Money to Burn
In 1965 an Argentine gang robbed a bank, killed several people and escaped to Uruguay with a very large sum of money. Money to Burn is the “true-crime” retelling of that robbery and the subsequent bloody police siege.
in this case means the novel is pieced together from witness statements,
police reports and educated guesswork. While the research has clearly
been thorough, this makes it a real chore to wade through. An imagined
conversation between a schizophrenic murderer and a young moll segues
not-so-neatly into the recollections of a psychiatrist who interviewed
said killer before doubling back to the origination of the plan to rob
the bank. The same event is often retold several consecutive times from
different perspectives, which detracts from any sense of suspense. However,
if you can withstand the meandering you are left with a horrifying Tarantino-esque
adventure, but where the plotting and bloodshed are real.
Review date: November 2003
To buy this book, click here Money to Burn
Expelling Demons in the Land of Plenty
“This is a book about demon-expulsion in the land of suburban glitz and high-tech razzmatazz.” Enquire within for maverick priests, the true story behind The Exorcist and projectile vomit.
It’s clear that Michael W Cuneo has done a vast amount of research but his complete lack of writing skill means that the resulting tome is little more than a list of samey case-studies of alleged demonic possession. Usually they feature bizarre sexual antics in soft porn focus, interspersed with profound insights such as: “Father Groeschel was precisely the sort of man you’d want in your corner when the supernatural chips were down.”
If you don’t
already think exorcism is deeply fascinating, then Cuneo ain’t gonna
convince you. And, surprisingly, after witnessing over 50 exorcisms, he
concludes that the often astonishing results are most likely a placebo
effect and demons probably don’t really exist. Which does seem to
render his 350-page rambling discussion somewhat pointless.
Review date: October 2002
“We were attached by the umbilical cord of race and culture at the bottom of the world”. This memoir of “two strong women” who create a publishing company with a “unique way of working” starts badly. It then minutely details Hilary McPhee’s early life when she (gasp!) read a lot.
If you manage to wade through it does get better: determined to allow Australians access to Australian authors, McPhee and Diana Gribble set up an innovative company. Their first member of staff was a childminder and the meticulous effort that went into their books is extraordinary.
material is less than gripping, as the main players in the Australian
literary scene are virtually unknown (a problem she justly complains of).
The whimsical style and long, incoherent sentences put the final nail
in the coffin. McPhee edited their books; sadly, Other People’s
Words needs nothing more than a good editor.
Review date: January 2003
To purchase this book, click Other People's Words
“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity”. Wordsworth, Poet Laureate, 1843-50. In Andrew Motion’s first collection since he took up the post in 1999 he hasn’t exactly taken his predecessor’s words to heart.
There are moving poems here, such as ‘What is given’, about a man who becomes a down-and-out, but the mood is evoked by the subject matter rather than Motion’s dry, unengaging and pedestrian style. For example, ‘The Wall’ begins: “I have forgotten whatever/ It was I wanted to say/ Also the way I wanted/ To say it. Form and Music.”
Some in this collection
are personal and some are official, like ‘The Game’, commissioned
by Childline, or ‘The British Galleries’, by the V&A.
But the collection's title, Public Property sounds almost resentful.
One might almost think he doesn’t want the job. That’s fine
by me. Simon Armitage anyone?
Review date: October 2002
To buy this book anyway click here Public Property
Forget The Rules and time-tested secrets for capturing Mr Right – it’s time for the Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics. If you would rather be single than settle, believe in true love but don’t need it, and value friendship as much as relationships, according to Sasha Cagen, you are a quirkyalone.
Spawned from her website, the book contains suggested events like International Quirkyalone day (just happens to be February 14th), tips for if you feel lonely (watch crap dating shows and feel superior) and case-studies of other quirkyalones. You don’t even have to be single or celibate – you can be a quirkytogether or even a quirkyslut.
While this book is a one-trick pony and heavy on the self-advertisement, it is comforting in a Cosmo world to read about others not searching for and desperately trying to keep Mr Right. If only to reassure yourself that you won’t be alone with your cats in the end.
date: April 2004
To purchase this book, click Quirkyalone
Check out the Quirkyalone website
To buy the hilarious yet disturbing The Rules, click here - hours of entertainment guaranteed
If you can't wait for your copy of the Rules to arrive, check out their website (one of them's divorced now, heh heh)
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