This is by far and away the longest book I have ever reached the end of. From the first two paragraphs I was hooked. The way Perlman writes about theThis is by far and away the longest book I have ever reached the end of. From the first two paragraphs I was hooked. The way Perlman writes about the protagonist's endearing - but ultimately over-romanticised and distorted - memories of his ex- grabbed me immediately. The image of the thoughtful, sexy woman, hair held with chopsticks, donning tortoise-shell glasses, sipping diet coke and reading in the bay window is a fantasy I share in, albeit a fairly pathetic and cliched one.
I found the changing narrative perspectives at once disorientating and engaging; it gave a freshness to each chapter, providing a subtly different version of events, whilst still propelling the plot forwards and tying up the previous chapters' loose ends.
The novel takes in literature, poetry (who knew about the Ern Malley hoax, prior to Perlman's novel?), law, philosophy, and yet manages to remain fundamentally a story about the complexities of the human condition.
It is an ambitious novel; reading it is a major undertaking, but it was all worth it.
Having spent a (literally and metaphorically) listless hour in Borders I finally stumbled across this. It was this italicised passage in the preface tHaving spent a (literally and metaphorically) listless hour in Borders I finally stumbled across this. It was this italicised passage in the preface that grabbed me:
We open our mouths and out flow words whose ancestries we do not even know. We are walking lexicons. In a single sentence of idle chatter we preserve Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Norse; we carry a museum of words inside our heads, each day we commemorate peoples of whom we have never heard. More than that, we speak volumes — our language is the language of everything we have not read. Shakespeare and the Authorised Version suface in supermarkets, on buses, chatter on radio and television. I find this miraculous. I never cease to wonder at it. That words are more durable than anything, that they blow with the wind, hibernate and reawaken, shelter parasitic on the most unlikely hosts, survive and survive and survive.
It excited me immensely as something I really related to.
I found this was a very different kind of novel to my usual choices, but I enjoyed as much for that reason as anything else. I found Claudia was an engaging character, though I have to admit that at first I was very conscious of reading; the story hadn't yet grabbed me in and of itself; it was more that I was gripped by the novelty of reading outside my genre. But I found that as time wore on I gradually became more and more wrapped up in the story. I think Moon Tiger is a wonderful piece of character writing, with Claudia in particular being more multi-dimensional (and therefore plausible) than many other protagonists.
I'd certainly recommend it to my friends, though only those with an appreciation for things a little more subtle and running at a slower pace. ...more
My girlfriend bought this for me for xmas last year. I read it in about 25 minutes. Then I read it again. Then I made several members of my family - nMy girlfriend bought this for me for xmas last year. I read it in about 25 minutes. Then I read it again. Then I made several members of my family - not poetry fans - read it. It is phenomenal.
The collection is constructed from interviews with PTSD-suffering ex-soldiers from various conflicts including the Falklands and the Gulf War. The language is unpretentious, and infinitely more powerful for it. By using the soldiers' own tongue, Armitage deftly avoids the trap of sanitising their accounts for the purposes of making it sound 'arty', and in doing so creates a series of shatteringly powerful accounts of the impact of war, as incendiary as the shells that led to the soldiers' illness.
As a therapist with a little knowledge of PTSD, I found this breathtakingly humanistic, honest, and emotionally-raw. I've yet to find any poetry that moves me quite so much.
The critics were preaching to the converted (if not the evangelical) when they recommended this book to me; however, I have to say it fulfills all ofThe critics were preaching to the converted (if not the evangelical) when they recommended this book to me; however, I have to say it fulfills all of my expectations of Simon Armitage and then some.
It's a collection of prose-poems, allegories, parables and (very) short stories. The narrative always carries his slightly anti-earnest tone, but like all great comedy Armitage always keeps a little pathos waiting in the wings.
I'd recommend this on the basis of his stunning smilies alone. For example: "Back in the house they argued like flamethrowers" (from '15:30 by the Elephant House')
Now here's a strange book. Boffia 'personifies' a different animal in each of these funny, fantastical and weird short stories, and writes from theirNow here's a strange book. Boffia 'personifies' a different animal in each of these funny, fantastical and weird short stories, and writes from their perspective. Highlights include the sexual frustration/neurosis of a sea sponge!
Like nothing I've ever read before or since, but I recommend it for sheer inventiveness....more
Penguin published this tiny volume as part of their 70th anniversary commemorations. Despite being only £1.75 at the time, I treasure it. I love thisPenguin published this tiny volume as part of their 70th anniversary commemorations. Despite being only £1.75 at the time, I treasure it. I love this book dearly; in fact I love it so much that I braved the awkwardness of writing to an ex to ask for my copy back when I discovered that it was out of print. She thought I'd given it as a gift. I hadn't and I couldn't live without it.
De Botton presents several short essays on various subjects including the benefits of visiting boring places, and on authenticity. The latter is my favourite. In 'on authenticity' De Botton simply describes his first date with the woman who is now his wife. It is endearingly honest, charming, and entirely plausible.
This book is food for the soul. I love to revisit it now and again if I'm in a thoughtful/romantic mood. Stunning....more
'That we are inordinate creatures / not so ordained by God / That we are at once rational, irrational, and there is reason / That this is no reason fo'That we are inordinate creatures / not so ordained by God / That we are at once rational, irrational, and there is reason / That this is no reason for us to despair / the tragedy of things is not conclusive / rather it is one way by which the spirit moves / That it moves in circles need not detain us / Marvel at our contrary orbits / Mine salutes your whenever we pass or cross / Which might be now, may very well be now'
This, from 'The Argument of the Masque' (part one of this book) blew my mind when I first read it. Hill was the first poet I had read since being force-fed Owen, Sassoon, et al. in comprehensive school. Whilst I cannot say I understand any more than probably 10% of his poems, owing to his complex language ('Oh, the pondus of splenetic pride!), and his maverick use of punctuation, which often left me scratching my head, I still found this very exciting. I prefer Simon Armitage, Alice Oswald and Philip Larkin for regular reading; still, I see Hill's poetry as a challenge; I think reading him and taking that challenge fits into my constant underlying desire for 'self-improvement', suffice it to say this is probably not for everyone. ...more
Whilst I admit I skipped quite a few of the short stories in this volume, the ones I stuck with credited me with more ideas to marvel at and think oveWhilst I admit I skipped quite a few of the short stories in this volume, the ones I stuck with credited me with more ideas to marvel at and think over than most other authors I have read combined.
Highlights include the Library of Babel, the Lottery in Babylon, and Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, whose account of an encyclopaedia forgery is both erudite and witty. Still, my particular favourite was The Garden of Forking Paths, a staggeringly clever short story about a deceased man whose legacy was an allegorical 'maze' of a novel exploring the notion of time, initially presumed disorganised nonsense. I was so excited by it I read the entire story aloud to my girlfriend in a hotel on Valentine's weekend. Fortunately she was as enamoured as I. Never have I felt more bohemian! ...more
As a CBT therapist regularly working with complex trauma and PTSD, this book is of the utmost importance. Not only does Herman provide an incredible tAs a CBT therapist regularly working with complex trauma and PTSD, this book is of the utmost importance. Not only does Herman provide an incredible timeline of the development of our understanding of trauma, and the relationship between political and cultural climate and research into trauma, but she also goes on to offer an imperative and now widely-adopted phasic approach to trauma work, beginning always with safety, and highlighting the power of relationship in healing from trauma. I recommend this book to every supervisee, trainee, and qualified clinician I come into contact with in my practice, and frequently revisit it myself with my trusty highlighter pen.
Vic Reeves (aka Jim Moir) is something of a childhood hero of mine. I attribute my love of surrealism completely to this man. Sun Boiled Onions is a dVic Reeves (aka Jim Moir) is something of a childhood hero of mine. I attribute my love of surrealism completely to this man. Sun Boiled Onions is a diary-cum-art book. The diary entries are absurd and hilarious; the artwork is too, but is also actually very impressive and shows a clear, individual style especially his portraiture with the eyes spaced too far apart.
The diary entries had me in tears. For instance, his rant about a rat in his ricicles, which is actually a spoon, and the appearance of country singer Waylon Jennings moving sideways like a crab through his house in the early morning.
You either get this or you don't. I do, and I absolutely love it....more