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Posts tagged ‘review’

The White Shepherd by Annie Dalton and Maria Dalton

I would like to thank the publisher Severn House for the review copy of this book.

 

My copy - on my very battered kindle!

My copy – on my very battered kindle!

When I first heard about this upcoming book, I was incredibly excited about getting my hands on it. I am a lifelong fan of Annie; she is the one writer who made me so passionate about literature and publishing that I actually became a publishing professional myself (currently working for an academic publisher in a job I love.) Throughout my childhood I was in love with Annie’s Angels Unlimited Series – they stuck with me for a long time, and for this reason I really wanted to read this. As a child I read her children’s novels, and now as an adult I have read her adult novel and it’s really made me feel like I have grown up alongside her literature. And the best part of all? She’s just as good an adult fiction writer as children’s fiction writer. What’s even better? Her daughter Maria, with whom she wrote the book, is just as talented.

Now, I want to stress that I genuinely, genuinely loved and enjoyed the book. There is no bias here whatsoever. I’ve often talked to publishing professionals and authors about the need for honest reviews. Gushing about a book just because somebody has sent you a review copy is all well and fine if you’re in it just for the free copies – but that’s not my style! As anyone can see from my book review blog, if there’s something I don’t like about a book, or indeed a whole book I don’t enjoy, I will come right out and say it. As the author Matt Haig stated in a recent book event, there is not enough criticism in book review blogging right now. People are trying to please authors, rather than being honest about the quality of the work. And I agree 100%.

First in the brand-new Anna Hopkins dog walking mystery series: an intriguing new departure for award-winning YA writer Annie Dalton. It is Anna Hopkins’ daily walk through Oxford’s picturesque. Port Meadow is rudely interrupted one autumn morning when her white German Shepherd, Bonnie, unearths a blood soaked body in the undergrowth. For Anna it’s a double shock: she’d met the victim previously. Naomi Evans was a professional researcher who had told Anna she was working on a book about a famous Welsh poet, and who offered to help Anna trace Bonnie’s original owner. From her conversations with Naomi, Anna is convinced that she was not the random victim of a psychopathic serial killer, as the police believe. She was targeted because of what she knew. With the official investigation heading in the wrong direction entirely, Anna teams up with fellow dog walkers Isadora Salzman and Tansy Lavelle to discover the truth.

All this means in this case is that this proves that Annie is genuinely a great writer in a number of genres. The story is carried along at a good pace and I didn’t find myself getting bored or side-tracked at any point, which personally I feel is essential in a murder mystery novel. There is a fantastic twist at the end and nothing is too obvious or easy to predict.

Also crucial to a good novel for me are believable characters. Annie’s characters are three-dimensional, believable, and they each develop and grow throughout the novel in ways that a lot of characters in other books don’t. The main protagonist Anna is a troubled and introverted young woman, haunted by the tragic events in her past. She suffers from social anxiety as a result, and is all but a recluse. Ironically, it is the occurrence of another tragic event that brings her out of her shell and results in a new-found social life, when it was a tragedy which originally robbed her of it. It proves that she has become much stronger emotionally as she has gotten older. But it also says a lot about the people she surrounds herself with – more of Annie’s and Maria’s colourful and skilfully crafted characters.

Jake, the American ex-soldier who was the previous owner of Anna’s White Shepherd dog Bonnie, is one of the characters most able to help Anna find and remember herself and who she was before the events of her past which scarred her mentally and physically. The interplay between Anna and Jake shows how skilled Annie Dalton is at crafting a complicated but effective relationship on the page. Anna finds herself becoming more animated and enthusiastic about life when she is around Jake:

“‘Catte Street?’ he said, glancing back at the sign. ‘That’s not named after actual cats?’
‘No, it really is!’ she said, catching his enthusiasm, ‘because I happen to know that at one point they changed the name from Kattestreete to Mousecatchers’ Lane!’”

An additional character who is also essential in helping Anna keep sane is her grandfather. She nurtures and looks after him to such a touching degree that it’s obvious that this is a part of a subconscious need on Anna’s part to protect those she still has around her. Anna may shy from social situations and find communicating with people difficult, but she hasn’t lost love or the warmth of who she once was. Her deep affection for the immensely lovable Bonnie, her White Shepherd dog who plays an integral role in the book, also reflects this. Bonnie becomes her rock and Annie pulls off the writer’s ultimate goal perfectly – making the reader fall in love with a central character. Along with these there are of course Anna’s new-found friends Isadora and Tansy, so utterly different to her but who compliment her perfectly.

I find that a lot of murder mystery novels, especially those that try too hard to be flat-out bleak and grim in order to achieve a certain pathetic fallacy, are often lacking in richness and depth. This wasn’t so with The White Shepherd. Annie has a beautiful way with words and paints Anna’s world and her home life as a place of total beauty. Annie’s love of nature shines through the book and makes the reader want to step into that world – even if it’s a world often tinged with sadness and pain. Her writing stimulates the senses, as though you’re almost in the book itself.

 

“At the top of a steep hill, the breathtaking view of the valley below stopped them in their tracks. Sandstone cottages were dotted about here and there. In one of the gardens a man was tending a bonfire. Anna could hear the snap of burning wood mixed with the cawing of rooks above their heads. They hadn’t seen a single car since they’d started walking.”

The beauty of passages such as these make for an effective and brutal contrast when the menace and foreboding of a murder mystery is introduced alongside it. It serves to make the unpleasant and grim parts of the novel all the more satisfying, entertaining and gripping.

The novel has a very strong plot, rich in detail and very cleverly done. It is difficult to know what has happened – it truly is a murder mystery.

In all, this is a richly woven tale full of everything that a reader could want – intrigue, mystery, love, sadness, happiness, lovable and believable characters, a strong plot, an unpredictable twist, and most of all, very talented writing. I adored this book, and I urge you read it.

More Than You Can Say by Paul Torday

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This was one of the books that I bought at the Hull Central Library Book Sale a couple of months back. Been a busy few weeks but I finally have had the time to review it!

Traumatised by a tour of duty in Iraq, Richard Gaunt returns home to his girlfriend with very little of a plan in mind. Finding it difficult to settle into civilian life, he turns to drink and gambling – and is challenged to a bet he cannot resist. All he has to do is walk from London to Oxford in under twelve hours. But what starts as a harmless venture turns into something altogether different when Richard recklessly accepts an unusual request from a stranger…

I enjoyed this book immensely. I just want to say it from the outset. Normally my book reviews are written almost like a literary essay; they take a while to write because I dissect, and analyse, and evaluate. But this is one of those books which I was too busy enjoying, and a story with which I was too easily swept away to remember to earmark a page or make a note in my book review journal. So in fact this is may not be as detailed as my usual reviews, but this is for a very positive reason. I was too busy having a good time reading!

More Than You Can Say has it all: action, comedy, emotion, depth, interesting characters and a compelling plot. It plays with your emotions and makes you re-evaluate the big issues. It takes the important and sensitive subject of war, of PTSD and depression, and places it in a world and narrative that makes it easy enough to explore without it dragging you down.

What I loved most about this book was how it shone a light on the traumas and difficulties that soldiers and army veterans face not only in the battlefield but in day-to-day life as well.

I knew why people behaved like that. They were sick in the head. I was sick in the head. We had all seen things we should never have had to see, done things we should never have had to do. And all of us, when we came back from Iraq or Afghanistan, were constantly being reminded, every time we opened a newspaper or switched on the television, that we had done it for a cause the grateful public did not believe in any more, if they ever had. In the old days, it was ‘my country right or wrong’: when things happened that seemed to cross every boundary of human morality or decency you could always tell yourself, I suppose, that you were serving your country. But we had fought in wars that few people at home really cared about. No wonder some of us behaved badly.

Perhaps what makes the main character, Richard Gaunt, so utterly compelling is that neither he or the author pretend that he is in any way perfect. He is innately likeable – he cares deeply about people, has a good sense of humour, and has a desire for justice and fairness. But he also has his flaws – he is aggressive, cynical, often subdued, lazy and unmotivated, and often does things without considering the consequences or indeed without much thought at all. But you get the feeling that he’s justified, sometimes, for the way he behaves. He’s been through horrific things and come out the other end alive, but can we really blame him for not emerging undamaged?

This book taught me a lot about the war in Iraq, but also gave me a deeper understanding of its impact as it explores consequences much more complicated than cold hard facts and numbers. It explores Richard’s past and current relationships with people around him and how they are affected by the war. Take, for instance, his ex-fiancée, Emma. She is an attractive person, inside and out. She is loving and supportive, incredibly patient, and puts up with a lot from Richard. But even eventually she is driven away by his erratic and selfish behaviour, behaviour that Richard puts down to his horrific experiences in the army. He cannot function properly as a result of it and, by extension, neither can his relationships.

It is not all doom-and-gloom, though, as Richard definitely matures throughout the book. After a while he comes to realise that he can no longer continue to use the war as a scapegoat or an excuse for the way his life has turned out.

But in my heart I knew that I couldn’t just blame it all on the wars I had been in. I wasn’t even sure whether the fracture that had broken open deep within me was simply a consequence of the things I had seen; of the things I had heard; of the things I had done. When a stone shatters in the frost, is it because of the frost, or is it because the fault line was always there, deep inside the stone?

It takes a long time and many amusing and not-so-amusing events for him to realise that he is still in control of what happens in his life, and that he doesn’t have to let the past dictate his present and his future. For this reason, the book ends on a note of hope. Things can get better, if only Richard wants them to.

I would urge anyone who has been in the war, knows anyone who has been in a war, or anyone who hasn’t, to read this book. It’s funny, compelling, engaging, and thought-provoking. It’s full of fast-paced action and meaningful dialogue. It is both educational and entertaining, and is a true example of brilliant modern literature.

Catching The Sun by Tony Parsons

I’ve heard a lot about Tony Parsons, and always meant to read one of his books. I spotted this while shopping recently and thought I’d give it a try!

Lovely cover image.

Lovely cover image.

One young family goes in search of their dreams.

The Finn family – Tom, Tess and twins Rory and Keeva – leave broken Britain in search of a better life. Their destination is Hat Nai Yang beach, stretched along the south coast of Phuket, Thailand: an island paradise where the children swim with elephants, the gibbons sing love songs in the rainforest, the sea is like turquiose glass and a young family is free to grow.

But paradise has a heart of darkness and disasters made by man and nature conspire to shatter the tropical idyll – and threaten to tear their family apart.

In a time of political tension and growing dissatisfaction with the state of Britain, it’s very easy for the reader to sympathise with Tom and his family for wishing to escape a country that they feel let down by and find “paradise” elsewhere. But that’s exactly the problem, and the main theme that runs throughout this book.

For while the detailed and effective writing technique of Tony Parsons offers a stark contrast between the apparent ‘broken’ Britain and the stunning landscape of Thailand, it also highlights the unwelcome truth: nowhere is perfect. Not even the beautiful island of Phuket. You leave a country with one set of problems behind, but you can never go anywhere without encountering another. It’s a case of choosing between the lesser of two evils, a choice that will eventually come to Tom and his family.

Tom is a likeable character: hard-working, honest, decent, and loving, his actions are driven by a desire to do the best for his family. His drive to do what’s right for them and protect them is apparent in everything he does:

somebody was howling with fear and rage and after a numb second, I realised that it was me.

But it was all right.

Because they were only fighting for all that stuff they had piled up in the back garden, while I was fighting for the woman and the two children upstairs.

Tess is a typical (and perhaps for this reason, a little unoriginal) loyal and head-strong woman who shows unwavering love, support and understanding towards everyone in her life. Again, likeable and relatable.  After a huge natural disaster threatens the lives of many people on the island, she spends her days on the beach giving out free bottles of water to passers-by, and continues to do this despite having to sit for hours in the boiling sun. Keeva, their daughter, is a sweet girl who understandably misses her friends and life back home, but soon settles in to her new life. Perhaps it is only Rory, Keeva’s twin brother, who really stands out as a character.

Rory is not instantly likeable, but I did feel drawn to him. He is complicated, and flawed. He cries often and easily, and is much weaker emotionally than his sister. He has an innate love and understanding for all animals, and is incredibly bright for his age. He is not a perfect character, but for this reason, he is far more interesting. Everything is very black and white for him; he is still at that stage in life where there are no moral grey areas.

‘That bad boy,’ he said. ‘He’s so bad. He’ll get punished for being so bad.’

Maybe he’s not really bad,’ Tess said. ‘Maybe he’s just trying to feed his family.’

They get it in the end,’ said Rory.

I think at first, the book works to portray the concept of moving from Britain to Thailand in much the same, simplistic, right-and-wrong manner. Britain is bad, grey, tainted. Britain has let the family down. Thailand is gorgeous and sunny, a land of freedom and hope and a simpler, more holistic way of life.

This was a great country,’ I said. ‘Look at it now. The crime, the grime. The lack of respect. The lack of fear. The wicked walk free and the innocent suffer. Defend your home, protect your family – the most natural things in the world – and they treat you like a villain.’

And I felt that for all the similarities that Farren saw between the British and the Thais, they had things that we did not. They were better at showing love to each other.

As we move further into the book, however, we begin to see how life on the island affects the residents and perhaps, more importantly, how the residents affect the island. Prostitution is rife in Phuket. Businessmen take advantage of young women in bars and night life is far from pure. Of course in this book you get your stock bad characters such as Farren, the man who persuades Tom to move out to Thailand and routinely exploits working and residential laws in order to line his own pockets. However, there are also characters like Jesse, a man who works for Farren but slowly realises the error of his ways and behaviour. He rescues a gibbon which has been captured and forced to perform in bars, often being mistreated and maimed. This begins to open his eyes to the evil and corruption that takes place on the island – which is every bit as evil as anything that they’ve encountered in Britain.

‘I keep thinking that some lightning bolt is going to strike us,’ Jesse said. ‘To punish us for the way we live here. For the lies we tell. For the rules we break. For the things we do.’

The book is rich in interesting characters, far more than I have time to sit to discuss in detail. Each play their own part in shaping the Finn family’s new lives and surroundings. However, it is ultimately down to the Finn family to evaluate their new home and how their lives were before, and find the right place in which they can live happily. I won’t give away how the book ends. That’s for you to find out yourselves.

I definitely enjoyed the book, it was well-written, engaging, and had some good themes. Worth a shot and a fun, thoughtful, emotional read. However, I must admit that, especially compared to what I’ve read recently, it was a little bit forgettable in terms of plot. I finished reading it a couple of weeks ago and I struggled a little remembering the story whilst writing up this review (good job I take notes while reading!) I guess it just didn’t get me in the gut like some of the others.

It’s a good book, but not outstanding in my opinion. However, it may well be in yours!

Have you read the book? Please discuss with me in the comments below!

Her by Harriet Lane

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Emma – A struggling mother who has put her ambitions on hold.

Nina – Sophisticated, independent and entirely in control.

When the two women meet, Nina generously draws Emma into her life. But this isn’t the first time their paths have crossed. Nina remembers Emma and she remembers what Emma did.

But what does Nina want from her? And how far will she go in pursuit of it?

I finished this book a few weeks ago and while it made for fast reading and was enjoyable and interesting enough for me to keep reading until the end, I found myself ultimately disappointed when I finished it. When I picked this up in Waterstones, I was in the mood for a good thriller as I don’t read many books of that genre. But I’m sorry to say that I came away from this novel distinctly unchilled and unthrilled.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t entertained. Harriet Lane developed the characters of Emma and Nina effectively and convincingly. The way Lane built Emma’s environment around her – the pressures of motherhood, the frustrations of an untidy home, the lack of a fulfilling career – really helped the reader understand why Emma is such an insecure and discontent woman. Similarly, Nina’s confidence in herself is entirely believable given her successful life circumstances.

Lane manages to contrast matter-of-fact narrative with poetic language, a real skill and something I really enjoyed about the book. It helps give real depth to the character’s emotions and vulnerability, which I thought worked much better than the passages that tried to convey Nina’s dangerous side.

The house fills with the particular atmosphere that accompanies peacefully sleeping children: a rich narcotic silence that creeps down the stairs and twines itself around the table legs.

From time to time – in the hammock or on a lounger,  as the sun plays on my eyelids: red and black paisley, a languorous psychedelic swirl – I find myself thinking about home,  and it’s always a shock.

There were, however, some parts of the book that broke the mould in terms of style that I didn’t really understand. Speech throughout most of the book is written in standard speech marks, but peppered through are one or two instances of sentences like ‘So I say, fine, let’s speak tomorrow,  and hang up.’ Now, normally I am not so picky or pedantic as to care about something so small, but with the promise of a sinister atmosphere and chilling writing,  I kept trying to guess what the writer was trying to (unsuccessfully) achieve with each deviation of normal style, and I found that distracting when that happened.

The real problem I had was when I found out the reason behind Nina’s nasty deeds against Emma. I won’t give away what it is, but throughout the book I was expecting Emma to have done something truly terrible to justify Nina’s need for revenge. But I was really quite disappointed when it was revealed. In my point of view, it just wasn’t enough. It didn’t ring true that what Emma supposedly did would provoke such a reaction from Nina. And ultimately, for me, it took away the credibility of the story.

What I will say is that I still recommend reading this book. I’ve read many reviews that disagree with my point of view, and you may find that you do too. But reviews should be honest and that’s what I’ve tried to be.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Sorry for the delay in blog posts, readers. I have been extremely busy recently – with  a number of job interviews! One of them, in fact, turned out to be successful and I am now officially an Editorial Assistant!

However, this won’t stop me maintaining this blog. I am passionate about books and will continue to write about them. So, onwards and upwards for me!

Okay, so I know I promised you guys a review of a book that didn’t have a ridiculously long title – but it happened again. My next book choice was We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler:

 

Yep. Another one with a long title.

Yep. Another one with a long title.

I actually bought this book from a shop in King’s Cross station waiting to come home from one of my interviews. My 24th birthday, which occurred on the previous Friday, had provided me with a little stash of money in my purse which was BEGGING to be spent in a book shop. I may have also bought this little beauty from Paperchase:

bookjournal

I now have a book to write all my book reviews notes in as I go along. Result!

While I’m more inclined to buy and try books that aren’t necessarily in the charts and/or might benefit from a little more exposure, I loved the sound of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and I just couldn’t put it down and buy another instead. So it became my little companion on my four-hour trip home to Hull.

I also really want to publish a book review for a book that didn’t win me over completely, as I want to show that I actually do have an opinion other than ‘OH MY GOD HOW FABULOUS WAS THIS BOOK?’, but unfortunately…that’s not going to happen this time either. I absolutely adored this novel.

The great thing about this book is that I actually can’t spend time writing out the plot for you (which seems pointless to me anyway) as it would completely ruin the twist (and also, as the front cover hosts a quote which says “‘One of the best twists in years'” I am not spoiling it for the reader when I tell you that there’s a twist). All I can do is tell you what the book did for me, and why you absolutely need to buy a copy and start reading it straight away.

Rosemary is growing up and has finally made it to college. However, she struggles to commit herself to the future when she has so many unresolved issues and unanswered questions lurking in her past. She knows that her psychologist father used her childhood as an experiment. She has almost forgotten some things, and continuously represses others. She hasn’t seen her older brother Lowell in ten years, and her sister Fern disappeared when Rosemary was five years old. She cannot move forward with her life until she goes back, until she finally understands what happened all those years ago.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is a novel which concerns itself with child and adult psychology, the difficulties in identifying real and false memories, and the art of storytelling. It explores language and how it can shape human perception. It is both hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time.

“Language does this to our memories – simplifies, solidifies, codifies, mummifies. An oft-told story is like a photograph in a family album; eventually, it replaces the moment it was meant to capture.”

The novel begins with the narrator insisting that she will “Skip the beginning” and “Start in the middle.” This becomes a theme and technique throughout the book, to highlight to the reader that the exact same story can be retold in different ways in order to glean information that will help form a good understanding of Rosemary’s life story. As the novel moves along, we realise that Rosemary is on a path of discovery just as we are. As she retells her story from different perspectives, she begins to remember facts and events that she has long ago forgotten or repressed. She explores how language and the retelling of stories can affect how a person remembers events themselves. She shows how an event can change from what it once was to what the person wishes it to be, and how false memories can affect a person’s outlook on life.

“Why are there so many scenes I remember from impossible vantage points, so many things I picture from above, as if I’d climbed the curtains and was looking down on my family? And why is there one thing that I remember distinctly, in living color and surround-sound, but believe with all my heart never occurred? Bookmark that thought. We’ll come back to it later.”

Rosemary often refers to human psychology and development throughout the book, and her outlook is largely influenced by her father, who is a psychologist and scientist. She often disagrees with her father’s methods or opinions, but she can’t quite help exploring her world and the world around her through scientific studies and experiments. Perhaps that is what seems normal to her, although she wishes this wasn’t the way things were for her and her family. You can almost feel Rosemary’s internal struggle. The reader sympathises with her attempts to fight her instincts and behaviours which she formed due to her father’s treatment of her and her siblings as they were growing up.

The novel deals with sibling love and rivalry in a way that I’ve never experienced before. It demonstrates the fragility of human nature and how difficult it is to trust your own memories and your own perceptions. It encourages you to come at stories from a number of different angles, and to form your own understanding. It prompts you to think differently about your own behaviours and perceptions of your own world.

It is fresh, breathtaking, and utterly unique. I fell in love with this book. There is no wonder that it was longlisted for the Man Booker prize this year. I have a number of friends and family members who want to try it. I suggest they buy copies because it will take a number of readings, and each one will be different. I suggest you do the same too.

You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

 

You can buy a copy of the book here

Follow the publisher Serpent’s Tail on Twitter here.

Publisher’s website here.

Karen Joy Fowler’s website is here.

 

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Fantastic book!

Fantastic book!

I first came across today’s particular book, The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared, when I was in Manchester airport about to board a plane back in June. Already equipped with my Kindle, I really didn’t need to take any more books on holiday with me. But I had time to kill and it was – well, me. This book was in the charts at WH Smith and part of a buy one, get one half price deal. As I spotted John Grisham’s Sycamore Row glowing with an angelic aura on the top shelf, (review on this book to come shortly) it occurred to me that it would be silly not to take advantage of the deal…

So, The Hundred-Year-Old Man climbed out of the window and onto a plane to Tenerife with me.

From the moment I started this book, I just couldn’t (and wouldn’t) put it down. Luckily I had two full weeks of lying around in the sun, and so at all times between eating, washing, sleeping, and sightseeing, I was glued to this book. It’s definitely not your typical chick-lit beach read, but that didn’t matter. I went on holiday to have fun, and that’s definitely what I had whilst reading the book. It was an absolute joy from beginning to end.

As suggested in the title, the book revolves around 100-year-old Allan Karlsson, who is about to celebrate his 100th birthday with a party at the resident home in which he lives. Or so his guests think. Minutes before the party is due to begin, and with the press and a large party of people waiting for him, he decides to take his chances elsewhere and leaves through the window. From this point on begins a new adventure for the centenarian, as he encounters a number of colourful and eccentric characters in increasingly amusing situations.

Running alongside this narrative is a parallel storyline which takes the reader through Allan’s life from birth right up until moment at which the novel begins. It follows the protagonist as he stumbles through life, Forrest Gump-style, unwittingly becoming a key element in some of the most significant events of the twentieth century.

Allan Karlsson is instantly loveable from the first moment. His flippant and matter-of-fact outlook on the world surprises you from the beginning; his almost carefree attitude to danger and death takes the sting from any serious event that would normally threaten a book’s light-heartedness. He is a politically neutral soul who only wishes to mind his own business and yet somehow manages to involve himself with a number of the world’s most famous and infamous political figures – Churchill, Truman, Stalin and Mao to name a few. His goal in life is to remain suitably entertained with a constant supply of vodka, and he has no personal bias against anything or anyone. He is easy to please, intelligent in an uncomplicated way, and, also much like Forrest Gump, seems to be incredibly adept at many things he puts his mind to.

Along the way, as he moves continuously from one country to another, Allan shares his adventures with a brilliantly entertaining cast of people, including the owner of a hot dog stand who is a nearly-qualified expert at almost everything, a gang of witless drug dealers, a thief and conman, Albert Einstein’s dimwit brother and a rather demanding and spoiled elephant. Each character seems as flawed and corrupt as Allan himself, and yet the reader cannot help but fall in love with each weird and insane individual as the story progresses.

The narrative is laced throughout with a hilarious yet forgiveable absurdity. In any other novel, by any other writer, I might have found Karlsson’s life experiences way too far-fetched to be believable or enjoyable. However, Jonas Jonasson manages to pull the novel back from the sucking black hole of meaningless slapstick comedy and presents a brilliant comic twist on political commentary – with none of the usual heaviness.

The reader, however, needs to approach this novel remembering that it is a pure work of fiction. I have read some reviews that criticise the book for political reasons, which feels redundant to me. The reader just needs to do what I did, and read the Hundred-Year-Old-Man with a completely open mind without intention of taking it too seriously. Jonasson’s intention is to entertain, and he succeeds.

Since finishing this book, I have recommended it to so many of my friends and family, many of whom have relatively different tastes and yet all of whom I know would love it. The novel was published in 2012 by Hesperus Press and was made into a major motion film this year, which I am hoping to see soon. In the meantime, I highly recommend this book to all of my readers, too. A fantastically enjoyable read and a refreshing change from the norm!

“Revenge is like politics, one thing always leads to another until bad has become worse, and worse has become worst.”
― Jonas Jonasson, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

What did you think of the book? Do you agree or disagree with my review? I am always on the lookout for a debate, a chat, and a read! Leave your comments below and I will answer!

Follow @100YrOldMan and @HesperusPress on Twitter

You can buy the book directly from the publisher, Hesperus Press, here at www.hesperuspress.com

 

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