All entries for January 2006

January 14, 2006

Chilly…but outstandingly good

Title:
Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

According to the blurb this was longlisted for the Booker in 2005. it really should have won or at least made the shortlist. This really is an outstanding novel – broad in scope, brilliant narrative, really horrifying in places (especially the nature of the act in the title) and wonderful characterisation.

The richness of this novel really lies in the compelling representation of post-WWI Russia and the utterly convincing accounts of the harsh realities of life for an abandoned Czech regiment and the descriptions of existence in a prison camp north of the Arctic circle. As for the religious cult…ouch.

First rate.


January 08, 2006

Not as funny as it should be..

Title:
Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

Very strong black comedy emphasis but perhaps not quite enough of the comedic stuff. Some partly entertaining horrifying stuff around the funeral business, death more generally and blindness but still doesn't quite deliver what it promises.

I also expect Meades to be much cleverer than this and more witty.


Stranger on the shore

Title:
Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Catching up on a few old classics. Thoroughly deserved reputation for existentialist masterpiece status.

Not terribly good for enhancing those cheerful family gatherings over festive period though!


Extraordinary

Title:
Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

I know this has been around for some years and that many others will have fruitlessly recommended it in the past but, having received as a Xmas gift, I am completely bowled over by the originality of this album. Simply can't believe I've not picked it up before. But it is absolutely brilliant and pre-figures some of the most interesting stuff of more recent years, esp Arcade Fire.

Just do it.


January 2006

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