Pity you can't "unread" a book. This has set me in a low mood that is hard to shift and I cannot erase some of the scenes from my brain. You might say,Pity you can't "unread" a book. This has set me in a low mood that is hard to shift and I cannot erase some of the scenes from my brain. You might say, well that shows its power, but no, the book is filled with cliche and is unconvincing. I read it after being so entranced by her previous book The Little Stranger, which was rich and complex. This again explores the British class system at a particular time in recent history. However it lacks the subtle menace and indeed the originality of the earlier book.
It had a slow beginning but that was in fact the most convincing and the best written section of the book. Some cringy sex scenes then the "incident" which was horrible in it's description and as a result quite convincing. After this it kind of peters out and the end is something of a disappointment. I actually found it hard to finish. ...more
Well artists are so different from other people aren't they? Have incestuous relationships, hop in and out of bed with friends..... Really didn't likeWell artists are so different from other people aren't they? Have incestuous relationships, hop in and out of bed with friends..... Really didn't like this trilogy that much, perhaps that as an artist myself I saw too many cracks and clichés. In my experience most artists are just as boring and normal as the rest of the population and it's generally only the bad ones that feel they have to be "eccentric". Couldn't take this volume that seriously after the references to plastic....plastic catheter bag and plastic nail brush, neither of which were available in 1940. Plastic bags were not in general use till the end of the 1960s in the UK and in the 1940s a catheter bag would have been latex. What ever happened to editors? Some good bits of description but overall a disappointing read. ...more
What I found most interesting was all the background information about 1950s USA. The school, the show scene at the time and the different personalitiWhat I found most interesting was all the background information about 1950s USA. The school, the show scene at the time and the different personalities. I am British, so a lot of this was unfamiliar and it was an important background to the story for me.
I read many books on show jumping when I was growing up in 1960s/70s England, but where I recognised Harry de Leyer's name, Snowman was a new one. I knew of Sinjon, Ksar d'Esprit, Hugo Morris, Frank Chapot, Kathy Kusner and Bill Steinkraus, because they had competed internationally. This was denied Harry and Snowman due to Harry's professional status so he was more or less unnknown outside the USA.
Like other commentators on here, I was disappointed that there was so little information about Snowman's schooling, you don't just produce a horse over night. Also, as Harry de Leyer was an important producer of jumpers for the USA teams, I would like to have seen this contextualised more. The continual references to de Leyer's wartime experiences lost any resonance as they became mere clichés. The pace of the book was strange too and towards the latter part it was like sand rushing through a timer, almost as if the author had become bored and run out of steam. I for one wanted to hear more about why de Leyer's supposedly happy marriage failed and a little of his new wife and something of his post Snowman career. It was an enjoyable and quick read and I would have loved it as a teenager....more
There were similarities to her earlier The Chimney Sweeper's Boy as the story is of someone investigating a member of their family and a mystery thatThere were similarities to her earlier The Chimney Sweeper's Boy as the story is of someone investigating a member of their family and a mystery that surrounded them. I personally found all the sub details about the House of Lords tedious in the extreme. I actually worked out the secret almost straight away, where as in the Chimney Sweepers Boy it was more of a surprise. However it was a good read and one can always skip the House of Lords sections....more
Beautifully written, really well researched, full of interesting details. I remember the race quite well,Simply the best racing book I've read in ages.
Beautifully written, really well researched, full of interesting details. I remember the race quite well, even though I was only seven at the time. My Mum was laughed at for picking Foinavon as his name was a bit like Fiona. Think she won £5, quite a lot then.
None horsey people will also enjoy this as it contextualised the event so well and is a snap shot of Britain in the mid 1960s....more