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The Ghost of Neil Diamond

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  48 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Take a Neil Diamond impersonator with his back against The Great Wall of China: the struggle for fame and fortune is over, and the dark comedy of survival has just begun. 'The best novel I've read in years. Storytelling, architecture, poetry and painting - a few rare novels excel in all four categories. This is one such book' dissident books, New York 'We have a real corke ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by
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Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and raced through it in 48 hours. The premise is funny--a 48 year old Brit is dumped by his wife because he's a starving musician and tries his hand as a Neil Diamond impersonator in Hong Kong--but the end result is quite sad.

Neil Atherton, who plays Neil Diamond, falls in with a Hong Kong Chinese man named Elbert Chan who promises fame and fortune. But warnings loom ahead, mainly in the persona of Iannis, an African American tennis pro cum Sammy Davis Junior impersonator. Ian
Nov 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most extraordinary books I have read. It manages to avoid all the icons of Hong Kong and ram the place in your face, warts and all, and tell you everything about it and make you want to go there straight away! The story is of a diffident Neil Diamond impersonator (Neil Atherton) and his lowly ambitions to get gigs at some expat clubs. His tormenters come in the shape of a Chinese impresario called Elbert Chen and a flashier, recently more successful Neil Diamond impersonator ...more
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Okay so you know how (up to a point) most stories could be funny or tragic, depending on your personal outlook? I feel like the author couldn't decide how he wanted to play it, so he told the story very very plainly, without any sort of inflection, and in the doing, squandered nearly every opportunity to make something of a pretty solid, promising premise. So it was an interesting read to me in that way, wondering at his choices, again and again. But also very frustrating.

Oct 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
This black comedy provides a quirky insight into the struggles of a down and out ex-pat in Hong Kong as he seeks to establish a toehold in the entertainment world. Gritty and real in places, surprisingly touching in others, we are drawn into Neil's disintegrating life and the dilemma's he faces in dealing with the devious and inscrutable Elbert Chan. Rather like some TV programmes, I found myself almost shouting at Neil to tell him what to do! Ultimately a satisfying and unusual read. ...more
Glen Batchelor
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I bought this book because he was on the same writing site as me(Youwriteon). The ist thing that struck me was the lack of blurb on the cover, so apart from the title you wouldn't know what it was about. Which is a pity because with a bit of help it would have done much better that it did/is. The premise doesn't draw you in - A Niel Diamond impersonater in Hong Kong going through marital/finance problems - but thw writing is really quite excellent. ...more
Dissident Books
Why do we review books from other publishers? Because we like to, that's why! There are a lot of good books out there, and we think you should know about them.

The Ghost of Neil Diamond is the best novel I've read in years. I've not experienced fiction like it since "Suite Francaise" by Irene Nemirovsky.

Novelists can succeed at their craft four ways: storytelling, architecture, painting, and poetry. You almost certainly know what I mean by "storytelling." Great storytelling is exactly that: the a
John Kendrew
As a massive Neil Diamond fan, and also a person who has sung his songs professionally, I found this hard going at times. But I'm glad I fought my way through it.. There are many who attempt to do Neil impersonator acts. There is ,and always will be, only one Neil Diamond. We may take the stage and sing his songs the best we can. But we cannot write them the way he did. The words total genius comee to mind. Try Tenerife to see the wannabes. Benidorm even. Most can only fo the likes of Sweet Caro ...more
I loved the premise and the setting. The fading singer is given a last chance to make something of his life, but is being kept waiting by Elbert Chan, who may or may not be who he says and may or may not have work for him.

I didn't agree with Neil staying in Hong Kong. I thought he should have listened to his wife and gone home. Maybe the book didn't explain well enough for me why it was so important that Neil stay in Hong Kong (or that Neil tries one last time to follow this doubtful career opti
Alistair Forrest
Jun 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-read
It's a long time since I read an Elmore Leonard yarn, but there are many elements in the Ghost of Neil Diamond that resonate for me. The snappy writing, witty similes, plenty of the seedier side of humanity, desperation and despair, failure and more failure. I don't think I would normally have picked up a novel about a Neil Diamond impersonator, but the title intrigued me and the opening cruelly dragged me in -- it starts in a gents' urinal and from that moment Milnes slams "engaged" on your min ...more
Parrish Lantern
Jan 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is a dark comedy, even in the moments where there are signs that optimism may raise it’s head, a bloody great sword would come swooping down, just to let you know that such idealism was unwarranted here, and yet this book constantly made me smile, the characters here are fantastic, the strangely seedy, dishonest & yet otherworldly nature of Elbert Chan, the snooty humour of the office girls, the sheer desperation sweating from every pore (along with the booze) of Iannis and the self bl ...more
Susan Visser
Feb 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
Very odd / interesting story. It takes place in Hong Kong where impersonators are very desirable. It's listed as a dark comedy.. I saw more dark than comedy. ...more
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Oct 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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In order strictly of their glamour, the short term jobs were: dishwasher at Roedean School; ground-crewman for a bankrupt crop duster; maintenance carpenter for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets; warehouseman at Eschmann's surgical suppliers (same as D.H.Lawrence) Shoreham-by-Sea, tractor driver in the Fens (wonderful job), and finally, arrivals and departures announcer for British Railways at B ...more

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