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The Crash of Hennington

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  465 ratings  ·  80 reviews
Welcome to the seaside metropolis of Hennington, where a mysterious herd of rhinoceros have wandered city-streets for so long they've become a civic feature, where the current Mayor first met her husband on a nude beach, and where Jon Noth has returned after four decades to reclaim a lost love - the Mayor.
Paperback, 487 pages
Published October 2003 by Flamingo (first published January 1st 2003)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  465 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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DNF AT 54% (p324)

I’m annoyed that I really didn’t like this book, the story didn’t grip me at all and although I liked the creative format, there were too many characters and I had no idea what was going on or what the point of nearly everything was. Patrick Ness is one of my favourite authors and I was hoping his first published novel was going to be interesting and fun like his later books but no. I’m glad his work has improved and he’s written some fantastic books since but this one is not f
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Patrick Ness is a god among YA writers, and I will hear no word to the contrary. But all gods have to start somewhere, and Ness apparently started by writing magical realism for adults. For a writer who's so varied in his style, it's hard to call that strange exactly. But most Patrick Ness books just somehow feel distinctly like Patrick Ness. They all reflect on morality similarly, even when covering wildly different topics. I can always recognize his writing.

That's not the case here, because Ne
Isabel (kittiwake)
Dec 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
But the herd was here, too. The herd would not divide. The herd would face this now, she knew that. If this was the end, they would not run from it. The air filled with explosions. The animals charged forwards, The battle was on.

Hennington is a seaside town in an unnamed country that lost its history in a Pol Pot-like regime nearly a century ago, so nobody knows why a crash of rhinoceros wanders the streets and parks of the town unmolested. The happily-married long-time mayor Cora Larsson is abo
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
Even Patrick Ness had to start somewhere. Fortunately, his writing got a lot better very quickly after this debut novel. There is not a lot to recommend in the book, but the quirky characters, bizzarre about-faces in the plot, and off-beat humour kept me interested enough to finish it. The writing is uneven, the cast of thousands too confusing, and it fizzles out at the end, a bit like this review.
Alex S
Oct 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took a while for Ness to get to the point with this one, but the constant presence of a herd of rhinos wandering freely through the town as well as the drama and utter indifference it invokes for the characters kept things in check. Oddly enough amidst the satire, the rhinos helped to keep all the narratives in order as Ness hopped from storyline to storyline and creatively broke dialogue between the end of one chapter and beginning of the next. And ultimately, it was nice to have no idea whe ...more
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This is a reprinted Patrick Ness adult title that I had never heard of. I'm so glad that I found it. I loved it. I read it in tiny bits. The chapters are small and all connect. It wasn't confusing, and all the stories seem to have the same theme even though I didn't realise at first. This book is different from his others in the way that there are happy endings of sorts, but in a Patrick Ness kind of way. If you are a fan of Patrick Ness you I suggest you find this book.
Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
2 1/2 years later and I finally finished it. Not exactly what I was hoping for.
Cal McKinley
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have been a fan of Patrick Ness’ for a long time and this was the second last book of his that I needed to read. I picked it up at the Sydney Writers Festival a few weeks ago where he was giving a talk. I got the chance to meet him and he signed the book along with my copies of all his other books. When I said that I hadn’t read The Crash of Hennington yet he said that he was ‘a different man when he wrote that’ and in the inside cover of the book he wrote ‘read with eyes of affection!’ So tha ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook
sometimes destiny demands things of you and you have to take it


The only word I have to describe this book is chaos. Every word was sheer chaos.

There were at least 17 different POVs. The chapters were only 3-5 pages long. It was hard to keep track of what was going on and I still have no clue whatsoever what actually just happened. The characters rarely, if ever, interacted or even mentioned each other. Until at least 60% through it felt like just a bunch of unconnected tidbits. I was bot
Mar 04, 2020 rated it liked it
“She smelled dawn even before the sun looked over the horizon. A low mist clung to the sleeping bodies surrounding her at intervals across the lea. Breath clouded up from her great nose on increasing puffs as wakefulness filled her body. She raised her head and glanced around the sloping green of the meadow.

The first one awake. Usual and expected. The way it should be and was.”

This book snuck up on me. The first part was difficult to read, mostly due to the sheer number of characters to keep tr
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First Patric Ness book that I haven’t absolutely loved and adored. This one was so ... strange ... I really did want to love it. I mean - a world where a rhino herd roams wild throughout the city? And the worlds Ness creates are fantastical and I usually enjoy exploring them through his words but....

But...I guess my reoccurring narrative through this book was what is this about?

What is exactly the plot?

Why can’t you just use quotation marks so it makes it easier to follow the dialogue and know
Ainsley Miller
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm genuinely upset to give Patrick Ness this low of a rating as I adore everything he has ever written but every rule has an exception.
Plus points
This book is written in short chapters (like really short 4-5 pages) and each chapter is about a different character with a different story and they all intertwine somehow (kind of like Love Actually). So that was good for reading on the train.
Negatives points
I have no idea what the plot of this book was. There was also a lot of sexual references
Leonie Peters
My first review ever, because I feel I have to explain my lowest rating ever. To be honest, I haven’t even managed to reach the end of the book, and it is actually the third book ever that I didn’t finish. Nevertheless I will certainly keep reading books from Patrick Ness. I have loved basically every book I’ve read from Patrick Ness, and he is one of my favourite auhors. I didn’t realise this was his first book until later when I had already started the book. Though his sharpness in writing is ...more
May 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I'm not sure what to say about this book. It was all right. There was one character about whom I thought, "Well, this is timely," but this book was written well before the current astonishment; so either the author was prescient or this sort of stuff comes around more often than I hope.

This book has true love and new love; the resurrection of both life and hope; some dastardly characters and some who are sort of noble; dark deeds and heroism and redemption; and, of course, the crash.
Richard Harrison
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not sure what I just read but I enjoyed the heck out of it. Set in an unnamed country which has had its history rewritten, this book is about...maybe the mayoral election? Or maybe the cult growing within their main church? Or a crash of rhinoceroses that wander the streets freely? I’m really not sure but it was well worth the read. Only minor bits I didn’t like were the tendency to do a couple of pages of dialogue without revealing which characters were speaking as there’s a big cast but this s ...more
Ness's first book, I believe - in terms of its plot, structure, dialogue, all good. In terms of the scope of the novel, good. In terms of its resonances with current affairs, startling! Not quite as magical and jaw-dropping as he is now, in my opinion, but for a first novel, pretty remarkable - not in a patronising way - what I mean is, I think, it would have been easy for someone with Ness's talent to have written a "safer" book, but he chose not to, and that has provided a platform for him to ...more
Weird. Interesting. Worth reading.

Warning: The beginning has many chapters including drugs, sex and prostitution.

It was confusing at first with words capitalized and with new meanings. If you decide to read the book, this may be helpful...
Rumours - a culture/group of people, possibly a religion or a race ( I’m still unsure).
Bondulay - a religion
Forum - a drug, possibly heroine.
The Crash - the group of rhinos that roam around the city
There was another one too, but I’m forgetting it.
Aug 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-my-library
First a rundown on the description from Amazon.CA:

The world of “The Crash of Hennington” is so strange that nobody pays much attention to the rhinoceros herd that occasionally rampages through town. Though ornery, the giant beasts – known collectively as The Crash – are more docile than the human citizens of Hennington, whose schemes ultimately cause much more wreckage than a few bent traffic signs. As a freewheeling mix of satire, social comedy, and science fiction, “The Crash of Hennington”
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's a testament to Ness' skill that I ended up liking this book so much when there are so many elements I don't like in novels: magical realism, random crudity, irregular dialogue formatting. The satire takes a while to sink in but when it does, you realize a book first published in 2003 is frighteningly on point for the political and societal insanity of 2017.
Rachel Walker
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is incredible about this book is that it reads like a straight-up satire of exact events that are currently happening but it was written 10 years ago. If Patrick Ness isn’t a fortune-teller then he’s a genius and if he is a fortune-teller it would still take a genius to write a book with the wit, thought and layering that this one has.
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was an exceptionally weird book, and I still don't really know what to think. I almost abandoned it a couple times, though ultimately kept going - probably because I really respect Patrick Ness as an author. Though in retrospect, it wasn't for me. I still have very little idea what happened, and why.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Patrick Ness is one of the most enjoyable authors I've read in ages, and this is my favorite of his books. It's so charming and well written, and there's something refreshing about the characters that makes you want to cherish it instead of eating through it. A great summer read too!
S Weir
Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: 3.5*
Pretty good but as this is a debut it feels like Patrick Ness is still figuring out who he is as a writer. There are also a lot of characters and some of them I didn't care as much about.
Joe Hudson
I couldn't get in to this book at all. Way too many characters have been introduced too early on, and the dialogue isn't clear. I don't really get what's happening, so I've given up. I really enjoy reading Patrick Ness, so I am sad to add this to my Abandoned shelf.
An interesting storyline with a multiplicity of characters and an intricate writing style.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF 25%
this was just weird....
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So interesting. Especially the end
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
You follow several characters in this. Those of which you don't care much for or understand their importance until the rest of the story falls into place. It's almost like braiding hair. It looks like nothing until you get further in. 

To be honest, if this was written by any other author I would not have finished it. Politics is a heavy topic in this book and I've DNF'd before for that reason. It didn't dive too deeply, but running for mayor was a major plot point and conflict. 

It's a very weird
Lazlo Thorn
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
Fun, clever window into the delightfully fantastical world of Hennington. There's an element of prescience here, as a rich, uncaring real estate mogul riding his father's coattails runs for office.
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Patrick Ness, an award-winning novelist, has written for England’s Radio 4 and Sunday Telegraph and is a literary critic for The Guardian. He has written many books, including the Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Crash of Hennington, Topics About Which I Know Nothing, and A Monster Calls.

He has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the C

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