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Showing posts from June, 2011

Books of Note

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Yah, yah, I know, I’ve been lollygaggin’ and work-shyin’ and leaving all my lovely spammers in Tamil Nadu with nothing on which to post spam but old reviews. I’ve not even been all that busy, except when it comes to slapping on weight and destroying some neural connections, both of which I’ve done with glazed-eyed indifference and robotic monotony. Still, I feel I owe it to GDR to at least put Shantaram to bed before I buy (whoops, sorry, already done) and read his next book, The Mountain Shadow, which even now is winging its way to my door by the magic of Amazon Prime Same Day DeliveryTM.
It turns out that GDR was indeed a bit of a knob. He robbed building societies in Australia, always dressed in a three-piece suit and minding his Ps & Qs, and only targeting those with adequate insurance. How he knew which did and didn’t have adequate insurance is not mentioned. On the back of this, or maybe it was the other way around, his wife kicked him out and he lost contact with his only da…

The In-Betweeners


Not everything I read makes it onto the pages of this blog. Indeed, of some books it pains me to say I may well be slightly embarrassed to admit having read them, being slightly superior and a somewhat jaded critic of the popular milieu. However, what sort of chronicler of intertextual flow would I be if I were to omit those texts that fill the void between the titles carefully chosen by me to illustrate what an esoteric and highly educated reader I am?

Therefore, I've chosen to humble myself by exposing those little items of brain candy that I occassionally treat myself to, behind closed doors of course. Those shavings of Occam's Razor I call, The In-Betweeners.

For those of you who don't want to know the scores, look away now. Equally, for those who don't give a monkeys about football, you may avert your gaze for a paragraph. Kenny Dalglish snuck in between Portis and Hunt by virtue of the fact that if I hadn't read it now, it would have become one of those irri…

Mr Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt

Over the years I've been repeatedly seduced by the anthropomorphic in literature, from Aesop, and the tales of trickster Br'er Rabbit, to Peter Hoeg's enigmatic ape and Daren King's Jim Giraffe. So, of course, Hunt's literal and physical depiction of Churchillian depression was always going to tickle the membranes until I gave in and gave it a crack. It tickled for some time, but I did cave and was, eventually, glad I did.

To start with, what's-her-face (oh dear! Without the book to hand I can't remember the character's name - an inauspicious beginning I fear, and one that might dampen any praise henceforth given) is so insipid that I hoped she might at least develop some asinine traits so as to become a target of derision. The initial meeting with the black dog, come to rent her spare room, was painful to read and I almost skipped two chapters to get to the next bit in which Churchill appeared. However, she rallies (Esther! I remember now, but have o…