- Okay, fuller review, some 24 hours or so after finishing it. Pigeon English was one of those infuriating booksI want to punch this book in the face.
- Okay, fuller review, some 24 hours or so after finishing it. Pigeon English was one of those infuriating books that was a fun read while it lasted, but once it was over transpired to be... well, not dreadful, but certainly not as good as it felt while in the moment. It was a quick read, and, once I became accustomed to the multitude of slang terms frequently used by the 11-year-old narrator, easy to get through. Harri was a fun character, easy to empathise with and care for. For the most part, it was a charming, amusing read, albeit one set against the backdrop of incredibly dark events. I think Kelman really pushed the gang/violence/corruption themes too far, and in retrospect it feels as though it descended into something quite patronising. And that bloody talking pigeon! Overall, it wasn't wonderfully written, and the ending left me incredibly annoyed and unsatisfied, but the central character was so beguiling that I hold out hope of Kelman maturing into a writer capable of greater nuance. I'd give this 8/10 for the majority of book, but a 2 for the ending and bitter after-taste. I think this one will really be Marmite with readers....more
I think Hotel World would do best as a one-sitting book. At just shy of 240 pages, it's certainly short enough, but it's also one that demands a lot oI think Hotel World would do best as a one-sitting book. At just shy of 240 pages, it's certainly short enough, but it's also one that demands a lot of attention. I gave it a few solid hours back in May, then set it aside and just never got around to picking it up again until today. I definitely enjoyed it - I'd call it a 7/10 book - but if it hadn't been for the long gap, it might have been an 8/10.
It's broken into five sections, each focusing on a different woman whose life in some way intersects with a horrible accident at a Global Hotel. One such section consists of thirty pages of unpunctuated stream of consciousness. It's definitely an experimental novel, and a few times towards the end I found myself flicking ahead to see how much there was left to plough through. That's probably more to do with my own attention span than the writing, which is often beautiful. Challenging in places, but lovely.
I liked this just a shade less than The First Person and Other Stories, the only other Ali Smith I've read, but I'll definitely read her again. I'll just have to be in the right frame of mind for it....more