well, this is somewhat awkward. in my last book review post i suggested that it would be October, Perhaps November, that i would next have read enough books (two) to make comments on more. and yet here we are, look you see, still firmly in September and with two books to review.
if i am required to have a defence, then it is in my defence that i "forgot" about the Morrissey novel coming, and it was if nothing else quite a short, quick read. beyond that, as lengthy as the other book i have read was, i flew through it, for it was that good.
a look at the two books i read and shall now have a stab at reviewing? surely. except i see the battle between Apple and Blogger over picture rotation lingers on, so here they are sideways.
quick, spoiler free review? The Gilded Seal was an awesome, excellent adventure and it is baffling that it hasn't been turned into a film yet. unless it has, and i didn't notice. List Of The Lost is, alas, just about as bad as the most vicious reviews of it, and that's me a Morrissey fan and defender saying that.
as ever, links to the worldwide retailer who is now also a grocer, apparently, appear for convenience. they are not from an affiliation and i most certainly do not endorse them, not with them "losing" yet another order i placed, but anyway.
it's likely that they shall feature mostly in the Morrissey review, for i would like to preserve as much of the surprise of the other for you, but anyway, be warned - from here on out a *** POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD *** warning is in place for you. you've been warned, then, look you see.
The Gilded Seal by James Twining for £1 off of Pound Land. actually, i nearly got it free, as the lady there assumed i had brought it in with me, but honesty forbade me taking advantage. it is, dear reader, amongst the top ten £1 purchase i have ever made.
the only bad or poor thing of this novel is the title - it sort of makes tenuous sense towards the end, but it could have had a much better name.
plot? it's a sequel to a book i have never heard of, and that made no difference to reading. in New York a slightly disgraced FBI agent, who happens to be a black lady of the female kind, is called in to investigate the case of two identical paintings being made available for auction. she is called in as it has to be done on the quiet, and she is considered disposable if the investigation goes wrong. meanwhile, over in London, a renowned art thief turned professional stolen art tracker finds himself in the midst of the brutal murder of a forger, the theft of a Da Vinci painting from somewhere in Scotland and a baffling, stealing yet nothing looks like it is stolen incident in London. lots happen that i do not want to spoil, but these two - who knew each other from events in the first novel - find that their cases overlap somewhat when all evidence and clues lead to Paris. and those clues suggest someone is to try the impossible - to steal the Mona Lisa.
wow. it's written in an enjoyable, easy going way and it's immense fun. the Mona Lisa heist attempt is inspired and ingenious, the story twists and turns in a plausible way, and there is a knock out, killer blow at the end of the novel which is simply sheer genius.
why hasn't this been filmed? Hollywood is apparently "crying out" for decent material for actresses of the female lady kind. the female lead in this is black, is the tacit victim of sexism and rises to be an action hero in a natural, sensible way. dig out the sets they created for The Da Vinci Code and film this.
an interesting question from the book is why exactly is the Mona Lisa in France, rather than Italy, which would be more appropriate? perhaps the French hold on to it so they may say "we are superior", or if you like "nous sommes supérieurs" to the Italians. yeah, quite. you have to remember that every time that nutcase mentalist in North Korea declares war on America or South Korea, Italy immediately fax their surrender through to the relevant ambassador at the UN. go, France, be better.
if my advice or comment is worth much of anything, which i doubt, then i would really strongly suggest giving this novel a try. i loved it, and will be looking for more books by the same author.
List Of The Lost, declaring it awful and suggesting all involved with it should be hung like a DJ, were wrong. well, they're not wrong. it is awful. when it's not striving to be inaccessible it's mostly incoherent.
plot? there is not one, really, just several suggestions and ideas that might have been picked up on and used as a plot at some stage. ostensibly, it's about a team of four relay runners at a college or similar somewhere in America (i think Ohio was mentioned in passing), getting ready for a provincial or state competition. then all sorts of things happen.
i refuse to believe that anyone at Penguin actually read this before pressing the big massive "print" button on the desk. i can only assume that the sales of Morrissey's autobiography were that big and impressive that when he said "well actually i have done a novel i a thinking of publishing" they just said yes and shoved his pockets full of as many coins of money as they could get until he said he was "satisfied" with their understanding and appreciation of him as an artist and a writer.
to this end, the novel contains no formal chapters, no standardised font or outlay and certainly no understanding at all of what does and does not constitute as a suitable single paragraph.
i'm not sure it's the case that he allowed himself to get distracted as it is the case he deliberately distracted himself. the collective protagonists, lest we forget, are American teenagers in the 70s. yet we are expected to believe that they will pause from their running or (yes, very badly written) sex and ponder - for two or three pages - matters such as the British class system, the (it says in the book) unfairness of Churchill being celebrated for his part in winning World War II and speculating - with eerie precision - how Thatcher would go on to be a bad Prime Minister, predicting things like the miner's strike and poll tax. why, Morrissey, did you not just write "collective essays" on your thoughts? what's to be gained from applying out of character thinking to these people?
any remote value to the novel? almost. frequently the sentences feature eloquent, elegant lyrical qualities. more than once i put the book down and said, both to myself and out loud "f***, Morrissey, why is that not in a song instead?". his one comment clearly aimed at the modern world of how there's a crusade on to promote gay rights, yet we live in a world where one man cannot compliment another on his looks without something being inferred or assumed, is genius. and, referring to the above, the conversation about Thatcher looking set to be "the first female Prime Minister" countered with the comment "actually, she will be the last female Prime Minister" is inspired. all wasted in this, sorry, tripe.
List Of The Lost is a waste of the talent Morrissey clearly has - whether you hate him or love him - and it is an insult to the fans that have always stayed true to you. Morrissey fans, such as i, will have rushed to buy this, not caring one jot of a sod for what anybody had to say. if any of them enjoyed it, appreciated it or loved it, i'd be delighted to see what they had to say to see what i missed.
well, there you have it. two bonus book reviews; one a revelation one a major disappointment. i, as ever, hope that these comments and notes were of some use to someone somewhere out in the world.
next i shall probably be reading that one i got at the same time as the Morrissey novel, After The Crash or something, and then perhaps one of the James Herbert novels i have obtained.
in the mean time, methinks i have given the people what do the phone and the internet and that all the wrong dates, so it is unlikely i will be online tomorrow, and after that there's a lot of packing and moving to be done. i will try my dandy best, dear reader, to do an update as soon as i possibly can, but i doubt it will be before the first few days of October have passed. for now, then, thanks for reading.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!