I recently reread this and downgraded my rating my one star. It's definitely a much weaker novel that Mr Y and Our Tragic Universe. I enjoy book withI recently reread this and downgraded my rating my one star. It's definitely a much weaker novel that Mr Y and Our Tragic Universe. I enjoy book with a puzzle element, and along with the rather intriguing character of Alice, this absorbed my attention the first time round.
On a rereading however, the shortcomings of this book made it virtually unreadable in some places. Unfortunately, it now also seems incredibly dated, with the 'cultural rebellion' of some of the main characters now just seeming like the whining, ill-informed angst of some very spoilt young people.
I disliked how as you get into the last third of the book, any characters who don't utterly adhere to the 'anti-corporate' message become cardboard cut-outs, suddenly spouting the most tired cliches along the lines of 'who cares?'. I was particularly disappointed in the rather abrupt writing out of Georges and Dan, in favour of one-dimensional anti-corporate warriors.
Having read the acknowedgements, it seems that the view of marketing and business in the book reflects Thomas's own. So it seems rather ironic that she is using the guerilla marketing tactics that are so villified, and quite how she thinks she would make a living as a writer or a university lecturer without someone, at some point, engaging in marketing and business is beyond me.
The views and information about vegetarianism, veganism, business and outsoured labour are incredibly simplisitic and quite frequently poorly informed. I am both a vegetarian and someone who has lived in farming community, and the presentation of farming is bordering on the libellous! Absolutely no differentation is made between the worst farming practices, and the many farmers who take care of their animals and the environment, let alone many of the complexities of the whether or not to eat meat. For example, some land is totally unsuitable for arable agriculture, many rare breeds would be at risk of dying out, some people need to eat meat and animal products for health reasons, and animal manure is a valuable fertiliser for the earth.
Not all factories in China are sweatshops were people regularly 'loose limbs' and shutting down all the factories in China that produce goods for the West would have utterly devasting effects on the Chinese economy. In fact, one person working a factory in a city can often be a step out of poverty for a whole family, as I found out when I lived in an industrial Chinese city. Also, Chinese people are not voiceless victims, unable to change their circumstances unless the white Western middle class destroy the goods they make in shops here! Patronising and ignorant.
Similarly, none of the oh-so self righteous characters come up with any coherant ideas as to what they are trying to replace the current model of the economy with. ...more
I'm not normally a big fan of science fiction, so I really wasn't sure if I would like this book or not. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The centI'm not normally a big fan of science fiction, so I really wasn't sure if I would like this book or not. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The central science fiction motif this book uses is time travel, and does a very thorough job of exploring the complexities and problems that the discovery of time travel would create.
The novel's scenario is very believable, and Beresford manages to ratchet up the tension towards the end of the book without recourse to laser guns!
My favourite books tend to be character-driven, and this is where I find a lot of science fiction leaves me cold. The characters in Call Me Yesterday were well-drawn, although I would've liked to see a bit more actually happening in the relationship between Mark (the central character) and Jane (his physicist ex-girlfriend).
Looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the this series and seeing how the characters and their situation develops....more
This is an exceptionally good detective novel, with a storyline and character development far beyond the average. As another reviewer says, it reads lThis is an exceptionally good detective novel, with a storyline and character development far beyond the average. As another reviewer says, it reads like good literary fiction, but with the added benefit of a compelling, page-turner of a plot.
The plot itself is a real beauty - a complex interweaving of the three different stories. If you're interested in the art of writing, this book is reading purely to study how well it is plotted.
Penny does a masterful job with evoking the sense of place too, always an important element in crime writing. I'd never heard of Quebec City before I started reading this book, and now I feel like I would love to visit this intriguing and beautiful city, which came alive in the novel.
Finally the characters are complex and interesting. Despite not haveing read any of the previous 5 books, I didn't feel lost, and within a couple of pages I was involved with the complexities of the characters personalities and situations.
I'm looking forward to devouring the rest of the books in this series!...more