Friday, June 05, 2015

books on the bus

hi there

in-between spells of vibes i have indeed, look you see, been doing a spot of reading on the bus. as i've finished off another two novels, although to call one of them a novel really demeans what little credibility i clutch to, it seemed appropriate if not standard to throw a little bit of a review up here, on the off chance that my comments are for some reason of use.

a quick, spoiler free review of both? sure. Creed was delightful, wicked and cheeky fun, with it hardly being scary at all for a horror novel. Canto For A Gypsy should pretty much be avoided at all costs, unless you are some sort of student and are mandated to read it for purposes of getting some sort of grade or rudimentary certificate. never again, in the case of the latter, shall i select a book on the basis that William Hurt featured in an obscure yet fondly thought of film adaptation of another novel by the same writer.

it is entirely possible that there are *** POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD ***, so do take this as your point of departure if you wish to have no such spoiler for either novel. also, as usual, links to the grocer of the world are here for sheer convenience, and i see not a penny of any link you click or purchase you make.

i probably should "monetise" my blog, you know. that, however, would mean that you brave few who visit this blog would have to endure adverts, and anyway after some 11 years of doing this it really rather strikes me as a little late in the day to do so. 

i am indeed contractually obliged to mention that it was my (considerably) better half that introduced me to the works of James Herbert. i mean, i was aware of him, but i just assumed he would be the typical stuffy, pompous and dull sort of English writer. i was wrong.

it was with much merriment that i found Creed for sale for a mere £2 on the shelf at Tesco a few weeks ago. merrily that is also the price amazon have it at, or at least it is now at the time of going to print.

plot? the Creed of the title is Joe Creed, one of them paparazzi type of photographers. weirdly, he is a despised character, which shows incredible foresight from James Herbert - back in 1990 the paparazzi were the bees knees, with it only being after minor members of the Royal family got killed off an Uno that people started sulking about them.

anyway, the novel commences with Creed wedging himself in some sort of tomb or mausoleum in order to take some unique, extra special pictures of a celebrity funeral. he manages to capture a most extra special picture of a mysterious man performing a particular act on the grave of the celebrity who had, as far as we the reader are aware, died.

as it turns out, some rather mysterious forces are most upset with the picture in question being taken, and would like very much for the film, the negatives and any prints to be given to them. this, in more ways than one, arouses Creed to work out just who and what he saw.....

whilst not overtly scary, the novel is loaded with suspense, humour, sex and the odd bit of violence. it was a wonder to read, and i look forward to obtaining further novels by James Herbert.

for a bit of a break here, if for some reason you wanted to see it, is some sort of twat windsurfing down the River Thames. yes, the one in London.

i don't know much about the picture. looking at the exotic style of windsurfing board, the lack of traffic and the cut of the suit, i would say it's from the late 70s or early 80s. you just know that in that briefcase he has a filofax, an apple, a copy of the Times and some sort of Scandinavian spad publication.

there is some competition for this less than prestigious award, but Canto For A Gypsy must be close to the single biggest literary waste of time i have yet encountered. it can exist in print today, surely, only for bored, dislocated examiners to randomly pull an extract from and set as part of some prose based analysis exam for eager sixth formers, as well as high school and college students.

what's it about? good question. it seems to be a very bad variant on a Da Vinci Code thing some 40 years before that existed. a Gypsy is called in to help authenticate and guard some sort of crown that belongs to Hungary. it ended up in America at the conclusion of World War II and was going on display in a random church in New York before being returned. i think, at the least.

for examiners and students alike this is all really a literature wet dream. i am unsure if this is a hallmark of the other novels of Martin Cruz Smith (and please may they all be better than this), but his style seems very much locked in to speaking only in metaphor, or if you like comparison. very bad examples of either, as they conjure or evoke not a single interesting image for me as the reader.

other flaws? plenty. there are nearly more characters referenced than there are pages. it's virtually impossible to work out which is which due to the skimpy nature, and as a consequence of that you simply do not care who does what or why, you just want it to end. which it does, quickly.

if this was all trying to make some sort of social or political statement - perhaps maybe even a religious one - then what it is, or why, has long since been lost in time. if in America there are people who believe that Hungary is in fact a made up country which does not exist, much if not all of the blame for that can probably be traced back to any encounter with this novel.

so, there we have it. one hugely rewarding and enjoyable novel, one that was a complete and utter waste of space. those poor, poor trees that died to bring Canto For A Gypsy to the world, what a waste. as indeed was the £1 i spent on my copy.

what will i be reading next? not sure. i picked up a stack of  paperbacks at a library sale, i will see what takes my fancy.

nice one, as mentioned, if any of these reviews have helped!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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