Mailer was such a curious being. Someone who came across as execrable and obnoxious in real life, yet in writing this book demonstrated such honesty,...moreMailer was such a curious being. Someone who came across as execrable and obnoxious in real life, yet in writing this book demonstrated such honesty, clarity and sensitivity.(less)
A truly marvellous book, one of those which is so full of authenticity that one doesn't experience it merely as a work of fiction, it feels like someo...moreA truly marvellous book, one of those which is so full of authenticity that one doesn't experience it merely as a work of fiction, it feels like someone's real-life memoir. Harrowing.(less)
Swithering between rating it a 3 or a 4 star. I plump for three.
I borrowed this from a friend and had it for something like a year before I finished...moreSwithering between rating it a 3 or a 4 star. I plump for three.
I borrowed this from a friend and had it for something like a year before I finished it. I seldom give up on a book, but this was one of those that just didn't draw me in from the beginning.
I had to keep restarting again and again! I struggled to move past the initial section of the book, it really didn't grab me. The person who loaned it kept saying, No, it's worth it, keep at it! Eventually I got there, but only once it moved into the section where the group of convicts are on the run and the plot began to show some intricacy.
Still, I found myself thinking Brookmyre overrated. I've read such routinely ecstatic reviews about his works that I perhaps expected more than I got. One of those times when I smugly think to myself "I could write something better than this" (don't worry, I'm not gonna!) Indeed, once I got past the blockage, the story almost seemed to be wrapped up too quickly and inconsequentially.
So overall, the pacing was out of kilter. It lagged where it needed to gallop, it made a mad dash for the finish when it would have been better to cruise home...
I haven't read any of Brookmyre's other books and this I'm afraid doesn't give me any great appetite to seek them out to redress the balance. But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and may indeed pick up another, one of these days.
Catch 22 really is like being sent to hell. Every page is nightmarish. The nightmare of the banal, the mundane, with a raging river of horror coursing...moreCatch 22 really is like being sent to hell. Every page is nightmarish. The nightmare of the banal, the mundane, with a raging river of horror coursing beneath. Ready to burst out at any time. You know there is horror lurking, waiting to show itself. Every little detail adds to the sense of stress and paranoia.
And for all of the above, it is indeed a great book. It encapsulates the horror of war, the sheer insanity of it, and brings it home to all of us who have never experienced it and could never really imagine it otherwise. It's a tough read, it's often a boring read in a way, but part of that is to work on the reader's mind to get them into the place where Yossarian is. Trapped in tedium, no way to escape, anticipating the horror to come.(less)
Roald Dahl's adult writings have qualities that remind me of Picasso - you can appreciate and even exult in the genius, but you cannot like them. Mayb...moreRoald Dahl's adult writings have qualities that remind me of Picasso - you can appreciate and even exult in the genius, but you cannot like them. Maybe that's a good thing. If you liked some of the things in these stories, people around you would constantly be edging away to get out of your presence...
These are brilliant but hideous imaginings, and all the worse for being rooted in the seemingly banal and ordinary. I kind of hate them, but I'm also jealous that he had the ability to create them.
I often think there are some books you should read while young and impressionable. I'm lucky to have read many such books. Ubik is one, and it remains...moreI often think there are some books you should read while young and impressionable. I'm lucky to have read many such books. Ubik is one, and it remains an all-time favourite.
I always used to think I'd like to have my memory wiped so that I could meet it fresh again! I remember thinking, how does a person imagine and create these things? Where does it come from? Of course, many would say it was a consequence of his infamous excessive drug use...
I love much of the intrinsic strangeness of this book. I love to be introduced to things I've never thought of before. As you go on in life, so much is repetitious, you'll perform the same actions, have the same thoughts, things will taste the way they always did, the laws of physics are immutable...except maybe they're not. If you follow a lot of what's happening in astrophysics these days...Neutrinos possibly DO travel faster than light. When you get used to existence to the point that you cannot feel yourself alive, read this book to revive your sense of wonder. Perhaps indeed, all is not set, all is not what it would seem...(less)
Of the Iain (not M) Banks novels I've read, this is the one I'd rate highest.
It has a thoroughly unlikeable main character, for whom you have absolut...moreOf the Iain (not M) Banks novels I've read, this is the one I'd rate highest.
It has a thoroughly unlikeable main character, for whom you have absolutely no sympathy at any point (especially not at the end), but it's one of the many ways in which he achieves a fresh approach to creating a piece of fiction. He plays the reader very well in making the "bad guy" the one you root for...
The plotting is enthralling, however much you resent the fact. He's yet another writer who uses familiar locations (well, to those who know them!) to lend character to the story, given that most of the leads are entirely obnoxious.
It's a novel built on the notion that bad things happen to bad people, and makes you complicit in the nastiness by ensuring you take satisfaction from the sometimes grotesque things that happen to them...
Oh well, as a reader, one should be open to experiences, even if it means you'd rather appreciate a brainwashing afterwards!(less)
It surprises me a lot that this book was never made into a film (As far as I know). It has certain things that would have made a very gripping cinemat...moreIt surprises me a lot that this book was never made into a film (As far as I know). It has certain things that would have made a very gripping cinematic experience.
Funny that I always think that about this story. They say that it's often mediocre books that make a good film. (This book's far better than that) It's also quite a chunky book. (Doesn't obviously lend itself to a film script you would think) But it has some plot ideas in it that haven't been done I'm sure, and filmmakers always seem to fall back on all the same old cliches, when there's an original story knocking about that's an absolute gift!
The twists of the story seem bizarre if they are described, yet I think they're developed in a fairly convincing way. There's an unrealistic satirical novel, which I won't name, but which I suspect could have been the inspiration for this. Even if Rigbey has derived the story, she still makes a very good, readable thriller, with a pretty good twist at the end. It's a book that eschews pace for longueurs, for the slow build-up, and that's a particular quality I liked about it. Ultimately it has a haunting quality, a touch of the gothic, you will sympathise with the central character for falling for something he has constructed in his own mind, but which...
I had a dekko at a few reviews to see the responses of other people, and the broad consensus appears to be a lot of frustrat...moreHow to define this novel.
I had a dekko at a few reviews to see the responses of other people, and the broad consensus appears to be a lot of frustration and confusion!
It's a book that leads to no pat ending or conclusion. Yet the getting to that - point? - is so rich and worthwhile. We are trained from our first reading experiences to expect beginning, middle and end. We need the payoff. The money shot, if you must...and this book does lead you to think that the reader will be rewarded for their perseverance. But there is no release! Another reviewer called it a cocktease.
Was that the author's intention from the beginning? Having also read The Secret History, Tartt does seems to be a writer who wants to conceal as much as to reveal. Both novels gave me difficulty in understanding what her motivation was at all to labour over such lengthy works, to no apparent purpose.
The best analysis I can give is to suggest that this is essentially a mood-piece. The reward is in the journey, not in arriving. As someone who's practised yoga for long enough, I get that approach... Try to enjoy it for that, not for any sort of climax!! Whether you will get your reading satisfaction from it is highly debatable!(less)