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Old 17th Mar 2008, 7:14   #41
Ang
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

Well, I started it yesterday morning and finished it last night. I think Shane was thrown in to show how different people interpret the same thing. Adair wanted Aphra to read it because he loves it. Sounds like she likes it but interprets it differently, and he's uncomfortable with that. Barker also refers to Schaefer being unconventional with his writing (the ending with no punctuation).

The Blaine thing in the background is interesting. Adair goes to all the trouble to check out Jalisa's theories, and she tells him she was just having him on. Yet, she is later reading (or re-reading?) the Blaine autobiography. There was a somewhat cyclical interpretation there - Adair built on what Jalisa had said, causing Jalisa to look into it more closely - had she really figured it all out, when all she'd meant to be doing was spouting nonsense?

I remember walking past the spectacle with my sons and my sister's family, who were visiting from the USA. We stood on the bridge for a while, and then my brother-in-law said "What an idiot". I suppose, now, I'm glad I had that experience because I can picture what Adair is describing.

I think the book was clever and I enjoyed it (once I managed to ignore the italics - god, that was awful!)... but I can't help thinking that Barker wasn't really writing a story to entertain necessarily, but a vehicle to offload her ideas about Blaine's stunt. Jalisa is Barker.

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Old 21st Mar 2008, 17:42   #42
Beth
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

I'm having such a good time with this one. It's frolicsome and deliciously ironic.
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Old 30th Mar 2008, 3:45   #43
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

After spending time with Toibin's The Master, I think my red five star rating for the Barker was a bit premature and linked to the reading experience more than the craft of the novel. Clear was, for me, quite simply a great coming of age story cleverly wrapped around the hoopla of Blaine's stunt. It reminds me of a manuscript I read a few years back, a feisty, rich tale about a man moving from a state of ironic detachment towards one, not of earnestness, but something akin to authenticity. Some of the similarities were quite pointed, such as the varying devices for getting laid, the extremely referential tone, fantastic dialogue, the narrators' smug sense of fashion decorum, even a bit of the resolution found in both stories. For these reasons, and for the humor I found in Barker's story and the recollection of humor in my friend's, five gold stars are still in order.

Last edited by Beth; 30th Mar 2008 at 4:11. Reason: grammar
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Old 30th Mar 2008, 8:02   #44
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

Interesting. I don't get the link to The Master though.

Did the US version of Clear eliminate all those italics? Or did they just not bother you?
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Old 30th Mar 2008, 10:49   #45
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beth
After spending time with Toibin's The Master...
Ah yes, a book which would make pretty much anything before or after it pale in comparison, in my view.
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Old 30th Mar 2008, 11:18   #46
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

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Ah yes, a book which would make pretty much anything before or after it pale in comparison, in my view.
Excellent news - I had already decided to read that one soon. It's been on the shelf for a long time.
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Old 30th Mar 2008, 20:09   #47
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

I've had it on the shelf for ages too, and I also noticed it again recently. I got it second hand ages ago really cheap - bought it because of all the brilliant reviews.

Will it hinder me that I don't like Henry James very much?
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Old 30th Mar 2008, 21:44   #48
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

Kirsty, it won't matter a bit that you don't enjoy James. Toibin is such a fine storyteller. He may, though, tempt you beyond your ability to resist trying some more of HJ. Ang, in answer to your comment about the italics, they weren't obvious to me at all. Strange how something that bothers one reader fazes another not at all. Psst, could one or both of you post a favorite poem or a comment about Equus or something else about Clear? Seeing stacking posts with my attribution makes me nervous.
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Old 31st Mar 2008, 7:02   #49
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

Quote:
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Psst, could one or both of you post a favorite poem or a comment about Equus or something else about Clear? Seeing stacking posts with my attribution makes me nervous.
I can only think of one poem and it goes something like this: "Quoth the raven, nevermore."

Okay, so about Clear - was the Blaine stunt news over there while it was going on? I can't imagine this book having much of a basis if you hadn't at least seen it on the news. I suppose a person could look it up on the internet, but that seems like hard work to prepare for a book. Was she making an assumption that her readership is British?

A few days after I read the book, I thought it was quite clever and thought that maybe I should up my original 3 star rating. Now I can hardly remember anything about it, other than David Blaine in that box for days on end.
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Old 31st Mar 2008, 13:01   #50
Beth
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Default Re: Book 51: CLEAR by Nicola Barker

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Originally Posted by Ang View Post
I can only think of one poem and it goes something like this: "Quoth the raven, nevermore."
That'll work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ang View Post
Okay, so about Clear - was the Blaine stunt news over there while it was going on? I can't imagine this book having much of a basis if you hadn't at least seen it on the news. I suppose a person could look it up on the internet, but that seems like hard work to prepare for a book. Was she making an assumption that her readership is British?
Yes, there was quite a bit of publicity for Blaine suspended over the Thames. My impression is that Clear is a fairly linear story that's obfuscated by the Blaine 'clear' gig. I think Barker is a brilliant ironist. I laughed frequently and saw Adie's story as something entirely cogent in its own right. I do believe that there are several other themes running through Clear, one of which is the notion of vulnerability, the artist's and that of all his observers.
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