Books by Ben Elton, Siri Hustvedt, Robert Llewellyn, Michael Chabon, Nancy Sparling
Book Reviews - August 2003
A quite nice book about getting revenge in life.
Within a week Alex manage to lose everything; his job, his car, his girlfriend, his apartment. One evening he has had enough, the particular even is when some youngsters in the cinema are refusing to be quiet and when one of them gets on his mobile phone to talk about football with one of his lads that is just it. Alex gets enough and puts his foot down, and from now on he refuses to be stepped over. The result is one broken nose and quite much blood, but this time it is not Alex that has to suffer the damage. Alex has turned into Alexander.
In the high that follows this event, Alexander is planning on how to get his life back on track, and also get his revenge on all those who have used him; his girlfriend who slept with his boss, the very same girlfriend that kicked him out of the apartment as soon as he found that she slept with his boss, the same boss that fires him just to make him suffer even more, the kiddies that destroyed his car ...
If you ever dreamed about getting a big revenge on people that are way too loud in the cinemas, or ever had a boss that you disliked, this could be a book for you.
The book was an excellent summer read, and was perfect entertainment for a lazy day at the beach.
Four years ago, I read Popcorn, and I think I liked it (see my review of Popcorn). Some months later I purchased Blast from the past, but I haven't got around to read it until now. The main reason that I got my eyes on it again, was the reference Robert Llewellyn had to Ben Elton in "The man on Platform Five" which made me think "hmm, don't I have a Ben Elton novel lying around somewhere?", that as well as the fact that I am starting to run out of books to read. I definetely need to stock up on books.
Anyway, a woman named Polly is stalked by a man since three years, not really that funny for her since basically the man has complete control over her life. However, suddenly one night the phone rings, but this time it is not the stalker, it is an old figure from 17 years ago.
Jack, the american soldier she got to know when she was 17 years old, is calling her. From the same phone booth that the stalker is normally using.....no need to say that of course the stalker is not too pleased about this bit of "competition". What follows is a very adventurous night, which mainly takes place in Polly's apartment, which made me think that this book is probably good material for a theatre play since it is all takes place in the same room.
A Ben Elton kind of humour in a Ben Elton novel. Excellent summer read (if you think that I find all books I read interesting you are barking up the wrong tree; I simply do not continue to read any books that I find interesting anymore, life is too short and I am too impatient, hence I prefer to scribble down notes about books I liked and tries to forget all the others)
Ah, Kryton is the character that most people will connect to Llewellyn, and he does not make any attempts to change that view; this book is full of references to Red Dwarf, the main character is wearing different t-shirts which are described as "... a t-shirt with a space ship crashing through a road sign" etc.
On the contrary to what you first would think if you get to hear that Robert Llewellyn has written a novel, you would expect some science fiction story with a humorous touch, this is a normal fiction novel about the change of people.
The man on Platform 5 is a train spotter, hanging out with friends on the train station Milton Keynes, with a video camera, a notebook and an anorak.
The difference between this particular day (when the story starts) to any other, is that the posh half sisters Gresham and Eupheme are sitting next to the station on a train that is delayed, discussing if the sad train spotter they see are possible to change into something else, or if he is born to be a train spotter for the rest of his life.
Soon they have a bet settled, and Ian Ringfold (that is the train spotter's name) will be forced into a change process to become witty, handsome, self-confident and be able to melt in on any celebrity party (without desperately trying to get peoples autographs).
It is a funny book, but a bit on the rough side, yet another re-write would not have been that bad. E.g. one of the main characters have no idea what e-mail is or how it works, yet a week later she gets emails from her boyfriend and other friends at work like she never had done anything else (which makes it more strange that she will continue to receive and send email to the train spotter from a friends computer barely being able to figure out how that e-mail program works), the train spotter is in the beginning of the book pretty much nerdy, but not in the computer-kind-of-nerd, yet at the end of the book he has turned very much to be referred to as a computer-nerd dreaming about Java-applets and algorithms.
Just little details you notice, or maybe I simply was not reading proper enough and therefore found this and other things a bit strange.
Nevertheless, it is funny book to read, and you want to find out how it goes for Ian and if he will be able to transform into something else.
For some reason this book was standing for four years in my bookshelf (pretty close to the Ben Elton novel I just reviewed), and I regret that I haven't digged into it earlier.
In the end of the 30s the family Kavalier senses what is going in Germany and decides that they will take their money and will try to get their son Josef out of the country. The plan fails however, and disappointed Josef do not want to get home to the family that he just hours before said farewell to.
He seeks out his old mentor in magic tricks who manage to get Josef out of the country and over to USA. In USA Josef stays by his cousin, and they immediately find that they have things in common; they both love comics. Together they decide to get into the comic market with their ideas. Not unlike the dot-com business in the 90s, much money was flowing in the booming comic industry in the 30s (at least that is what is claimed in this book), and much action is going on when Kavalier and Clay are trying to fight their way into the business.
This novel is packed with action and tells the interesting tale of Kavalier and Clay, a worth read.
Oh well, cannot remember that much more about it, but it gave me a nice afternoon or two in the sun.
Ah, this is an interesting book, it tells the tale of the families living in the same house, and how their lives are moving in different directions but still affect each other very much.
I liked this story quite much, but to be honest I was a tiny bit disappointed with the ending. The son of the family upstairs is a constant liar and brings much sorrow into both of the families, and you will follow how they desperatly try to get the son back on track.
Siri is the wife of Paul Auster, she even briefly appears in his story City of Glass by Paul Auster (part of the New York trilogy).
Index of all reviews