The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster Reviewed by Steve Rudd
One should never underestimate the power of books.
New York-obsessed Paul Auster is back, and he's clearly writing better than ever in light of this astounding novel of epic and forever-surprising proportions.
Paul was born back in 1947, and since 1974 he's rightfully become a widely acclaimed writer of novels, screenplays and poetry ... amongst other things.
I personally hold Paul's work dear because it was his life-affirming Moon Palace novel that really got me into reading a few years back, in the early months of 2003.
After reading Moon Palace and being amazed by its power to move, I've been obsessed with reading ever since - not only Paul's work, but writing of all types, whether that be fictional or non-fictional.
Paul's narration is never ever dull, as it darts off at fantastic tangents to the main narrative thread of the story in frantic bursts of madness. Stories within stories within the main story are commonplace, ensuring that Auster's work is richly textured and consistently engrossing for all sorts of reasons.
The Brooklyn Follies follows a man named Nathan who bumps into his nephew Tom after not having seen him for some time. Nathan, coincidentally (and all hardcore fans of Auster will readily testify that coincidence is a common topic in his books), has only just moved into Brooklyn, looking for a quiet place to die.
Once Nathan and Tom are reunited they soon become inseparable, and the plot naturally thickens in style as Tom tells Nathan all about his flamboyant boss...
The often shocking plot-twists are mesmerising, and Paul is ever-ready to dispense choice shards of philosophy about life and death. For instance, When you find a man with spirit there's still some hope for the world.
If I'm blatantly honest, Paul Auster is my favourite author full-stop. Ever since first reading Moon Palace a few years ago, I'm still drawn to Paul's fascinating way with words. If you've never read his work before, or if indeed you've never even heard of him, I dare you to take a chance on his writing. The appetite-whetting blurbs to his novels might not fill everybody with awe, but Paul's work should never be judged by its cover.
You've got to engage with his muse thought-for-thought to fully appreciate where he is coming from. He might live in NYC, but he writes from the heart with deadly soul.
Reviews, Theatre - Friday 17th February - The Hull Blokes Present Love - A Night Of Comedy, Drama And Passion at Northern Theatre By Jane Foster
The Hull Blokes are a talented bunch of 13 local, er, blokes! who I have
had the pleasure of seeing twice before in their relatively short life.
So I thought it was high time to do them justice and write a review.
The Blokes have been lucky enough to secure themselves a home in the new
Northern Theatre building, which in my opinion is more welcoming and
Reviews, Books - The Loop by Nicholas Evans Reviewed by Steve Rudd
This is the second breathtaking novel from Nicholas, the first having being
the international best-selling weepy, The Horse Whisperer which shot
the English-based writer to fame.
The Loop has nothing to do with horses whatsoever, and instead focuses
on the trials of a wild pack of wolves that is terrorising a farming community in Montana.
A 29-year old wolf expert called Helen is
Reviews, Books - Rising To Obscurity and How To Remain Anonymous by AAA Aarbon (Bitterne Books) Reviewed By Nick Quantrill
Published by Hull-based Bitterne Books, the first two titles in this humorous series
offer a different take on the modern world that we live in.
Part satire, part social comment, they follow the story of AAA Aarbon, a self-confessed
seeker of anonymity.
AAA Aarbon is described by his editor as being best forgotten for many reasons.Rising To Obscurity charts the absurd
Reviews, Books - Notes From a Small Island By Bill Bryson Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Good old Bill is a natural comedian and never holds back when it comes to being honest. He's one of the world's best-loved and most famous travel writers, and this volume of 'notes' is exclusively concerned with a number of weeks that Bill spent investing in the art of travelling around Britain back in the mid 90's.
His travel writing talents first came to prominence when he released
Reviews, Books - Flashback By Jenny Siler Reviewed by Steve Rudd
The past is a puzzle for everyone, a tattered collection of memory and desire. Even those people we most long to understand remain no more than a sum of those static moments we've chosen to hold them in.
This is a must-read novel for any discerning fan of high-octane,
Steve Hamilton-esque thrillers, as the drama-drenched action flits the
length and breadth of the
Reviews, Books - Book Recommendations by Steve Rudd
Here are some short and sweet book recommendations in place of the usual fully-fledged
reviews, quite simply because I haven't had time to write up these reviews in more detail.
The fact is that there are too many great books, and far too little time to read
them - let alone write about them in gushing retrospect.
Anyway, here's some mention of some of the books I've recently been
Reviews, Films - Films Kong By Michelle Dee
Visually stunning. Terrific pace. Jackson winds up the tension to breaking point
and never lets you go till the final frame.
This is what you would expect from a Christmas Blockbuster, but this reworking of the
original King Kong film, has so much more than the usual thrills and spills.
Naomi Watts is very striking to say the least and the ill-fated love
Reviews, Books - Complicity by Nick Quantrill Reviewed by Steve Rudd
The rain refused to ease as Coleman made his way through Queens Gardens
and on towards King Edward Street. He pulled his collar up and hurried his pace...
This is a staggeringly enthralling showcase for Hull-based writer Nick Quantrill's
unmistakable talent for writing fiction - and crime fiction, to be more precise.
He has written a fair few short stories that revolve around crime
Reviews, Books - Ian Newton - The Night Shift Reviewed By Kevin Maguire
The guy in a sharp business suit glowered as if I was mad for laughing out loud
while waiting for a flight in Washington Dulles International Airport.
No exhibitionist, I rarely laugh out loud. Indeed, I rarely read anything worth
laughing about, let alone out loud. But the story about two on-the-run robbers
holding a group of Hull factory workers hostage after a fish
Reviews, Books - East Of The Mountains By David Guterson Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Alright, so you might not have heard of the author before, but you might
actually be already familiar with some of his 'work,' as his debut novel
was called Snow Falling On Cedars... a staggering bestseller that came
to be made into a Hollywood movie starring Ethan Hawke.
Such a debut made it apparent that Guterson is one hell
of a story teller who goes to great
Reviews, Books - Scott Phillips - The Walkaway Reviewed by Steve Rudd
It is imperative that you keep your wits about when reading this novel more than with almost
any other mighty slab of fiction ever published. If you've never read Phillips' awesome debut
novel The Ice Harvest, then there's actually little point whatsoever you even making a
beeline for The Walkaway, for this mesmerisingly cool epic crime-drama is the incredible
Reviews, Books - Robert Adams - Antman (Bitterne Books) Reviewed By Nick Quantrill
Antman is the latest crime novel from prolific Hull-based author Robert Adams.
It is his interest in ant behaviour that forms the heart of this book, and one
that allows him to craft a dark narrative that absorbs and terrifies in equal measure.
The novel starts with the discovery of a dead pig at a remote location in the Hull area.
Forensic investigation reveals that the animal was reduced
Reviews, Books - The Two-Bear Mambo By Joe R. Lansdale Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Lansdale certainly is one hell of a prolific author, and this is something
like the tenth novel of his that I have had the pleasure of reading.
The vast majority of his novels follow two buddies, Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, as they manage - without fail - to get into all kinds of violent predicaments through being often overly stubborn and too-proud-by-half men.
Reviews, Books - Wobegon Boy by Garrison Keillor Reviewed by Steve Rudd
I have a responsible job and pay my taxes and keep my lawn mowed, but because I dare to be
an individual, people whisper about me behind my back. Why is life like this?
This epic novel is an absolute masterpiece that is drama-driven and hugely poignant, as it
follows a man called John Tollefson as he bumbles through his life over a pronounced period
of time, with the
Reviews, Books - Down By The River Where The Dead Men Go by George P. Pelecanos Reviewed by Steve Rudd
As the novel title must suggest, this is a crime thriller... and one of the highest order.
I first heard of the author in Pelecanos through him heaping praise on
the 'action-thriller' writing of Steve Hamilton.
Like with Hamilton's work, Pelecanos weaves an engrossing story around a
series of hugely believable and genuinely exciting set-pieces.
Interestingly, many authors
Reviews, Books - Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller Reviewed By Steve Rudd
You can get something out of a book, even a bad book.
First published in France in 1934, this extraordinary piece of writing never saw the light of day in the United States and the wider world at large until after 1961, following a mighty legal battle that resulted in the book finally being published elsewhere.
Human beings make a strange fauna and flora...More than anything
Reviews, Books - Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Bret's work, it seems, is either loved or truly loathed.
Almost all of his past novels have been as controversial and as feared by some people as
hell itself, especially as Bret focuses on taboo subjects with intense abandon.
His best known book is the huge-selling American Psycho masterpiece, yet his other
work is most definitely worth reading too - if you like that kind of thing.
Alright, Less Than Zero isn't half
Reviews, Books - The Hunting Wind by Steve Hamilton Reviewed By Steve Rudd
This is the fourth thriller of Steve's that I've devoured with a heady, stance-steady vengeance. He really does reside in the top drawer of American-based thriller writers, living in New York but writing about the state in which he was raised… the often cold and bleak Northern state of Michigan, near to the border with Canada.
The previous three novels that I've read of his
Reviews, Books - Fury by Salman Rushdie Reviewed By Steve Rudd
I must live until I die.
Perhaps best known for his hugely controversial book The Satanic Verses, Indian writer
Salman Rushdie is one of the most famous writers in the world, which is understandable
when his writing is so utterly extraordinary in timbre.
Mysteries drive us all. We only glimpse their veiled faces, but their power pushes
us onward, Read more...
Reviews, Books - The Nineties by John Robb Reviewed By Steve Rudd
If you remember the Nineties... you were there!
This incredible book, written by the singer for punk rock 'n' roll band Goldblade in
truly is a breathtaking overview of an exhilarating decade.
And it isn't just music that is covered, as the always-opinionated Robb proffers his honest
opinions about anything and everything that had a
Reviews, Books - Lost Souls by Michael Collins Reviewed By Steve Rudd
We only live once. I don't think we ever really confront that until it's too late.
Understandably shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Lost Souls is not your average mystery-thriller
novel, with this engrossing 'whodunnit' focusing on a small-town cop trying to get to the bottom
of the mysterious death of a three-year-old girl.
The prime suspect is the local football star,