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The Unbearable Lightness Of Being In Aberystwyth (Aberystwyth Noir, #3)
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The Unbearable Lightness Of Being In Aberystwyth (Aberystwyth Noir #3)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  710 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
A highly imaginative, fantastical and ironic black baroque-comedic plot; set in the North Wales (UK) university town of Aberystwyth.
Paperback, 259 pages
Published April 3rd 2006 by BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING PLC (first published 2005)
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Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Those who relish mayhem in humour
Upon reaching the final page of this book; reeling from a lack of panache, precision and brevity I involuntarily blinked in relief at the blessed release from this “acorned swill of the world”. Contrived and convoluted description bearing none of the carefully constructed forethought, vision and elegance of the Welshman (D.M.T); “The Unbearable …” had worn my patience thinner than would have modelling strudel pastry starring on “The Great British Bake-Off”.

I do ‘get it’. I can see why a number
Jan 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the 3rd book in the Louie Knight/Aberystwyth Noir series, and to my mind it has improved. The long drawn out humour seems to have been replaced with character development. There is still plenty of wit and absurd situations, the humour has taken a darker twist, but rather than being a run of the mill Noir series of books they seem to merge into satire as well. There seems to be a lot going on in this book, and references are made to characters and exploits from the previous books. So for ...more
Dave Peticolas
May 10, 2014 rated it liked it
A cut above the usual run of comedic Welsh crime noir.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I quite like the noir style this is written in, it's made me want to read others in the style. However I haven't found the books funny, absurd yes enjoyable but not funny. That said I will read the next book.
Richard Howard
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-this-year
I keep reading that this is 'comedic noir' but in this, the third Aberystwyth novel, the tone is rather more noir than previously. I have to admire how Pryce draws all the disparate strands together in a very satisfying denouement.
Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Another in the Aberystwyth Noir series of mysteries. The plot takes second place to the author's take on traditional noir detective novels. I enjoy the similes and metaphors used by the author which are not to be taken seriously. I happen to know the town of Aberystwyth on the Welsh coast so the use of local place names also amuses me but you don't have to be a resident to appreciate the humour of these books.
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, monkey, wales
Just wonderfully clever-silly Welsh noir, where every random incident and character neatly and cleverly gets tidied up into a very odd mystery by the end. Brilliant. I've read the first one of these Aberystwyth books, have the second kicking around although I'm not sure where. But I came across the third, it has a monkey on the cover and hey, how could I resist? I didn't feel as though it spoiled the reading experience, although it may spoil the second a wee bit. Having said that, I bet it'll be ...more
Rob Kitchin
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Unbearable Lightness is a well crafted book and an enjoyable read. Pryce’s alternative universe – Aberystwyth in geography, but socially kicked left out of kilter and filtered back through a noir and a nationalist parody – is fully worked through and engaging. The book is well plotted and paced, and it is clear time has been spent making sure the atmosphere is suitably noir, the similes are inventive, and the text lyrical. The story itself is meanders along a complex path and the twists are ...more
Karla Huebner
I picked this up in Prague and finally got around to reading it. I gather that it's the third in a best-selling series, and while one can often jump into a series midway, this time I was really a bit baffled. Before long I did grasp that these are bizarre and comic noir novels set in a parallel-world version of Wales, but all the same I was often unsure whether I ought to know something from an earlier book in the series, didn't recognize a product or practice from British culture, or what. It's ...more
John Carter McKnight
Aug 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Pryce just keeps getting better and better. Definitely must be read in series order, and Pryce expands on characters and themes from his earlier novels.

In the previous book, Pryce deftly spun humor and horror; here he ups the stakes. The social commentary, on class and gender relations, and on the treatment of veterans, is stepped up, and some of the story developments are truly gut-wrenchingly horrific.

And yet, the deadpan absurdist humor remains, from small observations and turns of phrase t
Anastassia Dyubkova
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Either I'm getting used to the weirdness of this Aberystwyth Noir series or every next book is really better than the previous one, I'm still not sure, but I truly enjoyed this one. Malcolm Pryce's stories are still strange but after the first two books it's easier to get in. The plot is a bit tangled but it is being developed nicely, and we have no loose ends in the final part. It's just clear that there will be another book following this one because the evil genius Brainbocs is still there.
Apr 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2016
It's sometime since I read the first in this series & I haven't read the second. To be honest I think that would have made a difference as this to me, seemed be a continuation of something I knew nothing about. Most of the time I hadn't a clue what was happening & who anyone was. I didn't understand what had gone on with Myfanwy, anyone who hasn't read the previous books would wonder at the odd reference to stove pipe hats & it was all made more muddling by the fact that every time I ...more
Isabel (kittiwake)
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Let the lamp affix its beam
The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.

Wallace Stevens

The third installment in the series about hapless detective Louie Knight. When his dying girlfriend Myfanwy is kidnapped on a day out from the nursing home, Louie is distraught and he and his friend Inspector Llunos of the Aberystwyth police turn the town upside down in their efforts to find her.

Book 4 in the series, "Don't Cry for me Aberystwyth", has just come out in hardback. Can I resist temptation and wai
Dec 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir, mystery
It's a good deal of fun with a dollop of cleverness. Unlike conventional mysteries, satires can grate after a while. Still, Pryce is able to wind the cords of the story into a stronger rope and lash his fictional Aberystwyth into a mostly believable construct. I admire Pryce's writing more for Louie's insights away from the main thrust of the cases, where the exposition occasionally ventures towards the lyrical. Still an enjoyable read, but I'll venture on to something else before tackling the n ...more
May 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: comedy
Overall this was an enjoyable story however I did find it bit of a slog at times. I enjoyed the comic aspects and the noir style of story generally however I found some of the plots a bit of a struggle to follow. This however could have been my fault as I did not relise that this was part of a series of books. I think I would try the first book in the series in hopes that the characters backgrounds are filled in , I felt that I did not get the full enjoyment as I was unaware of the characters pa ...more
May 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
The relationship between 1940's classic detective setting and modern day Aberystwyth sometimes sits a little uneasy, but overall this has just the right mix of dark film noir moments and light comedy moments.

A good book for those who enjoy classic murder mysteries and detective fiction, it takes a wry look at the genre without laughing at it. A good addition to the set.
Carolyn Lochhead
Jan 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Possibly the best title I've ever encountered: sometimes the book lived up to it, sometimes it didn't. Felt a bit like a Sam Spade adventure set in an episode of Fawlty Towers. It conceals a plot that is actually very macabre behind a light-hearted approach - it's as if Terry Pratchett and Thomas Harris had collaborated whilst on holiday in Wales. Lots of excellent similes.
Melanie Williams
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to Melanie by: Alun Williams
This book is a 'delight' from start to finish (despite the violence) - in my view, the best in the series so far.... Pryce is unafraid to write about anything we know of in this world and beyond and he writes in such a way that he makes you laugh and cry at the same time. It helps if you recognise the cultural references (which I very much enjoyed). A gem of a book.
Jacob Chinchen
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
They're still recurring then. Bloody hell. I know it's a small town and everything but there must be more than three or four stock villains in the entire play. And Brainbocs as well, he's starting to get on my nerves a bit too. But still, it's a good little read although - again - not as hilarious as people from the Big Issue, the Metro or the Telegraph would have me believe.
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
We look forward to hearing Malcolm Pryce speak about his Louie North novels in Chagford, Devon in March 2013 at the ChagWord literary festival.

See and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Graham Tapper
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, Pryce at his very best. The Myfanwy saga continues, with our hero trying to save her. The joke fly thick and fast. Will the villain get his just desserts? Will Louis save Myfanwy? Not to be missed.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Totally hooked on Malcolm Pryce. Really enjoyed this one and still not bored of Louie Knight. Pryce combines the absolute ridiculous with a great deal of wit. Now to move onto the next ones in the series...bring it on from the wonderful Aberystwyth!
May 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
getting comfortable with his genre, and having fun with it - suspense dashed at one point by the protagonist falling asleep at the point of a denouement - it's still a lot of fun, with a jaded Welsh seaside twist.
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: detectives
I love all the Aberystwyth books but is it my imagination, or is there more "noir" and existentialist angst and less humour than in the earlier ones? This one seemed genuinely sad all the way through, as though the author has given in to the feeling of futility.
Martin Willoughby
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
More of a crime thriller than a comedy, but a fine read nonetheless.
Mar 01, 2012 rated it liked it
felt this one didn't come to the standards of the previous 2 books in the series and just plodded along still enjoyed it but not as much as the other 2 though
Aug 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Quirky and comic-like.

Makes me want to go out and read the whole series at one go!
Steve M
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dark, poetic and delightfully absurd.
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The best noir I've ever encountered. Hopefully review soon.
Apr 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, read-2007
Continuing the Pulp noir tales of a P.I. in a dark and seedy Aberystwyth. I just really get into this series, its so quirky.
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Malcolm Pryce is a British author, mostly known for his noir detective novels.

Born in Shrewsbury, England, Pryce moved at the age of nine to Aberystwyth, where he later attended Penglais Comprehensive School before leaving to do some travelling. After working in a variety of jobs. including BMW assembly-line worker in Germany, hotel washer-up, "the world's worst aluminium salesman", and deck hand
More about Malcolm Pryce

Other Books in the Series

Aberystwyth Noir (6 books)
  • Aberystwyth Mon Amour (Aberystwyth Noir, #1)
  • Last Tango in Aberystwyth (Aberystwyth Noir, #2)
  • Don't Cry For Me Aberystwyth (Aberystwyth Noir, #4)
  • From Aberystwyth with Love (Aberystwyth Noir, #5)
  • The Day Aberystwyth Stood Still (Aberystwyth Noir, #6)

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“The train slowed down at the approach to shrewsbury station and glided between the eleventh-century abbey and the stadium of shrewsbury town football club. Two sacred arenas where men chanted and waited for a miracle that never came.” 2 likes
“Every policeman knows the truth: there is no limit to the things that people will do to other people. And every torturer knows the way to make a man betray himself. It doesn’t matter how tough he is, how many torments he can endure on his own body, he can’t endure even the whisper of evil being done to his darling.” 0 likes
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