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The London Pigeon Wars
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The London Pigeon Wars

3.11 of 5 stars 3.11  ·  rating details  ·  167 ratings  ·  20 reviews
There are Tariq and Emma, Tom and Karen, Kwesi, Freya, and Ami--city-dwelling thirty-somethingers whose youthful hopes and dreams have dissolved into failing careers, failing relationships, and failing health. And yet their dissatisfaction has scarcely occurred to them until the mythic Murray returns with his Murray fun and irritating ease with life. His reappearance makes ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 9th 2004 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 2003)
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I really got the feel of being in London.
Sandra Grauschopf
When I was thinking about what I wanted to say about The London Pigeon Wars, the first thing that came to mind was, "The writing was witty, but..." Then it occurred to me that that reaction is exactly what's wrong with this book.

The writing seems sharp, but the plot and the characterization fall flat. I don't have a reason to care about any of the characters. A quote on the back of the book promises, "a real gut-punching shock that sends to reader back to the beginning to reappraise everything t
this was an interesting read. about some thirty somethings in london. the odd part is that there is a parallel story going on about pigeons at war. pigeon slang is pretty interesting.
Aug 19, 2008 Megan added it
Well this is a bit of a fib. I started to read it, and I stopped. First chapter was like some kind of war memoir told in pidgin Pigeon by way of A Clockwork Orange. Second chapter was so freakishly similar to a very immature novel that I started years ago (character names and outstanding characteristics, general plot idea, style of writing, etc.) that I was completely spooked and actually was prepared to give the book away, but James asked that we keep it until he'd read it. I may yet finish it, ...more
The human characters and their backgrounds, relationships, interactions etc., was interesting and at time made for some funny moments. The pigeon consciousness on the other hand - although it helped fill in a few holes and whatnot - was mostly distracting. For an animal that described itself as bird-brained, it spoke (thought) with an eloquence not unlike the characters in A Clockwork Orange or 'V' from V for Vendetta, but that only served to slow the pace of the book somewhat as I tried to deci ...more
May 12, 2009 Discoverylover marked it as released-or-to-release-without-read
"Master storyteller and Whitbread Novel Award-wimmer Patrick Neate has written a funny, provocative and daring tale of London high and low life set among the capital's twirtysomethings. Featuring performance poetry; murder; Trafalgar Square's only fried-chicken induced battle; hat selling; bank robbery for the middle classes; love (and other social ailments); as well as pigeons - lots of crazed, angry thinking pigeons - The London Pigeon Wars is both a comic fable for our times and an exciting b ...more
Colin Mclennan
Such low attention spans for some of those that tried to read this book! I really enjoyed it and the pidgin speak Is nothing to those of us that read train spotting twenty years ago. My twin fascination with Murray and with the surreal pigeon element kept me going to the end. I DID find myself flicking back to chapters gone by to see how it all fitted in and I am still thinking about it the day after. It's not perfect but it's surely entertaining and different from your run of the mill by number ...more
Very unusual. And crap! it is completely untranslatable - by me anyway.
Also, what is frustrating is that no one here wrote anything about it, but I need to talk about this book! I need to share, discuss, debate, ask questions... Where's the author?

Actually, stumbled upon (read "actively looked up"...) a review on Amazon, and the guy hit it on the nail: the "deus ex machina" feeling is a little frustrating, and Murray could/should have done with a little (read "a lot") more explaining.

Still. A v
I really enjoyed the parts from the pigeon's perspective, not enough books give pigeons the chance to give their point of view. The human stories and relationships were great too and this book would've got 4/5 except the ending revelation wanted me to stretch my suspended disbelief just a tiny bit too much. I'd already accepted talking pigeons book! -.-
London's pigeons go to war while beneath a group of thirty-somethings feel lost and decide to rob a bank.

The chapters written in the voice of the pigeons - their strange new pigeon language - are delightful. The terribly charismatic Murray - the pied piper of the humans - should be annoying but isn't. It's all very strange and darkly enjoyable.
Aug 09, 2008 Suzanne rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
It all started out so promising. Pigeons with thoughts and their own language (a bit like Anthony Burgess in A Clockwork Orange - "viddying" etc) but oh boy, it became unsustainable. The pigeon-speak became entirely incomprehensible and the long and winding plot never really got going. I was unable to finish it.
Jennifer Barber
Having started this book three times and failing to get past the first chapter (pidgin isn't the easiest to get your head round) I finally stuck with it 4th time round and wish I'd done it sooner! Love the characters (both human and pigeon) and the mystery of exactly who - or what - Murray is still has me wondering!
this book is so weird. the structure, the characters, the tone, the voices of alternate universe pigeons - i could only skim those parts because the pigeon language was so grating. It took me a while to get through but at the end of the day I kind of liked it? Eh.
I adored this. OK, I didn't always get the pigeon parts, the weird bird patois, but I stuck with it and I can't immediately recall any other literary ending that has affected me so deeply.
when i finished this book i missed it so much i turned back to the first page and read it over again. but maybe that's just cuz i'm compulsive sometimes. but it was a great read.
Very disappointing. Such a great idea - I would love to read about the lives of our great London pigeons but it fell down on plot, pace and even comprehensiveness.
The Big Chill meets Animal Farm in an intriguing book which ultimately fails to move you - Twelve Bar Blues is a much better bet
I really enjoyed this and I really didn't know what to expect from it, an original perspective!
Pigeons that talk! Yes! If only they were the entire story.
Eimear Fee
A must if you speak pigeon.

NOT a favourite.
Chris Williamson
Chris Williamson marked it as to-read
Oct 11, 2015
Emma Radford
Emma Radford is currently reading it
Oct 10, 2015
ESKINDER marked it as to-read
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Sep 18, 2015
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