Create a depressed world and throw in a Panther. Observe that world through the binoculars of how depression affects those caught in the eye of the stCreate a depressed world and throw in a Panther. Observe that world through the binoculars of how depression affects those caught in the eye of the storm, and you have a wonderful book about the silent weight of invisible things. When a writer knows what they are doing and they speak with honesty and from truth, a story becomes more than a collection of words, it becomes an experience.
That’s what Panther was to me, an experience.
The writing pulls no punches and it’s a book about depression that does not patronise the reader’s intelligence. There is no attempt to make depression beautiful, there’s no if we all just believe it will get better, then it will.
I won’t be specific about the storyline of the book, all I’ll say is it tackles the horror of being alive with the complex wonder of the hope found in disenchanted youth. And it nails it.
And there are bins, rotting food, depression and a panther....more
This is the kind of book publishing companies pretend they print.
A Post Modern Belch deserves massive recognition as a work of complete brilliance. AThis is the kind of book publishing companies pretend they print.
A Post Modern Belch deserves massive recognition as a work of complete brilliance. A book about every book ever written that doesn't need to resort to dirty tactics like linear storytelling and A + B = C. You don’t need to have a history degree on literature, you don’t need to have read every book penned to understand it – you just need to have an imagination and a sense of humour. In a nutshell, it’s a book where the author loses control over his characters, they rebel against his power to govern their lives and leave his book to write their own books so they can live in freedom. But then they don’t want to be in each other’s books. And the entire thing gets entirely, most beautifully, out of hand. I think to intellectualize it too much would almost be a disservice to the complete and utter fun of the entire thing. From start to end it’s a creative master show. An entire empire of literary suns. The fact this book hasn’t been picked up a major publishing house honestly fills me with dread. This book should be a must read for any young adult looking to become an author. Teach it in schools, put it on the syllabus.
There are authors and there are writers. Writers put words on paper. Authors put their soul into something. And although A Post Modern Belch is a funny and original riot from start to finish, there is no doubt in my mind that M J Nicholls is a rare breed. He is an author. This might not be the book that breaks him, because the publishing industry is a pile of wank mostly run by failed authors looking to publish anything that sounds like themselves. Which this book certainly won’t do. But, should Mr. Nicholls put his imagination into a bog standard story, it will surely stand out as remarkable.
A Post Modern Belch is genuinely brilliant. If you have an imagination (you do) then you should read it (you should). If you think you don’t have an imagination (you do) then you should read it as a matter of great urgency (you really should).
The world is a brighter place because of books like this, and authors like M J Nicholls.
"That's all I have to say about that." ~ Forrest Gump. ...more
I thought this was exceptional. A book that you can read in a day, that challenges the brain into thinking backwards. Throw in the holocaust, sufferinI thought this was exceptional. A book that you can read in a day, that challenges the brain into thinking backwards. Throw in the holocaust, suffering and a general bleakness coupled with horror and it's a book worthy of your time. Some people have complained that the words didn't effect them emotionally, but the narrator is the consciousness of a Nazi war criminal raised in pre-war Germany - a dead man in a dead time entering a dead zone. Perhaps there is no emotion, but if there was, it would be a betrayal on the main character.
Taking the original approach aside, Amis can write - the book is littered with lovely phrases and thoughts.
A short original book that takes you somewhere else entirely and works within its own rules is a difficult skill to master, yet Amis has not only mastered it, he's added his own spin and it works....more
I tried to get into this book, believe me, I tried. For me, this experience was a bit like trying to climb to a cloud on a glass ladder. Each time I tI tried to get into this book, believe me, I tried. For me, this experience was a bit like trying to climb to a cloud on a glass ladder. Each time I thought I was getting somewhere, I lost my place...or realised I was still back where I started. Rushdie is a master of words, that's true. But sometimes knowing all the words isn't enough. I felt like the book was always behind a wall of intellect, making the content tricky to connect with. Sometimes there are pages of literary magic, but then those pages are followed with twice as many pages of Debbie McGee breaking wind at a bus stop. Outside a chippy in Portsmouth.
I wanted to read this because of the massive controversy it has caused in the world, and all I can say to those millions of upset, violently angry, religious folk, is... really? I bet 80% of the angry people didn't really understand why they were protesting because they never read the book in the first place. I think the only crime, for me, is that the storyline itself and parts of the book are so imaginative, yet the delivery is so structured. I guess that's the point...that The Satanic Verses is intended to read like a religious text...and if that is the case. Then brilliant. But that execution style just didn't sit with me, as the reader.
The Sunday Times said The Satanic Verses is "A Masterpiece" (but then it does say this once a week) - to me, The Satanic Verses is more like a collection of disparate pieces penned by a master, who couldn't quite fit all the bits together.
But, hey, everyone's a critic, right?
I should have started with Midnights Children, which from all accounts is exceptional and I look forward to reading it, but The Satanic Verses just wasn't for me....more
I lost this book when I was about 50 pages from the end. I think I might have left it in the gym - which is probably some sort of Bukowskian sin.
I'llI lost this book when I was about 50 pages from the end. I think I might have left it in the gym - which is probably some sort of Bukowskian sin.
I'll read those last pages one day, but I knew from half way in that this was a five star book. I love Bukowski. I love his tales of ordinary madness. Though, of course, the madness isn't ordinary because Bukowski wasn't like most people.
He drinks his way through the book, offending the world around him, offending himself...it reads like a bewildered kid trying to figure out why he has suddenly been let out of a cupboard, and instead of the punch in the face he was expecting to receive, he instead gets applause from a world of strangers.
Some people don't like Bukowski, but part of his beauty is he doesn't want you to like him. He doesn't care about the reader. He wrote because without writing he might have simply been a monster. But his words made him a genius.
His honesty, in a literary world crammed with vampires in love and all sorts of bestselling ideas that get published and make me want to puke, is something I often revisit to remind myself why I love writing. He feels like, to me, the last of the old days.
If you don't get him, that's fine. But Bukowski has to be respected.
I liked this, but I can see why people don't. It's a bit like staring at a rare plant. At times quite beautiful, but apart from the odd flower, mostlyI liked this, but I can see why people don't. It's a bit like staring at a rare plant. At times quite beautiful, but apart from the odd flower, mostly repetitive and a bit green. The middle section of the book could be shorter. I'm glad to say it ended well. There were times of author indulgence, but there are moments of truly brilliant writing. Shame about the long boring bits about railroads - some of the writing that describes being in the mind of Alfred is wonderful. One of those books that at times is hard work, and at times effortless. It should probably be read, but at the same time I can't say I whole heartily recommend it....more
I read The Shock of The Fall on the back of it winning the 2014 Costa Award, I guess like many others. I'm sometimes left a little disappointed afterI read The Shock of The Fall on the back of it winning the 2014 Costa Award, I guess like many others. I'm sometimes left a little disappointed after reading a book that’s won an award. They can remind me of that moment when I was twelve and I ordered a pair of X-Ray specs from a magazine, and received back in the post a glob of bulky plastic that did nothing except introduce disappointment to childhood. And a sliced eyeball. Fortunately, this sadness was later replaced with the joy of Sea Monkeys actually being things that grow, so I'm glad to say I am over it, even if the memories do sometimes creep back over me as I write Amazon reviews. Memories are kind of what The Shock of The Fall is about. Fractions and shards, bits and pieces, a man writing down and pulling together glimpses of who he once was, under the weight of who he could have been. A clearer life, through a painful mist. I don’t think I can say much specifically about the content of the book without giving anything away, only that the main character Matthew has schizophrenia and is dealing with an incident from his childhood that follows him around and wants to play with him. The book feels like it’s written by Matthew, you can see him with his typewriter on his legs, smoking his cigarettes, struggling to cope with the world he has left. One of the beautiful things about this book, is that the main character Matthew is coping with mental illness, but it’s the world around him that seems, at times, to be suffering from a greater sickness. The Shock of the Fall offers a true insight into the life of different mind. There are times when reading the book gives a sense of crawling into a dark place, and trying to make sense of the light. And there is humour, so don’t think this book simply dark; it is funny at times, and almost full of light everywhere you look. If you want to see it. The book is beautifully understated. All we need is a plastic chair, a conversation and a badly cut sandwich, and life can begin again. Lastly, to finish this review where it began, this book is a worthy winner of the Costa Book Award, and because of The Shock of the Fall, I will be reading more of Nathan Filer’s work, and I will also be seeking out past and future winners of the Costa Book Award. ...more
I've been reading this book for about 24 years. I can no longer take it back to the library I loaned it out from, because the library has become a cinI've been reading this book for about 24 years. I can no longer take it back to the library I loaned it out from, because the library has become a cinema. That cinema was knocked down 5 years ago and made into a Blockbuster Video. Last year that Blockbuster Video was knocked down and made into a Starbucks. So, I've just left the book on the shelf in Starbucks. If Starbucks ever release a coffee that takes 26 years to drink, this could well yet become the perfect book.
Is this book good? Well, in parts. Is it intelligent? In parts. Is it beautiful? In parts. Does the author occasionally throw in the best metaphor I have read? In places, yes. But, the problem is, the book is so massive and long, the stars are lost to the galaxy. The moments of greatness that are in this book, are too far apart for it to have the great impact its reputation claims it will have on the reader.
There is brilliance, yes. But there are also chapters that go on and on where agents are talking film rights and, well, these parts made me want to put my head into the arse of a horse. I am sure they were factual, but they did nothing for the pace of the book.
I feel like the author was unsure whether to write a book or a newspaper article, and landed nowhere.
A good book, yes. One of the great books of all time? Not in my opinion. ...more