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Found 16 results

  1. I was engrossed in this short novel. For me the author has pulled off something quite special in making me feel so involved both in the character of Pereira and the fascist Portugal of the 30s. All this in Tabucchi's understated narrative where nothing is extraneous. He has his character Pereira point out from time to time that something occurred but that there's no need to recount it as it's not relevant. That is how the author treats his narrative - no irrelevancies, no 'fat'. For the first few chapters I was slightly irritated by the oft repeated 'Pereira maintains' but then grew to accept this narrative device (as if Pereira was telling his story?) I raced through the last few pages hoping against hope that.......oh,no, time for the full-stop.
  2. Hello! The next book on the list is: Pereira Maintains, by Antonio Tabucchi: Set in the sweltering summer of 1938 in Portugal, a country under the Fascist shadow of Spain, PEREIRA MAINTAINS tells a tale of reluctant heroism. Dr. Peirera, an editor at a second-rate Lisbon newspaper, wants nothing to do with European politics. He's happy to translate 19th-century French stories. His closest confidante is a photograph of his late wife. All this changes when he meets Francesco Monteiro Rossi, an oddly charismatic young man. Pereira gives Rossi work, and continues to pay him, even after discovering that he is using the money to recruit for the anti-Franco International Brigade. PEREIRA MAINTAINS chronicles Pereira's ascent to consciousness, culminating in a devastating and reckless act of rebellion. It's been reviewed in the Telegraph, Guardian and Financial Times. ‘Fantastically readable and very thought-provoking’ Bookmunch There are 10 copies available. Please post in this thread and send me a pm to reserve your copy. BGO subscribers and UK/Europe addresses only, please.
  3. I'm kicking off the discussion as I just finished reading it last night. One of my favourite characters in Blackadder is Lord Flashheart, but before him came Etienne Gerard, the daring, brave, handsome and premier swords- and horseman of the French Hussars of Conflans. I won't pretend that I'm not a fan of Conan Doyle - I love his Sherlock Holmes stories as the perfect light entertainment. Gerard is preposterous and hilarious. Some of my favourite parts in these stories are when he completely misreads or ignores other's opinions and blazes on through as though he's the absolute hero of the piece. But I'm not going to say any more. I hope other readers will chime in with their opinions on this complete collection of Brigadier Gerard stories.
  4. I'm just over half-way through this. The story is split into three books; Cocksman, Salesman and Deadman. After reading Cocksman (which was very funny in places) my feeling is that Bunny Munro has not redeeming featurea at all. Half-way through Salesman and nothing has happended to make me change that opinion. So far the book is a very easy to read book without being an easy read.
  5. Hello! The next book up for grabs is The Complete Brigadier Gerard, a rousing tale of heroism and gallantry (tongue firmly in cheek) from the author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Arthur Conan Doyle: Mon Dieu! The extraordinary, sabre-rattling adventures of Gerard, a young French cavalry officer in the time of the Napoleonic wars, introduce a hero who will be adored by fans of Flashman and Sherlock Holmes alike. Gathered here in one edition are both volumes of Conan Doyle's much loved tales, which will delight modern readers with their absurdist humour, infectious warmth and swash-buckling energy. We've got ten copies to give away to BGO subscribers who are based in UK/Europe. Please claim your copy by (1) posting a reply in this thread and (2) sending me a PM. The giveaway closes 27 June 2010!
  6. The debut novel from Trevor Byrne. It revolves around a character called Denny and how his life/family/friends affect him, and how he feels. It's written from his point of view, the dialogue that he is in and what his thoughts/feelings are. Set in Ireland, fairly recently - i.e. after the Troubles - it's very much a comment on the social/cultural aspects of life in Ireland. It consists mainly of Irish dialogue and I got a keen sense of the irish from it insofaras I 'heard' the irish accent as I read . This dialogue is heavily laden with profanity (and my language in RL deteriorated, as a result!) which I don't normally enjoy, but it doesn't detract from the story. It's a rough life for Denny and his friends and family, with much in the way of drug and alcohol abuse interspersed with some physical fighting but it's not a difficult or uncomfortable read and all within context it seems perfectly natural, not to mention plausible. The book starts with the death of the main character's mother and ends with him having found love, which he makes clear throughout the book that he believes he will never find. Throughout, the reader feels his despair and joy regarding his childhood friends and his family, both in the present and from his childhood, hears his morals and feels his feelings. We also get a little Irish mythology, too. The author makes his points clearly but gently and I got them all. Trevor Byrne is Irish and lived in the area and at pretty much the time the book is set in, indeed the book does seem autobiographical in places i.e. the wrestling fixation, the housing estate etc. All in all an enjoyable read that I wouldn't have chosen for myself and glad that I had the opportunity to partake.
  7. Hello. I've got ten (10) copies of Trevor Byrne's debut novel Ghosts and Lightning to give away to BGO subscribers with addresses in UK/Europe. Please post in this thread to 'reserve' one, and send me a private message with your mailing details as well. Synopsis Squabbling siblings, misfit school-friends and life on the estates of West Dublin are trouble enough. But then a ghost starts haunting the family home and Denny's life starts getting properly complicated. Hilarious, warm and tragic by turns, Ghosts and Lightning is a refreshing tale of one young man doing the right thing when surrounded by all the wrong choices and finding love in the most unlikely places. Reviews 'Byrne's voice crackles with energy and dark humour in a richly-evoked novel of Dublin family life.' Irish Independent 'Engaging and funny. Trevor Byrne delivers an acute portrayal of loss in a story filled with warmth, humour and wonder.' CATHERINE O'FLYNN, author of What Was Lost 'Very powerful. Often funny, sometimes frightening, always very human. I loved it.' RODDY DOYLE 'An amazing book, written with force and passion. And Denny is a very funny and slightly demented tour guide to twenty-first century Dublin.' MATT HAIG
  8. I have just finished this novel. The author has obviously been thorough in his research, digging through all the sources and letters. It must have been quite difficult to meld all this research into an interesting narrative, especially one where it's difficult to have any positive feelings for any of the main characters. By turns one gets aggravated by all the Tolstoyans, most of Tolstoy's family and even Tolstoy himself. Bulgakov is perhaps an exception. And of course one knows the ending. The strongest thread and one that kept me going was Sonya with all her unpredictability and 'bad' behaviour. But one could see how she'd be peeved by the constant presence of these acolytes and especially Chertkov. It was difficult, to say the least, in these last years of her married life to feel like a discard. Parini makes a good job of conveying all the tensions at Yasnaya Polyana. As with all the famous Russian novels the names are sometimes a stumbling block and I had to remind myself time and again of who is who but there's not much the author can do about that. A decent read on the whole but I can see that a good film version might heighten the atmosphere especially with outdoor scenes of 'Mother Russia'.
  9. The next book available for The Canongate Read is The Last Station by Jay Parini. This is not a new book, but in light of the Oscar-nominated film (released in the UK next week) adaptation of Parini's novel, we've published this tie-in edition. Synopsis 1910. Anna Karenina and War and Peace have made Leo Tolstoy the world's most famous author. But fame comes at a price. In the tumultuous final year of his life, Tolstoy is desperate to find respite, so leaves his large family and the hounding press behind and heads into the wilderness. Too ill to venture beyond the tiny station of Astapovo, he believes his last days will pass in peaceful isolation. But the battle for Tolstoy's soul will not be so simple. We can offer ten (10) copies to UK and European subscribers of Book Group Online. Be sure to post in this thread as well as sending me a message to claim your copy. Reviews 'An impressively knowing and sensitive performance, a wistful late twentieth-century tribute to the giant conflicts of a more titanic age.' Observer 'One of those rare works of fiction that manage to demonstrate both scrupulous historical research and true originality of voice and perception.' New York Times Book Review 'Jay Parini has written a stylish, beautifully paced and utterly beguiling novel.' Sunday Times
  10. So, I've read 5 stories (forgot one, but now got the book, and counted) and Adrian has given up on The Wrong Grave. Any one else reading? Overall, I'm enjoying Kelly Link's writing - the narrator asides to the reader work really well for me. I also like the Shaun Tan pictures, even if they aren't always directly relevant! I also wish that I hadn't read the copyright page, as I've realised you can tell which are the earlier stories if you think about it as you read. I wouldn't recommend that you do, think about it that is!
  11. Although I think there are still a few more contributors due for Bunny Munro Andrea is ready for our next read, and once again this looks deliciously different! For a change this is a collection of short stories which sound deeply weird and wonderful! You can see more about Pretty Monsters here and you can bagsy your copy when Andrea posts to give the go-ahead. <iframe src="http://rcm-uk.amazon.co.uk/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=12D4E3&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=bookgrouponli-21&o=2&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=1847677835" style="width:120px;height:240px;" scrolling="no" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0"></iframe>
  12. The second story in the collection, and this seems the more accomplished to me. After The Wrong Grave, this would be my second favourite. When the orphan's aunt tries to sell him in the market, a chain of events is set linking the orphan, Onion, and his cousin Halsa in ways that they would never have imagined. Halsa ends up going to work for the Wizards, who live in their desert towers. She learns from the other child slaves how to survive and what to do to keep the wizards happy. But when an invasion happens, why don't the wizards do anything to protect the children and the local villagers? There is a real fable feel to this story, and Beedle the Bard would have been proud to have written it!
  13. I feel that everything in a book should be there for a reason. So, first of all, what is this here for? (each story gets its own Shawn Tan drawing preceding it) It's like some psychiatrist is trying to trick me into revealing my inner-most thoughts by talking about the picture. "What do you see here?" Well, the left tusk has obviously been taken by Lesothon ivory smugglers, and regardless of the injunctions we all know what Andrew Marr has been up to with his 'trunk' and why does it only have one knee and I bet that bird has pood into his hand and is that Hazel's snake at the end of the trunk and I bet I'd look pretty in that dress and that thing at the top of his headdress has to have been drawn by someone at Viz. And then then there's the caption: "Anyone might accidentally dig up the wrong grave." Look love, I dig up the "wrong" grave every now and then just to throw plod off the scent. Are these hypothetical Burkes & Hares illiterate? Last time I wandered through a graveyard there was a pretty useful thing marking each burial plot. It's called a gravestone. Anyway, this story concerns a boyfriend who tries to recover his poems ("Three haikus, a sestina, and two villanelles. Some longer pieces.") from his recently dead girlfriend's coffin. He'd thrown them in there as some grand gesture. As you do. If it was me I would have twittered them first to save myself the bother. I couldn't take it seriously as all I wanted to do when I started reading it was watch Goodfellas again, which is what I did instead of finishing it.
  14. Does it remind anyone else of another fictional hat?? The evil twin, perhaps?
  15. The latest Canongate offer is a very exciting one! Nick Cave hasn't produced a novel since the highly acclaimed And the Ass Saw the Angel twenty years ago, so there has been a great deal of interest in The Death of Bunny Munro. I wouldn't expect Canongate's subscriber copies to hang around so watch this space for Andrea to begin the offer in the next few days - no bagsies until then! In the meantime you can whet your appetite at Canongate's website: The Death of Bunny Munro And if you aren't a subscriber or miss the offer then you can purchase it below: <iframe src="http://rcm-uk.amazon.co.uk/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=15EDDE&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=bookgrouponli-21&o=2&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=1847673767" style="width:120px;height:240px;" scrolling="no" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0"></iframe>
  16. I can't get over the difference between the UK cover and the one we've got here. Nick Cave's Australian publishers have taken a completely different take on the word 'bunny'
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