A Review of A Wind in Cairo by Judith Tarr

In one of my previous blogs I was going on about old favourites.  One of the books in my bookshelf that has survived numerous moves and several overseas trips is ‘A Wind in Cairo’ by Judith Tarr.  My copy, printed in 1989, was bought then as well.  It is a small book by today’s doorstop standards with only 268 pages.  It is also a standalone, another rarity it today’s world of prequels, sequels and series.

I think that is one of the main reasons why I return to it so often.  I don’t have to reread a whole series, just the one little book.  It pulls me in and grabs me from the start, not letting me go until the finish.  It doesn’t matter how many times I have read it, it doesn’t matter that I know the ending already, it stands the test of the reread with flying colours.  I always find something new to discover every time I pick it up.

I starts out with Hasan, a spoiled prince of the blood of the Prophet.  He is a wastrel, a gambler, a womaniser and a drunk.  His father despairs of him ever changing and gives him an ultimatum that he is sending him to his friend, a Bedouin Sheikh to make a proper man of him.

I his disbelief and despair, Hasan goes on one last bender and offends a magi, the premier magician of Cairo.  He is cursed into the shape of a stallion and to be owned by a woman, something forbidden to his faith.

Hasan, as you can guess, is quite a handful to his new owner Zamaniyah, but she doesn’t give up on him and they become a great team.  As with all love stories, you can predict the ending almost from the start, but it never matters.  The journey is everything, rather than the destination.

You begin to fall in love with Hasan, even though he is a spoilt pampered prince and you hope it will all turn out well in the end, even though things look grim.

Judith is well known for her historical fantasies.  She combines a fantastical world with meticulous research into many different time periods.  In this one, it is set during the crusades but from the Arab point of view and that is a wonderful twist.  The fact that the main protagonist is a horse is beside the point, he still has a mind and his love for Zamaniyah is no less potent for being of the mind only.

I just checked Amazon and you can still buy this book.  I don’t know if it has been in print continuously all this time but that is pretty impressive and a testament to the quality of Judith’s writing.  I encourage everyone to check out her books, especially this one.


Being Human Season 3

I just finished watching the third season of the UK series Being Human.  Note that now I have to differentiate between the UK series and the US series, because of course, the Americans, seeing something they like, have to remake it, thinking that Americans can’t possibly watch something that is from another country without needing subtitles, even if it is in English.

While I am all for remakes of foreign movies, because let’s face it, how many people actually watch a subtitled movie, I can’t wrap my head around the idea of remaking something that has already been done in English.  I can’t wrap my head around remaking classic movies into modern movies, even if they title them differently.

The US version of Being Human is actually ok, if you haven’t already watched the UK version.  The UK version is something that only comes along every now and again, something very special, where the classic tropes of vampire versus werewolf have been turned on their heads and spun around until you have no idea where things are leading.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the US version knows where the UK version is going and is trying to sneak there first with their Dutch vampires that are so old they only have to wake up every 50 years or so.  The UK version ( the real version in my opinion) has just introduced the old ones into the story line, at the very end of season 3.  I am not going to give things away but I have no idea what they are going to do in season 4, or if there is going to even be a season 4 with how season 3 ended.  I was gobsmacked, I was crying, I was yelling at the screen, all in the hope that the intrepid trio would prevail against horrible odds.  I was wrong.

The thing I like about series produced by British stations is that there is rarely a happy ending.  Things are never predictable.  You can never rely on the fact that your favourite character is even going to be there the next episode.  While I hate the fact that your favourite might die, it is also far more dramatic when you don’t believe that you favourite is safe and the suspense of knowing they might die is much more dramatic.

That is why I like Joss Whedon.  He wasn’t afraid to get rid of main characters.  That is why Buffy was so popular.  People could never predict what would happen, so you just rolled with it.  I would have to say that Whedon’s series were the most British American series that I have ever watched.  Does that even make any sense?  I am typing this quite late at night and having just finished watching season 3 of Being Human am feeling quite emotional.

This is a television series I have come to quite late.  I knew it existed and several people recommended it to me, but the whole vampire werewolf dicotomy didn’t really appeal at the beginning.  I was reluctant to add yet another vampire show to my watch list as I was already really into True Blood and Vampire Diaries and I thought that yet another show with Vampires was really taking it a little too far.

How wrong was I?  Very wrong.  This show is far more about different people living together and what makes someone human than about the vampire thing.  Also, the vampires in Being Human are certainly not heroic or nice, even the main character, although he certainly tries, he doesn’t succeed.

The US version has tried to be a faithful remake without slavishly devoting itself to the storylines of the UK series, but I just can’t get as involved in the characters.  They are a little more shallow than the UK series, a little more safer, a little more PG.  Somehow, I don’t think Aidan, the vampire in the US series, will slaughter a train full of victims like the UK Mitchell does.  Somehow, I don’t think the US werewolf, whose character is so bland that I can’t remember his name, will do what his UK character George does in the last episode of season 3.  (Trying so hard here not to do spoilers that it is not making much sense)

In any frame of reference the UK series is far superior to the US series, but I can’t put down the US series, as it is actually quite good as far as supernatural US series go.  If only it wasn’t a ripoff of a superior series, it would stand along as quite good television.  I only hope that what it does is bring a whole new audience to discover the UK series.  I hope these people who only watch home grown tv, get curious as to what influenced this show and check out the original series, which is actually being shown in the US on the same channel as the US series, and discover what really good tv is about.

Bravo to those people at the BBC who have created Being Human.  You make me laugh you make me cry and I can’t wait to see how the hell you are going to get yourself out of the hole you have written yourself into.

Review of Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Well now I finally understand the massive lines for John Scalzi’s autograph at Aussiecon 4.  I must say that I am a latecomer when it comes to his books.  Before Aussiecon 4 I hadn’t heard much about Scalzi’s books although I had heard his name in passing.  I am not a great reader of Science Fiction per se, preferring the sweeping epics of fantasy or the torrid paranormal romances that are taking over the shelves at the moment.

After starting this blog I started reading a lot of other blogs about reviewing books.  It came to my attention that the majority of these blogs rated Old Man’s War in their Top 10 books.  That grabbed my interest as most of these people had very different tastes.  Another reason it grabbed my attention was that someone mentioned it had been optioned as a movie so I wanted to read it before someone could ruin it by making a movie out of it.

So while browsing my local library I saw a copy on the shelf and immediately grabbed it.  Instead of getting several books at a time like I normally do, I limited myself to just this book so I could have no reason to delay reading it.  (Sometimes I do that, I don’t know why but I often really want to read a book but delay reading it so long I have to take it back to the library because someone else has booked it.  Mine is not to reason why)

I had guests staying with me this week (my parents so you have to be a good host) so my usual reading speeds were well down.  It took me 5 days to finish this book.  If I hadn’t had guests this weekend I think it would have been a single sitting.  I absolutely loved it!  It brought me faith that no matter how many books I read there will always be something good that I have missed.

The premise of the book is that in the future humans have colonised space and have come across innumerable alien species who also want the same planets that humans do.  Earth has been isolated from the rest of the known galaxy by the Colonial Defense Forces.  So the only humans who go into space are from the densely populated countries mostly in Asia.  Those others who want to go into space must go through the army.  There is no lack of volunteers for this army for the simple reason that recruits must be aged 75 and they know that somehow when they join they will be made young again.

The story is in first person from the point of view of John Perry.  It starts like this:

“I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday.  I visited my wife’s grave.  Then I joined the army.”

We follow John’s adventures as he discovers new friends, goes to exotic locales, meets new aliens, and kills them.  John’s experiences throughout his life and his wry outlook on life help him through some very tough moments.

Scalzi’s style throughout this book is quite gentle considering the subject matter.  In one scene, John is experiencing a crisis while fighting another alien species all of one inch tall.  He breaks down after being told to stomp the little aliens to death.  You are so absorbed with John’s suffering you don’t really comprehend that they are basically going Godzilla on these aliens.  Until John points it out.  And then you feel a bit queasy, like he does.

This tale gently moves from his friendships forming, to being in battle, to a final twist which brings the story to a satisfying conclusion.  While it isn’t particularly fast moving at times, that didn’t bother me much as the writing was excellent and the simple interactions between characters was interesting and pertinent to the story.

I recommend this novel for both lovers of pure sf and also those who are interested in stories that favour characterisation.  I am glad I have come to this late as I noticed there are a couple of sequels already published.  I am looking forward to them very much.

The King’s Speech – The silent version – A review of the cinema not the movie

My parents are from country Victoria and are currently staying with me.  My mother has wanted to see The King’s Speech since it started and she was clutching a couple of Hoyts vouchers that she had yet to use so I (being of noble mein) agreed to go see the movie again.  We chose the 6.30 session because neither of us wanted to go during the day because it was so beautiful but we didn’t want to go the the 8.50 session either as it is a long movie and I have to get up for work tomorrow.

So off we go to Hoyts and once there, we discover that the 6.30 session is only available in Director’s Suite not in the normal cinemas.  After much deliberation, and studying of the other movies on at the same time we decided to pay the money for the Directors Suite and save the vouchers for another time.

For those of you who are not in Australia, Director’s Suite is supposed to be a luxurious way to watch a movie.  You get reclining seats and waiting staff serving you through the movie, but you can buy a cheaper ticket which is just for the movie, no food.  This is the one that we bought.

After we settled in, a little late but not too much, we sat back to enjoy the movie.  Good seats, good position in the cinema, but suddenly the sound goes slightly fuzzy.  I minor glitch I think to myself, but it happens off and on the whole way through the movie.  My irritation is high, but the problem is not bad enough to storm out and demand my money back, yet.  For those of you who haven’t seen the King’s Speech, I won’t spoil it for you but there is a scene right at the end just before he gives his speech where he and Lionel Logue have a great discussion dealing with several issues.

It is a very tense scene, or would have been, if the sound had actually worked.  We sat there watching the picture but no sound came out those speakers.  One of the viewers went out to tell the manager but it was a good 5 minutes later before the sound came back on.  We at least got to hear the Speech at the end.

After it was all over I went out to complain to the manager.  She gave us free tickets, but only to a normal session as we had not forked out the $32 for a full ticket.  Still, would have preferred to just have a good experience at the cinemas, not have to exert my rights as a consumer at the end.

Go see The King’s Speech, please do, it is a wonderful movie, just don’t go see it at Director’s Suite Highpoint.

The joys of rereading old favourites

Over the years, due to several moves, space constraints, money troubles and other reasons, my personal library has been pared down to my all time favourite books that I cannot bear to part with.  These books are the ones that stand up to multiple reads and never lose their appeal.

These books are full of favourite characters who, after all this time, almost feel like family that I can return to during various moods.  A lot of the new books that I read are eminently forgettable and indeed I have no interest in rereading them, not even when a sequel comes out (indeed most times the sequel won’t even get read), but these books that have stayed with me over the years are the ones that contain the best writing, the most amazing characterizations, and the most imaginative world building.

Over the next few months, as I will be busily saving for an overseas trip, my new book reading will be seriously curtailed.  I will be using the library, sponging off friends, the collection at the MSFC (a seriously wonderful genre collection at the Melbourne Science Fiction Club – I recommend any genre reader to join and access it) and of course, rereading old favourites.  This will mean that any reviews that I do will most likely not be current books (unless they are given to me). 

But that is ok.  People may not have read certain books when they came out.  They may now be out of print and only available at libraries.  It will be a pleasure to introduce these books to other people, perhaps get some opinions on what they thought of them.  I certainly think a lot of them for them to still be on my bookshelves.

Review of The Pantheon Trilogy by James Lovegrove

I used to be a great proponent of the Military SF genre.  I devoured the Sten series by Chris Bunch and Alan Cole, the Honor Harrington series by David Weber (although I gave up after a while as this went on soooo long).  But after a while I drifted toward fantasy and then romance and then supernatural romance.

As a child I always loved the tales of the Greek gods, the Norse gods and all the other pantheons that weren’t Christian.  It was fascinating to me and the stories were wonderful tales in and of themselves.  These gods had distinctly human characteristics, which made them incredibly fun to read about, as these beings with incredible powers had the same foibles as us mere mortals, and the troubles they got into were exciting.

I think that is why this series caught my eye.  It was military sf (well, sf in that it was alternate history rather than set in space) which I had strayed away from, but there were gods involved, which intrigued me.  The series consists of 3 novels:

Book 1 – The Age of Ra

In the Age of Ra, the blurb states “The Ancient Egyptian gods have defeated all the other pantheons and claimed dominion over the earth, dividing it into warring factions, each under the aegis of a different deity. Lt. DavidWestwynter, a British soldier, stumbles into Freegypt, the only place to have remained independent of the gods’ influence. There, he encounters the followers of a humanist leader known as the Lightbringer, who has vowed to rid mankind of the shackles of divine oppression. As the world heads towards an apocalyptic battle, there is far more to this freedom fighter than it seems…”

Book 2 – The Age of Zeus

In Age of Zeus, the blurb states: “The Olympians appeared a decade ago, living incarnations of the Ancient Greek gods on a mission to bring permanent order and stability to the world. Resistance has proved futile, and now humankind isunder the jackboot of divine oppression. Then former London police officer Sam Akehurst receives an invitation too tempting to turn down, the chance to join a small band of geurilla rebels armed with high-tech weapons and battlesuits. Calling themselves the Titans, they square off against the Olympians and their ferocious mythological monsters in a war of attrition which not all of them will survive!”

Book 3 – The Age of Odin

In Age of Odin, the blurb states: “Gideon Dixon was a good solider but bad at everything else. Now the British Army doesn’t want him any more. So when he hears about the Valhalla Project it seems like a dream come true. They’re recruiting from service personnel for execellent pay with no questions asked to take part  in unspecified combat operations. The last thing Gideon expects is to finding himself fighting alongside the gods of the ancient Norse pantheon. The world is in the grip of one of the worst winters it has ever known, and Ragnarok-the fabled final conflict of the Sagas-is looming.”

These books can be read in any order as they are all stand alone novels.  Also, and this is a first for any trilogy I have ever read, each novel is a completely different alternate reality to the other.

Out of the three my favourite was The Age of Zeus, whether that is because of my fondness for the Greek pantheon or because the main character was female and therefore easier to relate to I am not sure, there was something about this book that I loved.  It is a tale of revenge, of the underdog trying to triumph over unspeakable odds, and of the three novels, it was the alternate reality I found the most believable.  It has its whimsical moments, with an Australian character thrown in for comic relief (although stereotype much?  I’m sorry but I actually don’t know anyone who speaks in rhyming slang anymore unless they are over 70).  It is from the point of view of a British woman, so it is not surprising that a lot of Britishisms (is that a word?) are sprinkled throughout the novel (and indeed through all three novels).  I did find myself wondering what something meant every now and again and then thinking, not important to the story so I can’t be bothered looking it up.

This novel was the one with the most satisfying ending for me.  The first novel, The Age of Ra, could have used a sequel I think as there were a lot of unresolved issues in my mind.  The last novel, The Age of Odin, was the least satisfactory for me.  It was the only one in which nobody really knew about the gods.  In the other novels, the pantheons had taken over the world, where as in this one they were a secret.  I thought perhaps the theme should have continued on with the third novel.

If I were to recommend this series I would say that fans of military sf will enjoy these books, all the main characters are ex-military or ex-cops so the style of writing is quite male oriented, even in The Age of Zeus where the main character is female.  I think the style would appeal to a YA audience, although there is quite a lot of profanity in the third book (nothing a high school student hasn’t heard before but enough that a high school library probably wouldn’t stock the book).

You don’t have to read all three books to enjoy this series, so if you only want to pick one, pick The Age of Zeus.  It is a fun read with a bit of a commentary on the way the world is and what it might take to set us all on the straight and narrow.


Review of The Adjustment Bureau

I just went and saw The Adjustment Bureau and loved it.  I thought it was a great story and when I noticed in the credits that it was based upon a Phillip K Dick short story then I knew why.  It was original and the thing that I loved best about it was that although I knew that love would conquer all in the end, I wasn’t quite sure how on earth they would do it.

The story starts with David Norris, a candidate for the position of Senator of New York, meeting the woman of his dreams in the mens room the night of the election.  They instantly click but he doesn’t realise that there is a mysterious organisation that is preventing their romance from happening.

After a couple more coincidental meetings the organisation, The Adjustment Bureau, intervenes and he now knows that if he continues with his romance with Elise then he will ruin his future, that of being President of the United States, and hers, that of being the premiere dancer and choreographer in the country.

What follows is an adventurous and nail biting race to the finish to see who will win, the mysterious (their true nature is hinted at but never fully revealed) organisation or David in his quest for true love.

I liked everything about this movie.  Matt Damon, one of my favourite actors, was a wonderful romantic lead, not a gun or car chase in sight, and Emily Blunt, so snarky in The Devil wears Prada, was absolutely beautiful as the quirky Elise.  Their instant attraction was believable and the chemistry between the actors was sizzling.  The twists and turns created by the Adjustment Bureau as they created the fates of those around them was fascinating.  I was enthralled the whole way through this movie.

Loved it and thoroughly recommend it.

Sequels and prequels planned for Blade Runner

I saw that Blade Runner was trending on Twitter and quickly checked the stream to see why. Much to my horror there was a news article mentioning that the rights to the Movie, its characters and the intellectual property were being negotiated by Alcon Entertainment.

See an article about it here: http://sciencefictionworld.com/films/science-fiction-films/734-blade-runner-sequels-and-prequels-happening.html

I read a lot of the twitter feeds and most of them expressed the same thing I was feeling. A sequel? To the best stand alone science fiction movie of all time? (That is my opinion and you are welcome to disagree 🙂 not that anyone will) Nooooooooo!!

It is like the horrid sequels to Highlander. If ever a movie didn’t need a sequel it was that one. He had already killed off all the immortals in the first movie, ‘There can be only one’ and there was by the end, only one. How do you make a sequel to that? By ruining it!!

I think if they make a sequel to Blade Runner only bad things can happen. The movie had the advantage of being based upon one of the most profound sf writers of the last century Phillip K Dick. Practically every movie made based on one of his short stories has been successful, if not financially at least critically. Any sequels will be based on lesser mortals doing the work and a heavy reliance on CGI. I just don’t know that it will work. There will be too much interest, too high an expectation that nothing can live up to.

The article mentions that the rights acquisition was inspired by Disney’s doing a sequel to Tron. Well, see how that turned out. A dreary dull movie with no story line, bad acting and extremely bad 3D effects. It has ruined the original for me now. In fact most bad sequels ruin the first movie for me. I cannot watch Highlander without thinking cringingly of the sequels.

I must quickly rewatch the estimable Blade Runner before the sequels ruin it.

Review of The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

One look at the cover art to this book and I knew I had to read it.  Oh not the insipid, appeal to teen girls cover that appeared on the Australian edition,

but the radical, oh my god this book will be awesome, cover art that appeared on the American edition.

I grew up on tales of Changelings, faeries who were left in place of a stolen human baby, and that image of dangling iron above a crib spoke to something inside me.

The blurb starts off like this:

“Mackie Doyle is the Replacement.  Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess.  He is a Replacment – left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago.  Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world.”

There was so much potential in that one paragraph, so many what ifs that my brain practically exploded.  Unfortunately, while the book was extremely enjoyable, and it certainly held my attention (not an easy thing to do these days) I felt that its potential was not quite realised.  My initial excitement at the possibilities inherent within this idea did not eventuate.  Maybe the lead characters were too young for me to relate to, although I normally don’t have a problem relating to YA fiction (being so very young at heart while at the same time having the right to say ‘Kids these days!’)

Perhaps it was the fact that I was brought up on the faerie changeling tales, so very much a part of my Irish heritage.  My expectations were very high and they weren’t fulfilled.  Please understand, I am not saying this was a bad book, in fact it was extremely well written and kudos to a new author for coming out with such a great first novel.  It is an achievement to get into print that I am extremely jealous of and I don’t make any pretensions that I could have done a better job, I couldn’t.

It is just that when you get to a subject that you love, you so, so want it to be your ultimate book.  Your expectations are so high that you cannot help but be disappointed.  I find this happens a lot with sequels.  The author is such a favourite of yours that you automatically buy the next novel sight unseen.  You wait months for it to come out, tensions mounting, until the day it is published and you can go and finally purchase it.  You read it in one sitting, devouring the prose of your favourite author, delighting in meeting favourite characters again, but thinking in the back of your mind that perhaps the author is coasting a little, perhaps they are resting on their laurels a touch?  Perhaps this could have been better?

But you persevere, knowing that the quality will come back, that perhaps they had a bad year, perhaps the deadlines were too tight and they didn’t get a chance to review as much as they usually do.  Perhaps they simply have nothing left to say about the characters, but the publishers want more, more, more.  Needless to say, I will buy, and keep on buying this author purely for their past brilliance and the hope of future brilliance.  It will take more than one lame book to turn me off a whole series.

This post was longer the first time round, in fact I had my rant up and going at a million miles an hour but the internet went down half way through and the autosave didn’t work so now my rant has fizzled and I can’t even remember what I wrote before.  What I will say is that I can recommend The Replacement, although it is a YA book and, unlike most YA books, you can really tell.  The print is extra large, like they think the young have bad eyes?  It is beautifully written and I did enjoy it but I think if you want to read about things that go bump in the night I would recommend Faerie Tale by Raymond E Feist, one of the most chillingly scary stories I have ever read.  (In fact I should reread it and do a review!)

Review of American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I have been a long time fan of Neil Gaiman.  His humour, his hollywood good looks (yes I hope Neil reads this), and his quirky sense of the surreal and the sublime.  Good Omens was one of my favourites for many years and I met him at a convention in Melbourne in 2005 which only reinforced my love for all things Gaiman. 

I loved Stardust, I loved Coraline and I was ecstatic when he won the Hugo award for American Gods.  but somehow I never got around to reading it.  Oh I had every intention, there were many times I would borrow it from the library, or look at it in a bookshop and think, Oh I should get that, it’s bound to be good reading, and I would look at the blurb and think, maybe later.  It wasn’t until just this week that I actually got around to reading the book everybody always told me was worth the reading.

Let me just say from the start that everybody else was right.  This is certainly a great read.  As a wannabe writer, but one who never seems to ever get any words on a page, whether through lack of imagination or lack of confidence in one’s self, or, dare I say it, a lack of talent, I am constantly amazed and very often jealous at the sheer imagination and talent of some authors out there.

American Gods is a tour de force in mythology.  Whether Gaiman knew about these gods in advance and simply slotted them in to his story or whether he did copious amounts of research I am unsure and certainly couldn’t be bothered looking it up (maybe that is my problem – although this column is called confessions of a lazy girl after all), but the sheer amount of different mythologies involved boggles the mind.

While I was reading this I was immersed in a world of gods and mythological creatures, from the All Father, Odin to kobolds and the Fates.  They were all there, and reminders of tales I had read in the past.  How glorious was the thought that early settlers brought their gods with them when they moved to a new country.  How shivery was the feeling that the cause of all those missing children was through sacrifice to an entity so that life could be nice and pleasant, without the misery of the surrounding towns descending into high unemployment and obscurity.

I was particularly taken with the almost pathetic reality of these former gods as they became lost in obscurity, but never really dying, having to hold down day jobs as they are no longer worshipped, becoming grifters and criminals, or whores, or comedians (still not quite sure who he was referencing in that brief moment).  It is, to me, a comment on the fickleness of fame, and the fickleness of man.  What can be worshipped by the masses in one moment, is forgotten in the next.  Even the modern gods, those of Media and Technology and mysterious government agencies, were worried about the length of their time as gods and how long they would remain supreme before even more modern gods took their place.

The meandering journey of the mysterious Mr Wednesday and Shadow, his human assistant (who are the two main protagonists of the book) through small town America to find all the old gods and call them to war, was a fascinating montage of the quirky and the tacky.  How many of those places mentioned were actually real I don’t know, but Gaiman was quick to point out at the start of the book that he wouldn’t recommend trying to recreate the journey as a lot of it was in his imagination.  (And what an imagination that is – yes I really want Neil to read this).

Reading about the city on the Rock and all the tacky fairy tale figures carved out of stone, and visitors wondering after their visit what they were really doing there reminded me of many a visit to some tourist attraction where I began to think why on earth was this a tourist attraction?  I think that was another reason why I loved this book.  Gaiman’s way of bringing you into a story, even one with such a fantastical plot, and making you feel that you could relate to the main character, (although really why he didn’t boggle more once he figured out the secret is beyond me), was incredibly well done.  Although there weren’t as many belly laughs as I was expecting, Gaiman being an incredibly witty writer and tweeter (again – yes I am hoping he reads this), there was a black humour behind it all that was subtle but apparent (did that sentence even make sense?).

I am glad I came late to this book as I now know there is another, Anansi Boys, which I will happily chase down and read as well.  I haven’t really gone into the plot of this book as most of the people who read this (if any and hopefully one of them Neil) will have either already read it, be familiar with the plot, or if not, can look it up on Wikipedia, where they go to so much trouble to ruin it for everyone by rehashing the whole story. (That is a rant for another day!)

I hope to hear some recommendations from others on books that should be read, that I have somehow missed or never got around to, like this gem of a novel that should be on everyone’s must read list.