idea of the book to the actual content. I enjoy Thomson's style though.
Light, fizzy reading that is actually quite substantive intellectually and as a piece of social commentary. I often praise Martin Amis as my favorite British author, but Thomson is one of the marvels on the English literary scene.
I'm a soda drinker so it scared the crap outta me WHILE i was reading the book. The fact that the whole thing is so freaking possible! I love the way the three characters came together. Very disturbing but i love it.
That this, like any other Thomson book, is not for the squeamish. That this kind of horror-lite can be quite compelling but leave you wishing you'd done something wholesome instead like mow the lawn or trim the hedge.
The brazilian edition sells it as a suspens novel. Much more about the inter-relations of some unlikely characters and some quite unexpected fast resolution of events.

It surprised me in very good ways.
Strange thriller about the marketing of a new soft drink which has some very odd outcomes. The author obviously knows Plymouth as the book has many references to real locations
A fun corporate noir from the other side of the pond. Fast and loose, like all good fiction.
well - it makes you think, but it is also very strange
nice linked threesom
Cheryl marked it as to-read
Oct 08, 2014
Wegra Lee
Wegra Lee is currently reading it
Oct 05, 2014
Kylene Verdi
Kylene Verdi marked it as to-read
Sep 23, 2014
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