So much better than Merde/YiProvence that it’s really an entirely different genre. Penetrating, insightful, analytical and a rollicking good read to boot.
Welsh is underrated. This high-concept novel is a tribute to both Dorian Gray and Jekyll and Hyde and demonstrates Welsh’s considerable storytelling skills. It’s a satisfying yarn containing mysteries, a quest, evil, executions, retribution, personal growth, magic, sex, drinking and drugs (but mainly drinking).
Welsh excels at dialogue, of which there is plenty.
A fabulous book.
Will, mate, get yourself a dictionary, why don’t you? Your use of poncy words means that your entire body is placed well above the parapet, and as a Jew, you should really know what a “shibboleth” is: especially since you use it in every bloody essay.
I love the way you write, and I love your motorway obsession, and I especially love the way you featured my local newsagent’s in a story (not in this collection).
However, this collection of essays is a bit arty and misses the point on a couple of occasions.
You really kicked the writing up a few notches when you wrote Liver. In comparison, your earlier work looks a little pretentious and overblown. Still fun to read, though.
Orwell is one of my favourite writers. However, as he himself acknowledged, this really isn’t a very good book.
On the plus side, his powers of observation and description are as acute as ever (little things, like an advertising poster with a tattered corner, are rendered in pinsharp detail), but characterisation, never an Orwell strong point, is almost entirely absent. No character has any subtelty whatever. Gordon is, fittingly, a moron (albeit one with a moderate ability to string words together quite effectively). His girlfriend is saintly, although it’s noticable that at 30 and a spinster, the social mores of the 1930s render her a bit desperate. And his mate Ravelston is a quivering pile of bourgeois guilt (and a champagne Marxist to boot).
It’s pretty non-PC in places. Orwell describes the ugliness of a dwarf’s hands (and not even a real dwarf, at that). He can’t excuse this on the narrator, as it’s clear that his own voice is speaking here.
Interesting, if only to put parts of The Road To Wigan Pier, and Nineteen Eighty-Four in context, but as a piece of literature. Meh.
Oh dear. I suppose I’m not the intended readership for this book. I really wanted to stick a tube up the arse of every character appearing in it. As it happens, it looks as that happens on a fairly regular basis to all of them anyway.
A cold porridge of a book. Lumpy and unappealing.
Another psychological treat from Fowles. Less pretentious and adolescent than The Magus, The Collector cleverly examines the same fact base from the viewpoint of the kidnapper, and kidnappee.
Fowles has the ability to generate the state of mind you are in when you wake from a half-remembered nightmare, where the feeling of disquiet still lingers, but you can’t remember quite why.
Excellent, thought provoking idea. What makes the Christian story persist is also what allows the creation of the Magisterium.
Pullman makes it clear his guns are trained at organised religion, and its emergent characteristics, not in wise moral guidance.
Rowan Williams likes it, although he thinks the Gospels are better (but he’s paid to say that).
Kate Fox and Jeremy Paxman have both tackled this subject. Fox gets gold, Paxo silver, and Lyall bronze.
Her book has some pleasant enough anecdotes, but she lacks the biting wit of Bryson, and although she likes England well enough, she lacks Bryson’s quirky deep affection for the country and (many of) its people.
Also, she really doesn’t appreciate the pervasiveness of class in English society, and tries to tackle it in a separate chapter, and by doing so fails.
It’s a pleasant enough aeroplane read, but Fox’s book is a lot better.
Of course, The Road to Wigan Pier is the grandaddy of the genre, and is still pertinent, and appears unbeatable.