The version that I read was a twentieth anniversary edition of Robert Harris's breakthrough novel. In the forward, he explainsWhat an excellent book!
The version that I read was a twentieth anniversary edition of Robert Harris's breakthrough novel. In the forward, he explains how the concept of a work of fiction based on a world in which Germany had prevailed as victors in WWII. It came to him, in the eighties, when he was researching for a non-fiction book about Hitler's forged diaries. Consequently there is a lot of factual basis to the story. But it was written almost by accident.
Fatherland is enacted in the sixties. This is so that many of the principal characters of the Third Reich, including Adolph Hitler himself, could realistically still be living. The crimes which are being investigated by Xavier March, an ex U-boat commander turned detective, occur during the build up to Hitler's 75th birthday celebrations in Berlin. There is a great deal of animosity between the criminal investigation branch of the police force, and the Gestapo. The state is based on fear. People are still grassing on their fellow citizens, and even family, for capital crimes such as homosexuality and expressing anti-state sentiments.
When Zavi is called on to investigate the discovery of a body on the shore of the Havel lake, life quickly becomes dangerous for him. The victim is a very senior public figure. The Gestapo become involved, and order the criminal investigator to back off. Smelling a huge rat, Zavi ignores the order, to his peril.
The descriptions of post war, triumphalist Berlin, with its monstrous statues which out-do anything ever seen in any other European capital city by a long way, reminds me of Caucescu's Bucharest of the eighties. It could do easily have become reality in sixties Berlin.
There is even a reference to the Nazi state frowning on the student rapture which greets a band from Liverpool, in the British colony of the Reich!
Needless to say, Investigator Much continues to dig a deeper and deeper hole for himself. The enormity of the events which lay behind the initial murder, and subsequent horrors, builds the tension and grips the reader.
Harris's imagination and creativity verge on genius. This is truly a thriller. Read it!...more
I have always been a prolific reader and sometimes have as many as five books on the go at any one time, picking up the one whEasily makes my top five
I have always been a prolific reader and sometimes have as many as five books on the go at any one time, picking up the one which most suits my mood.
This book is absolutely brilliant and so beautifully touches the emotions of the reader. It made me laugh and it made me cry. I cried often and long and deep.
It is clear that William Horwood has been close to cerebal palsy and his daughter, Rachel, does suffer from this condition.
The central figures are Arthur, a sufferer from the early part of the twentieth century, and Esther, a sufferer from the latter part of the same century. It explores the massive differences between the ways that they were perceived and the ways that they were treated because of those perceptions.
Esther embarks on a quest to find Skallagrigg, without knowing what it is, and you must read the book to find out if she succeeds and what it means.
The reader is drawn into the characters and I found myself living the rollercoaster emotional existance of both of them.
I am constantly recommending this book to friends and family. Many of them find it difficult to get into the story but I encourage them to persevere. Whilst I can understand their difficulty, I had no trouble whatsoever and was captured from the first paragraph.
If you are only ever going to read one more book in your life, it would have to be this one and no other. Trust me!...more
I have lost count of the number of people to whom I have recommended this book. Whatever area of managThis is THE book that will improve your business
I have lost count of the number of people to whom I have recommended this book. Whatever area of management you find yourself in, and at every level from business studies student to CEO and CFO, you are bound to pick up something useful from "The Goal."
The story follows the complex life of Alex Rogo as he works at one problem after another. With the help of his old friend, Jonah, he identifies and solves problem after problem, on the road to saving his manufacturing plant, his own job and those of his colleagues, and his marriage. Each problem is broken down into its simplest components so that the real priorities are easily identified and dealt with.
Satisfying the senior management of his company and the accountants that he has turned around the fortunes of his plant proves difficult, but he supports his arguments with solid evidence.
Managers will recognise many of the problems that Alex encounters as, although part of this fiction, they belong to the real world rather than the theoretical text books that they may be used to reading. The story is far from dull and is easy to read and to understand.
What particularly appealed to me, as a practitioner of process modelling and simulation, was the way that these techniques were used to bring about significant business improvements. The power and value of such techniques was ably demonstrated and should encourage many more companies to put them into practice.
Eli Goldratt has succeeded where many have failed, to put these concepts into language that everyone can understand and therefore benefit.
The only negative comment that I have about this book is that I felt that the background story became a little bit tedious towards the end, but the value gained from reading the rest far out-weighed this minor moan. ...more
It took me a long time to read this book, because it is a long book. It is way, way, way, way, WAY too long!
The story is great, but there were many tIt took me a long time to read this book, because it is a long book. It is way, way, way, way, WAY too long!
The story is great, but there were many times when I found myself wanting to shout a the words in front of my eyes, for page after page, "Just get on with it!" There was a long period during which reading this book reminded me of my marathon running days. I thoroughly enjoyed the overall experience, but it was sometimes a labour of love: between the 21 and 25 mile points. I suppose that equates to about pages 600-720.
Also, I knew what was going to happen. Most of the storylines are predictable. And the underlying love story is pretty dire.
Having said all of that, this is a great work of historical fiction. My benchmark is always to ask myself if the characters and dialogue and actions bring the history to life for me. In this case, they certainly did that job extraordinarily well.Clearly, a huge amount of research has gone into this book, and the detail comes shining through.
But, as I said at the top of my review, it is far too long. Donna Gillespie would have made a much better job of it if she had condensed the story to, at most, half of its final length. The strength and power of her story-telling would have been much more compelling, and it would have gripped my attention until I had finished.
If you are interested in this period of European history, and want some colourful, graphic descriptions, and you have stamina, pick up this book and read it.
In my opinion Gladiatrix and Roma Victrix are much better reads than The Light Bearer. These two books are just about right in length, and the are fast-paced and dynamic. There are a lot of shocks and surprises in both stories, and Russell Whitfield's writing certainly stirs the emotions. I am still grieving for some of his characters now!
I agonised over my rating for The Light Bearer. If ever a book deserved exactly 3.5 stars, in my opinion, this was the one. Do I like it (3 stars), or do I really like it (four stars)? In the end, I decided that the quality of the writing, the detailed descriptions, and the excellent research could persuade me to round my rating up to four stars....more
These stories are entertaining, tongue-in-cheek, cock-in-mouth (other orifices are also exploited!), amusing and fun. Most of them have little twist iThese stories are entertaining, tongue-in-cheek, cock-in-mouth (other orifices are also exploited!), amusing and fun. Most of them have little twist in their conclusions. Some of them are arousing, and some are not, but that is dependent on what turns each individual on. For me, there were three which had me as horny as can be, whilst there were two which were a complete turn off. You'll have to read these stories to find out which ones do what to you!
I would say that this is a book that you can pick up and put down as the fancy takes you, whilst continuing with whatever your mainstream read of the day is at that time.
I would recommend it as your bit on the side....more
Last Chance to See is a wonderful book by the late Douglas Adams. It is not Science Fiction. It is his account of his travels around the globe to obseLast Chance to See is a wonderful book by the late Douglas Adams. It is not Science Fiction. It is his account of his travels around the globe to observe some of the planet's most endangered species. It also contains liberal smatterings of his customary humour. He also shows us his great insight and compassion. Such a shame that he moved on before any of the creatures that he tells us about in this book....more