After hearing some excellent things about this book, and thoroughly enjoyed a number of his columns in the Guardian, I started this book with some hig...moreAfter hearing some excellent things about this book, and thoroughly enjoyed a number of his columns in the Guardian, I started this book with some high hopes. However I was sorely disappointed. It's mostly a mish mash of anecdotes from the anonymous (and eponymous) footballer, which instead of blowing the lid off football from the inside, it enforces several stereotypes that most people associate with professional footballers (and agents): they are arrogant, selfish, self centred and spoilt.
The chapter on agents especially seemed to completely miss the point about the huge monies involved in football and why the public blame agents (rightly in my eyes).
Defending his right to blow 30k on a weekend in Vegas and rip up 20k in notes at Cheltenham races was also cringeworthy. He seemed to suggest that footballers have the right to do as they see fit with their cash, and uses the crap excuse "everyone would do the same if they had the money"
I would also love to have had more insight from the final chapter on his depression. I still believe that Sports men and women at the highest level are not recognised for suffering from this horrible illness, and those who have come forward with home sting about it like Stan Collymore and ex Wallaby rugby player Ben Tune deserve huge plaudits. However, I felt this chapter was a missed opportunity, with nothing substantial added.
Overall, disappointing, but mainly because he seemed to be like all other footballers: fulfilling the stereotype (less)
An odd read. Like alot of sci-fi, this book is packed full of ideas. Some of these are very thought provoking and insightful, others less so.
I thought...moreAn odd read. Like alot of sci-fi, this book is packed full of ideas. Some of these are very thought provoking and insightful, others less so.
I thought the story started strongly, a nice sense of brooding and mystery is generated when the main protagonists arrive on the planet Grass. However, the first of several "reveals" come a little too early, and comes at the expense of a interesting subplot concerning a breakaway religious sect.
The several other twists aren't particularly convincing, logical or explained in any real way, and the finale does seem a little rushed.
There are things to enjoy: some of the characters are very well constructed and have real depth. In particular the lead female (Marjorie). The writing is at times beautifully descriptive, haunting and often quite disturbing. Personally I found it a little horse heavy in places (equine fans should love it!).
I understand it is part of a trilogy, and I'm sufficiently interested to potentially give the other books a go (less)
Classic novels eh? We've all seen adverts at train stations and the tube. We all get nagged to read latest "buzz book" or the recommendations from fri...moreClassic novels eh? We've all seen adverts at train stations and the tube. We all get nagged to read latest "buzz book" or the recommendations from friends/colleague/acquaintance/social board pseudonyms that are guaranteed to be the most amazing collection of words committed to paper and will change your life. Sometimes we get burned by these tips: Heart of Darkness, On Chesil Beach, Brave New World and most significantly for me, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
There are other times when the term "must read" is such a disservice, a misrepresentation of how incredible a book is, that you are almost unable to describe how superb it is. It's the feeling of not wanting a story to end, a love of the rich characterisations, a total immersion in the plot. This is how The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay was for me. A book that people raved about that actually lived up to all the praise 100%. A book I would happily read again. 650 pages flew by.
Essential a love story between the three main leads (Josef, Sam and Rosa), Michael Chabon has such a wealth of vocabulary at his disposal, a fantastic array of metaphors he can utilise, that the pictures of 1930's New York and of the classic "comic book age" he paints are so rich that they almost become a 4th piece in the romantic puzzle. You fall in love with New York: it's a homage to the city he loves, and he wants the reader (you) to feel the same. Some of the descriptive prose is so beautiful I actually went back to read whole paragraphs and pages as soon as I'd finished them. I can't think of another book I've read that I did that with.
One of the best novels I've read in the last 10 years, and although not flawless (the chapters set in Antarctica felt odd, but thankfully a short divergence), it would be one of the few novels I would recommend to anyone.
The incredible, magnificent, awesome, wonderful, inspiring and heart-breaking adventures of Kavalier and clay(less)