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review 2017-01-02 08:45
I didn't Fall for The Fall Guy....
The Fall Guy: A Novel - James Lasdun

The Fall Guy was just too slow. That is the basic reason that it was not for me. I'm not sure selling it as a "Taut psychological thriller " is doing it any favours because it is not taut nor is it really a thriller. It is more character study and yes some lovely literary writing the author has got going on here but although I love some literary stuff I need to have at least a sense that something might happen soon. Or at least a little tension.

I think it would have worked better from multiple viewpoints. We only get the one and that one is vaguely monotonous at times and seriously if I wanted to read a cookbook I'd get a cookbook. The plot kind of meanders along until quite late then suddenly things pick up but by then I was genuinely past caring. If we had heard from the other characters in the drama - and that is what this is a character drama- it might have added layers beyond lots of beautiful words tagged together to tell a rather long winded (yes it is only a short novel but trust me it feels long winded) story. For me the ending was lazy too.

Look it's not terrible, certainly James Lasdun has excellent writing skill but I was bored. The only reason I finished it was because it was short and I had an occasional eye on "maybe this is going to have a kick ass finale that will make all this worthwhile". Sadly that did not happen. At least not in my opinion.

I think The Fall Guy and I are not compatible. We had a brief interlude in time but the relationship really wasn't going anywhere.

If you like the Donna Tartt school of novels you will likely love this to be fair. I was the wrong audience and I'm probably missing the nuances of what the author was trying to achieve here, hey it happens.

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review 2016-10-11 14:11
Entertaining story
The Fall Guy: A Novel - James Lasdun

Wealthy Charlie and Chloe have invited Charlie’s cousin Matthew, a struggling chef, to stay with them in their luxurious home for the summer. Matthew stays in the guest cottage and dreams of perhaps one day living there as caretaker of the home.  He steps in as chef for the three of them and cooks enticing meals and they spend their days lounging by the pool or playing Scrabble.  But tensions, suspicions and jealousy slowly escalate and the cracks in their relationship begin to appear.


Saying anything more plot wise would go into spoiler territory. As for the writing, there were a few things that weren’t really credible and I kept thinking “Why doesn’t he just…?”  But I had such a good time with this book and the world around me was completely lost the whole time I read. It certainly kept me riveted to the pages enjoying the whole experience.  I was sure it was taking me in one direction when it never did so I was kept in suspense as to what would happen.  The author has created a chilling, sinister, erotic atmosphere that was very entertaining.   He truly knows how to tell a story and I’ll be checking out his other books soon.  Highly recommended.


This book was given to me by the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

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review 2013-11-19 19:17
Give Me Everything You Have
Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked - James Lasdun

It was interesting to read a man's account of having an obsessed woman to cope with in everyday life.  I know that it happens, because I know a woman or two who have slipped towards that kind of behaviour when they felt wronged (and they were mightily offended when I suggested that their actions were stalker-ish).


In my experience, more women suffer stalkers than do men.  If you haven't read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, I would urge you to do so.  Women need the reassurance he offers (its okay to be on high alert under certain circumstances) and men need to realize the challenges that women face on a daily basis.  We may live in the same society, but our realities have significant differences.  As Margaret Atwood once said, "Men are afraid that women will laugh at them.  Women are afraid that men will kill them."  And this scenario is played out hundreds of times per week in North America by obsessed ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends.


There was a point in time a couple of years ago when I wondered what the hell had happened to my quiet life.  Suddenly I was surrounded by creepy guys no matter where I went.  At home, there was Creepy Smoking Guy in the next condo who was wayyyyy too interested in my life, plus Creepy Maintenance Man who can't seem to speak without making an inappropriate remark.  At work, there was Creepy Guy From Another Department who would spend wayyyy too much time standing around staring at me without saying a word.  At my volunteer position, there was Creepy Visitor who found me every week and started bringing me presents for no particular reason.  Thankfully, all of them seemed to lack the ambition or focus necessary to become stalkers--they were just creepers.  My sister, on the other hand, has had to deal with a serious stalker in her 20s and a stalker ex-husband in her 40s.  When you are in one of these situations, its really difficult not to become completely paranoid.  I'm pleased to report that CSG moved and I left my volunteer position and CV behind.  I'm still dealing with the other two, but I've got the creepiness in my world cut down by half.


In contrast, I'm struck by Lasdun's situation:  its his professional reputation that is one the line.  He worries about his physical safety or that of his family only tangentially.  It is his professional image that is being attacked and it is all done covertly on the internet.  Its the uncontrollable aspect that makes it such torture--if someone is showing up at your house, you can move.  If someone is shadowing your workplace, you can attempt to find a new job.  There are actions you can take.  But if you rely on the internet to provide your professional image, what the hell can you do?  There are very few concrete steps you can take, besides complaining to relevant web sites (as Lasdun did, getting Nasreen's reviews removed from Amazon) and explaining his unusual situation to his colleagues and potential employers. 


I've been fortunate--when I reported to my volunteer co-ordinator that I was distinctly uncomfortable, he helped me make appropriate changes to my routine.  And my work supervisor promised to never leave me alone in the presence of the man whose behaviour concerned me.  I still have to check carefully before leaving my condo and sometimes take alternative routes, but I only have to watch for one guy now, not two.


Who would have thought, that a chunky, middle-aged woman would have to worry about crap like this?  I guess the main lesson is that stalking is not about attraction or sex, its about power.  Its about powerless people trying to find some kind of power by controlling the person that they are stalking. 

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review 2013-04-21 00:00
It's Beginning to Hurt - James Lasdun Monday R4x
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review 2011-05-13 00:00
Seven Lies: A Novel
Seven Lies - James Lasdun James Las­dun has writ­ten a intriguing story about the youth in for­mer East Berlin. What their dreams and what their pos­si­bil­i­ties were. How they sur­vived the com­mu­nis­tic soci­ety they lived in.
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