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The Five Gates of Hell

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  263 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Moon Beach is where you go to die, a place where the dead are displayed under marquees and even the sea is dotted with gravestones. Once a year the city observes the Day of the Dead, when celebrants eat marzipan skulls and paint themselves blue to match the corpses on the ocean floor. In Moon Beach, Nathan Christie is an anomaly: he saves people from drowning. In Moon ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 29th 1992 by Vintage (first published 1991)
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May 06, 2014 Nisha-Anne rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure I want to talk about this book.

It was too powerful, too scattered but ultimately chillingly cohesive in that perfect Rupert Thomson way, too intimate, too universal and too mysterious to unpack and lay bare to the dissecting knife.

Some books change you. Some books leave barely a breeze. Every one of Rupert Thomson's books leaves me a different person.
Jul 09, 2014 David rated it really liked it
Rupert Thomson is one of those authors whose work I normally get massively frustrated by, as he comes up with a unique, intriguing premise and never manages to quite tie the idea down into a coherent novel. And generally speaking, I do prefer my novels to be coherent. However, in this one, he doesn't really come up with a premise at all. I'm not sure that even the location or characters are that well realised either. This is a book dealing mainly with the bizarre fictional seaside location of ...more
Aug 23, 2013 James rated it liked it
In The Five Gates of Hell Thomson creates an entirely creepy city, Moon Beach, an American-style metropolis on the eastern coast of a large, unnamed country, whose chief industry is funerals. Moon Beach sometimes feels like Miami, sometimes like New Orleans, sometimes like Mexico City (complete with an annual Day of the Dead), but it is always mysterious, less a portrait of a real American city than a vivid hallucination of one. In it he tells of the twin, interlinked comings of age of the ...more
Trevor Pearson
Oct 03, 2016 Trevor Pearson rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
" 'Those waves are high, you try and get through, but they're hitting the beach and chewing it up, you dive, you come up, you dive again, you come up again, you're getting nowhere, it's hard water, it keeps knocking you down and pounding on you, but you can't stop, if you stop, you've lost it, it rolls you right back to the shore, it throws you out on the sand like an old tin can, you've got to keep diving, that's where your fitness counts, you dive, you come up, and those waves keep pounding o
Nov 23, 2015 Mimi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I read this book when I was very young, too young to understand the nature of not only taking a life but making a person suffer for life. This book opened my eyes to the separation of personality and abnormal behavior. Sometimes nice, well-meaning people are capable of awful things, but we don’t want to think about that, much less imagine it. We never want to find ourselves in such a predicament either. Needless to say, this book left an impression on me, one that I can't quite shake off to this ...more
Jan 29, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
For me this book continually hovered on the verge of greatness, but never quite crossed over the threshold. It was still very enjoyable, though.
Jan 29, 2012 William rated it it was amazing
scary, great
Ian Towey
Dec 12, 2013 Ian Towey rated it it was amazing
Rupert Thomson is one of the best English contemporary writers. Read this and find out why.
Polly James
Feb 25, 2015 Polly James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is really a 4.5 star book, and it would get five stars if the subject matter wasn't so bleak. The novel is dark, beautiful, violent, imaginative and moving, and I was hooked from start to finish.

Rupert Thomson manages to combine wonderful writing with a plot that keeps the reader turning the page– no mean achievementin itself – and his descriptive passages are so good, and so inventive, that the book is well worth reading for those alone, though it is also worth reading for other reasons:
Jul 29, 2015 JK rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this in a strange sort of way. It was completely different, and almost a breath of fresh air.

Thomson's use of language was gorgeous. It was beautifully written - so descriptive, so vivid, and so full of wonderful imagery that I felt myself getting more emotionally involved than I usually do.

The story was set in what seemed like an alternative city with strange religious views on death and funerals, which in turn bred strange ceremonies and annual events. The main industry here w
Jan 29, 2012 Neophiliac marked it as put-down
I doubt I will finish this. I've read enough of it to believe that the remainder will not be a pleasure. While I've enjoyed some books by Rupert Thomson none of them really lived up to The Insult, or even the first half of The Insult. His stories are populated by too many unlikable or evil characters.
Chryssula Kokossulis
May 16, 2014 Chryssula Kokossulis rated it really liked it
I read this book a long time ago. About twenty odd years back, but I do remember its impact. It has a certain odd nightmareish quality to it. If you like deep psychological insights, you are going to love this one.
Michael Riess
Apr 18, 2014 Michael Riess rated it really liked it
Another compelling and literate novel by the extraordinary Rupert Thomson. Every novel I've read by this author is unique and amusingly bizarre! This author definitely has my attention!
Simon newson
none of the characters engaged me so I was neither disappointed nor relieved by the outcomes. I do enjoy Thomson's settings, almost a place we recognise but slightly out of kilter.
Davidbclarke rated it liked it
Feb 16, 2012
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Jan 09, 2016
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Apr 04, 2013
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Sep 16, 2012
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Jan 19, 2013
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Martin Reddin
Martin Reddin rated it it was amazing
Jan 29, 2012
Paul rated it it was ok
Jan 29, 2012
C Williams
C Williams rated it it was amazing
Jun 01, 2015
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Tabitha Collins rated it it was amazing
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Mark O'mara rated it really liked it
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“That's what birthdays were. Days when you found out where you stood. Who was on your side and who wasn't. Nothing to do with how old you were.” 23 likes
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