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The Crash of Hennington

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  161 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Welcome to the seaside metropolis of Hennington, where a mysterious herd of rhinoceros have wandered city-streets for so long they've become a civic feature, where the current Mayor first met her husband on a nude beach, and where Jon Noth has returned after four decades to reclaim a lost love - the Mayor.
Paperback, 487 pages
Published October 2003 by Flamingo (first published January 1st 2003)
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Patrick Ness is a god among YA writers, and I will hear no word to the contrary. But all gods have to start somewhere, and Ness apparently started by writing magical realism for adults. For a writer who's so varied in his style, it's hard to call that strange exactly. But most Patrick Ness books just somehow feel distinctly like Patrick Ness. They all reflect on morality similarly, even when covering wildly different topics. I can always recognize his writing.

That's not the case here, because Ne
After reading so many of Patrick Ness's works, it is actually kind of interesting to go back to his debut novel because you can actually see so much growth in his writing. The power of hindsight is indeed powerful, because I'm not certain if I'd have ever picked up The Knife of Never Letting Go, which is one of my favourite books ever, if I read this one first.

For me, The Crash of Hennington was just one big mess that doesn't seem to clear up even as I go along - there is a whole cast of charac
But the herd was here, too. The herd would not divide. The herd would face this now, she knew that. If this was the end, they would not run from it. The air filled with explosions. The animals charged forwards, The battle was on.

Hennington is a seaside town in an unnamed country that lost its history in a Pol Pot-like regime nearly a century ago, so nobody knows why a crash of rhinoceros wanders the streets and parks of the town unmolested. The happily-married long-time mayor Cora Larsson is abo
Even Patrick Ness had to start somewhere. Fortunately, his writing got a lot better very quickly after this debut novel. There is not a lot to recommend in the book, but the quirky characters, bizzarre about-faces in the plot, and off-beat humour kept me interested enough to finish it. The writing is uneven, the cast of thousands too confusing, and it fizzles out at the end, a bit like this review.
This is the most epic ensemble novel I have ever read - also possibly the most creative because in addition to all the human protagonists, this novel also includes a rhino protagonist, the leader of the titular Crash of Hennington. Anyway, this story takes place in Hennington, a city on some planet that might still be earth. The current mayor is about to retire after 20 years in office and then all hell breaks lose when a "stranger" comes into town.

I have to say that I was impressed by the worl
2 1/2 years later and I finally finished it. Not exactly what I was hoping for.
First a rundown on the description from Amazon.CA:

The world of “The Crash of Hennington” is so strange that nobody pays much attention to the rhinoceros herd that occasionally rampages through town. Though ornery, the giant beasts – known collectively as The Crash – are more docile than the human citizens of Hennington, whose schemes ultimately cause much more wreckage than a few bent traffic signs. As a freewheeling mix of satire, social comedy, and science fiction, “The Crash of Hennington” r
A fabulously weird and wonderful dystopic novel with a dash of magic realism that adds to the fun - it is such a big story that to try to summarize it would be mad but it is about a man who returns to the city where he went to university forty years previously who has returned to pursue the woman he loved and lost and who, in returning, is the catalyst for a total social upheaval that has disatrous consequences - and it has a herd of rhinos called The Crash who roam the city - wild, eh?
Andrew Plasom-scott
Enjoyed it, but ultimately disappointed. The writing is not as good as I'd been told, the plot is OK but fizzles out at the end too easily and tidily, the most interesting characters turned out to be less so, and I had no real sympathy with the characters I was supposed to like. What's the world view of this book? It seems to be that true lust does not come to an end, and rhinos will survive. Not quite sufficient to sustain a book of this length.

Having said all of which, I did read it to the end
Book Bazaar
This was a good read as it showed where Patrick Ness began, but it is not the one I would be recommending to customers. I rave about Ness' work all the time in the shop, but think this may be one to come back to later with an appreciation for his body of work. The set up is very clever and I very much enjoyed the black humour of it.
Elizabeth Sharma
Really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure what to expect but really really pleased I read it
It took a while for Ness to get to the point with this one, but the constant presence of a herd of rhinos wandering freely through the town as well as the drama and utter indifference it invokes for the characters kept things in check. Oddly enough amidst the satire, the rhinos helped to keep all the narratives in order as Ness hopped from storyline to storyline and creatively broke dialogue between the end of one chapter and beginning of the next. And ultimately, it was nice to have no idea whe ...more
Stephen Dressler
I'm a big fan of Patrick Ness. The Crash is a well crafted, very thought provoking book that deals with multiple ideas and plots. I thought he wrapped them all up nicely and didn't push the story to places that would make it feel wrong. This is no A Monster Calls or The Knife of Never Letting Go, but as a first novel you can see the talent was always there. I enjoyed the book and believe that you will as well.
An odd little book. Started out reading like a modern-day real-world version of Perdido St Station but levelled out and becomes a meditation on leadership. Political and religious shenanigans in a US West Coast-style city-state are the vector for this. Oh, and one of the viewpoint characters is a rhinoceros. The oddest book I've read so far this year. Rated MA for coarse language, adult themes and violence. 3/5
Eli Brooke
First novel by the author of The Knife of Never Letting Go. Took a while for me to get into it, but was definitely worth it by the end. A bit hard to keep track of the multiple characters, especially because so many passages are conversations rarely indicating who the speakers are. Interesting exposition and quite obvious moral that power is best wielded by those who don't really want it.
As a fan of Patrick Ness I was eager to read his first novel but I was so disappointed in it and almost gave up several times. Not one of the characters were in any way likeable, so the story just didn't hold my attention very well.
Maybe I expected too much from it, as his recent work is very good, but I've never in my life wanted to throw a book at a wall before!
The narrative is told from the point of view of about 8 characters. I was only interested in half of them. I read a good way into the book because I was very interested in those characters, but I abandoned the book when I found myself seriously skimming the other sections to get back to the narrative I liked.
A great read though I found the tone gradually changed from fresh and invigorating to a bit formulaic - the ending wasn't open and thought-provoking as I would have hoped... but I still enjoyed the journey never-the-less and the characters hooked me in
A strangely enticing book..... Slow to start but great character development. All the characters have their own storylines which can get confusing if you don't like books like that, but it didn't bother me. Didn't end at all as I had imagined.
Three Patrick Nesses in one day! Sadly I liked this the least of the three. I think he does best in a semi-mythical style, so while I appreciated this one, it didn't move me as much as the others.
Very quirky, brilliantly written story. Runs through a range of topics from sad to funny, weird- outrageous. I loved this book and would highly recommend it to others
Entire chapters are given to the first-"person" perspective of a rhino in a crash that freely roams around this settings urban landscape. How can this not be fun?
I don't know why I think this book as much as I do. It's like the third time I've read it over the course of about a decade.
Dec 14, 2011 Anita added it
Too weird for me
Barbara Ayelen
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Patrick Ness, an award-winning novelist, has written for England’s Radio 4 and Sunday Telegraph and is a literary critic for The Guardian. He has written many books, including the Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Crash of Hennington, Topics About Which I Know Nothing, and A Monster Calls.

He has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Co
More about Patrick Ness...
The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1) A Monster Calls The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, #2) Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking, #3) More Than This

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