Book review entries

January 06, 2006

Amazing what you can find in Canon Hill

3 out of 5 stars
I find that the little stall that gets set up every now and again in Canon Hill shopping precinct can hold some surprisingly good finds. Take this book as an example, ex-Red Dwarf writer Rob Grant (maybe even current writer if the rumours of the film are ever to come off) has yet again made a great futuristic cynical look at our planet and the way it is heading. His normal blunt colloquial style come over as it usually does, humourous without being really abusive, except for the one line: "They start dickead training early in Italy". The whole premise of this book is that the idea of letting standards slip has got to an all time low, the story starts with the main character landing at an airport. It turns out to be the wrong airport, and the pilot even forgot to put down the landing gear. Being good at your job is no longer acceptable. The future is grim, as there is one man out there who is VERY good at his chosen career path, which is being a psychopath. This is a fun read, but not really anything more. If you want frightening sights of the future read 1984 or Brave New World, Grant's world is fun, but not really as gripping as other books. A fun three stars.

November 07, 2005

LeCarre is a master of spy fiction

4 out of 5 stars
Le Carre shot to fame when his book "Tinker tailor soldier spy" was immortalised on film, although the film left out a large amaount from the book it still conveyed the general gist of the book, and Le Carre's superb skill in building tension and paranoia among his audience. For ages after seeing said film many people start looking around you to see if they think people around may be spys for some faction or other.
In this, his newest book, John sets his scene in modern europe with his views on the war in Iraq plainly in view through his depiction of the character Teddy Mundy, before alienating himself from Mundy's character by building his complex and emotionally scarred background, as the orphaned son of an ex-british imperial army officer in Pakistan/former India.
Quite why Le Carre feels he needs to distance himself from his character may not seem totally clear until he has lived through Teddy's young life, into the modern day, with the way that Teddy finds himself played with and eventually destroyed by the largest facist imperialist government in the world – America. Maybe Le Carre believes his own fanciful (or are they) supositions that the US will quash – by force if neccessary – anyone who stands against them.
His account of growing adolescent political feelings in university life I felt particularly poigniant here at Warwick, and also quite disturbing in the realisation that such student factions are nearly always juvenile and naive in their view of the world. It doens't mean in any way that the morals they stand for are any lessened by their innocence, but it does highlight their eventual inneffectiveness.
Altogether a beautifully crafted tale of loyalty and love shared by the unlikeliest of partners. A definitely compelling tale, maybe not a "must", but definitely one that people would do best to consider as placing on the old Christmas lists.

November 03, 2005

My book review of a book the computer doesn't reognise because its a heathen

Scar Tissue by Antony Kiedis
5 out of 5 stars
This is a wonderful book, and not only for those who are fans of the awesome talent that is the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kiedis shows his great creative writing skills are not solely restricted to verse ashis prose is as fine a narrative as any biography I have ever read. He is astonishingly blunt with several facts about his life, though it is noticeable in parts that he seems to refrain from commenting on certain aspects.
When taken as a whole his childhood does really explain the later stages of his life; his drug using/dealing father, his ne'rdowell companionships with users and dealers across California and also his mixing with the rich and famous.
Altogether a surprising insight into a lyrical genius with a deeply troubled past, and his life with drugs.

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