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Ludmila's Broken English

2.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,229 ratings  ·  113 reviews
A wild and brilliant tale by the winner of the Man Booker Prize and one of our most original storytellers. On a Tuesday in terror-struck London, Blair and Bunny Heath become the first adult conjoined twins ever successfully separated. On a Tuesday in the war-torn Caucasus, Ludmila Derev accidentally kills her grandfather. By December, they find themselves trudging together ...more
Paperback, 326 pages
Published April 17th 2007 by W. W. Norton Company (first published January 1st 2006)
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2.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,229 ratings  ·  113 reviews


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Katherine Furman
Aug 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Who doesn't like a book that basically starts off with an old drunken Russian trying to rape his granddaughter, who briefly considers allowing it because it'll put him in a good enough mood for them to have orange Fanta with dinner. Then the book gets weird.
I really enjoyed this story because it plays its hand close to its chest. It keeps you speculating about what odd tidbits mean and how they'll come into play, and they never come in the way you expect them to. The slow revelation of character
...more
Blair
I wish I could say I enjoyed reading this as much as I did Lights Out in Wonderland (possibly the best book I've read all year), or even Vernon God Little (not a favourite, but still very good), but it was, in all honesty, a bit of a mess. I'd noted the many negative reviews before starting it, but having enjoyed the author's other work so much, I really wanted to give it a try anyway. Unfortunately, having done so I have to agree with those who disliked it. Despite being the title character, Lu ...more
La Petite Américaine
Jun 26, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Lobotomy Patients
This book has me ready to create a new shelf: Didn't Finish Because It Sucked.

Booker Prize?? THIS?? Christ, the dialogue sounds like a constant drunken row between wasted old men in an Irish pub, and the plot sounds like something a drunk Irish guy dreamt up in some perverse dream while he spent the night sleeping it off in a ditch.
Angus McKeogh
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
So this book carried moments of humor and scope and tossed in a few scenes of shock and controversy, but fundamentally it came across as a sophomore effort that was rushed to market on the heels of the success of its predecessor. Muddled and wandering and just not very good. Definitely my least favorite of Pierre’s work.
The Super Moop
Nov 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
DBC Pierre's début, Vernon God Little, was shot down in flames by practically all my friends who'd read it, for being "too clever". Sod them, with friends like that I'm better off drinking myself to sleep alone every night. Anybody who knows what's good in the world will naturally acknowledge Vernon for the brilliantly twisted, inspired triumph of writing that it is.

Making such a pat judgement about Ludmila's Broken English is harder, simply because it's obviously the less focussed of the two bo
...more
Pietro
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'd really enjoyed Vernon God Little. This was a disappointment.
Spencer Fancutt
The first 150 pages reads like a catalogue of well-crafted insults marinated in overworked metaphors and clunky purple prose. Thereafter, there is a 100 pages of the Benny Hill soundtrack-type plot development followed by some senseless violence and a twisty coda. Disappointing reading after enjoying Vernon God Little so much.
Ta
May 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
I started reading this book because I read "Vernon God Little" and really appreciated the story and the language. So I was really disappointed by "Ludmila's Broken English". What a crap. Unbelievable that anyone had published that shit. Apart from the fact that I really "love" how the people from Western world imagine living in the Eastern Europe. You have no clue, really, so concentrate on writing about what you may have idea about. Don't bother to read it – spectacular waste of time.
Tundextra
One of the 'critic' reviews called this book 'brilliantly insane'... personal I found the use of the first adjective superfluous... 'cos this books is just nuts.
.
Two formerly conjoined twins are pushed out of their Government funded home during a crisis, and struggle to live any kind of remotely normal life... way over in a Russian republic Ludmila seeks a new life after an attempted rape by her grandfather spurs her towards change, well that and an ever nearing civil war! This book is about th
...more
Kate
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Ожидала что-то типа "Истории тракторов по-украински", но оказался стопроцентный Ди Би Си Пьер, ни больше ни меньше.
История развивается в двух локациях, Англии и одной из кавказских республик России, просто господи, я не буду эти выдуманные австралийцем "русские" названия. Выросшие в тепличных условиях в английском пансионате сиамские близнецы, разделённые в возрасте за 30, "отрываются", первый раз оказавшись на свободе от пансионата и как бы друг друга. В это время под тенистыми кустами клюквы в
...more
Wendy
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Lights Out in Wonderland is one of my favourite books, so I had high expectations for LudmiIa. But this was a slog and failed to engage until nearly the end. I kept thinking it would make a much better film than it is a book. It's so dialogue driven and I found that the dialogue just isn't sufficient to keep it going. The last third was much better than the previous two thirds and left me really wishing there was more of the same so that I knew more about the characters I'd plodded along with fo ...more
Andrew Barnicoat
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
If I hadn’t loved Vernon God Little so much, I wouldn’t have stuck with this. The Russian stuff worked just fine but the different stories coming together lacked any sense of recognisable humanity. This felt to me like an attempt to step into Irvine Welsh’s more extreme fantasies, but it lacked the verve, charm and cohesion.

I certainly haven’t given up on DBC Pierre but I’ll give it a while before the next one.
Mad
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Disappointing after the fabulous Vernon God Little. Gory picaresque set in UK and a beleaguered poverty-stricken, war-torn state, often confusing. That said, some stunning descriptions and one-liners make it worth the read.
Paul Chiswick
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
A bitter disappointment after Vernon God Little. It felt as if DBC Pierre were attempting to write a masterpiece. It clearly isn't. Forced and stilted dialogue, unrealistic characters and a poor story. Quite the worst book I have read for some time.
Faith
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Very creatively vulgar!
Karen
Aug 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bought-new, gave-away
Someone ought to tell Pierre that 300 pages of people incomprehensibly insulting each other does not a novel make. What a pile of revolting crap.
Jessica Bricknell
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Paints a rich picture, entertaining, gets a bit giddy towards the end
Natasha Barnes
Oct 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: waste-of-my-time
I rate Vernon God Little as one of my favourite books, and excitedly bought all of DBC Pierre’s books on the basis of that novel. I really wish I hadn’t bothered.

I spent the first half of the book having not much idea of what was going on. The plot made no sense, and there are so many threads left unexplained. And the ‘twist’ at the end? What was even the point?

If you want to read DBC Pierre, go read Vernon God Little and Lights Out in Wonderland. Then leave it there.
Aine
This is the wild and wacky tale of how three fighters struggle to overcome the constraints that have marred their lives until they meet in the unlikeliest of circumstances. Blair and Bunny Heath are conjoined twins who have lived all their lives secreted away in an institution in the North of England.

"Nothing more really happened until the spring before last – that dark, close spring – when the newly privatised health service decided Bunny was leeching resources from his brother. This parasitism
...more
Mark
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jayne Charles
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm a huge fan of DBC Pierre's first novel, Vernon God Little, so was looking forward to reading this. I enjoyed it, though it wasn't quite up to the standards of 'Vernon' - a hard act to follow! The best thing about Pierre's writing is the quirky way he describes things - who else could bring together Heathrow Airport and the female reproductive organs in a simile that works perfectly! Not to mention the character who 'only saw his words to the door of his mouth, didn't project them out' - witt ...more
Shane
Jan 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
At first I was worried about the number of low ratings this book was receiving, plus the fact that I had picked it up in a remaindered lot of books.
The dialogue initially was a turn off - stilted and high faluting, being used to explain plot and rendering the characters as cardboard cut-outs. Giving DBC Pierre the benefit of the doubt, because he certainly delivered with "Vernon God Little," I persisted and kept reading. After the first 100 pages, I saw where he was going. Two story lines were h
...more
Ganesh Rao
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
A cleverly written book and the allegory is hard to miss what with the central characters named Blair and Gordon and set partly in England and partly in some some back of beyond region in Central Asia where war rages. The language is quite colorful, especially the parts ( translated from ) Russian which I daresay would put our Indian languages to shame in the cuss-word department. There is a lot of British slang too and it can get very disconcerting if there isnt a slang dictionary around. Thoug ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

A thick wall divides those that admire DBC Pierre's headlong linguistic energy from those who still seem offended that his first novel, Vernon God Little, won the MAN Booker and Whitbread prizes. Supporters find a sinister intelligence at work in the alternating narratives of the Heath twins and Ludmila, written "by an author who almost diabolically misleads his readers" (Los Angeles Times). That's meant as a compliment, but it lends support to the detractors who complain of conceits that don't

...more
Susan
Jun 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
I picked this up as I had really enjoye ' Vernon God Little'. I can't say the same for this at all. I was so pleased to have finished it and I still don't really know what it was all about!!

I didn't like any of the characters. The first time we meet Ludmilla she is being raped by her grandfather who she manages to kill. Te family were all vile and I really thought they deserved to be starving as they really didn't seem to be trying to do anything useful with their lives. They could afford vodka
...more
Kiwi
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Kiwi by: Jujubean
It took me a long time to get into this book. It seems as soon as I did it was just about done. Normally I like chapters switching POVs between different sets of characters. This time it seemed to drag on while I knew all along what was going to happen--it was simple enough to gather. For that, reading the book was not all that exciting. It was hard to get into the character interraction moments, save maybe with Ludmila's family and its snarky retorts.

I got a bit sick of the same interractions b
...more
Clara
Nov 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Vernon God Little’s a solid favourite but this one wasn’t as good. I think of it kind of as a way better version of Chris Cleave’s Little Bee. Everywhere Little Bee did the Brit-meets-global-South thing wrong (overplayed third-world naivety & ignorance, “struggling” non-white characters with “pasts” who are portrayed as morally flawless, Product (RED) style WASPishness, etc.: the usual stuff really) Ludmila’s Broken English didn’t entirely fuck up. Though it came close, at times. Ludmila’s b ...more
Mark Love
Oct 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book has sat on the shelf for ages, and despite (eventually) enjoying Vernon God Little I haven’t felt inclined to read it until now, although I expect some of you will have (Steve, surely?)

The plot (as it is) centres on a recently separated pair of Siamese twin men who have institutionalised since birth, forced out of Albion nursing home by NHS privatisation. The fact that they are called Blair & Gordon invites political allegory, which I could not quite find.

The plot intertwines with
...more
Barry Allan
Apr 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Pierre has two conjoined twins (Blair and Gordon) seperated and thrown upon the tender mercies of privatised care in the community. Meanwhile, the Derev family has just lost its sole source of income (granddad's pension) when Ludmila kills him. They're in a fictitious former soviet 'stan, right at the front of a war zone as another 'stan is trying to grow, but that doesn't stop the bureaucracy from its implacable pursuit of the Derevs. The narrative arc tracks the coming together of Blair (with ...more
Richard
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2015
I read the book and, it was okay. The three main characters are Ludmilla from Ublilsk and Gordon/Bunny and Blair Heath, conjoined twins in the UK. The twins are separated late when they are adults and privatization of the Medical System see them released to find their way in the "real-world". Circumstances bring them to Ublilsk where Blair believes that Ludmilla will be his internet bride. That's the story in a nutshell. What makes it entertaining is Ludmilla's sharp tongue (her grandmother's pr ...more
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DBC Pierre is an Australian-born writer currently residing in Ireland. Born Peter Warren Finlay, the "DBC" stands for "Dirty But Clean". "Pierre" was a nickname bestowed on him by childhood friends after a cartoon character of that name.

Pierre was awarded the Booker Prize for fiction on 14 October 2003 for his novel Vernon God Little.

He is the third Australian to be so honoured, although he has
...more