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Old 14th Apr 2008, 15:27   #1
Alan
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Default Melvyn Bragg

I've just read a fascinating interview with Melvyn Bragg - http://entertainment.timesonline.co....cle3628323.ece - and wondered if anyone had read any of his books, particularly the ones mentioned (Soldier's Return, Son of War, and Crossing the Lines).
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 15:57   #2
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Default Re: Melvyn Bragg

I know only two things about Bragg's fiction.

1. Our esteemed leader Wavid nominated Bragg's novel Credo as one of the worst books he has ever read, somewhere on this site, some time ago.

2. Dame Edna Everage on Bragg's prolific novel output: "Don't write any more, Melvyn dear. Give us a chance to catch up."
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Old 15th Apr 2008, 18:26   #3
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Default Re: Melvyn Bragg

Yes, I read this interview and I thought it was fascinating. The Saturday Guardian Digested Read was tasteless in view of the autobiographical content of his first wife's suicide. I am on the hustle for a copy although, not having read Bragg, I am a little trepidatious !

As for the other pleasures of Bragg, I was watching (on Sunday evening) a rerun of his programme on Thomas Hardy with Claire Tomalin. One has to doff the hat to Bragg time and time again. Yet, as is oft the British sickness, all we want to do is rubbish his alter personae and shove the poor bugger back in his Arts TV pigeonhole. We really do hate our smartarses, don't we ...
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Old 15th Apr 2008, 21:37   #4
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Default Re: Melvyn Bragg

I have only ever read one book by Melvin Bragg. I can't remember what it was called but it was made into a TV series as well.

I can't remember specifically what I disliked about the book but I do know I wouldn't go out of my way to read another.
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Old 15th Apr 2008, 22:35   #5
HP
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Default Re: Melvyn Bragg

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quink View Post
Yes, I read this interview and I thought it was fascinating.
I read that too, Quink. Refreshing to read an apparently unbiased piece, one that wasn't jumping on the usual sneer wagon. He came over as a genuine soul, and a worthwhile one.

Quote:
As for the other pleasures of Bragg, I was watching (on Sunday evening) a rerun of his programme on Thomas Hardy with Claire Tomalin. One has to doff the hat to Bragg time and time again. Yet, as is oft the British sickness, all we want to do is rubbish his alter personae and shove the poor bugger back in his Arts TV pigeonhole. We really do hate our smartarses, don't we ...
Yes. And this is something that gets my goat verily. It's dumb and infantile and shows a distinct lack of integrity. The man is trying to do his best and has done a huge amount to help the arts. Yet up pop those bleating bloody sheep who smugly parrot (gosh this is a veritable zoo of metaphors ) the same tired old put downs, without having the intelligence to look at the man's worth and work and judge for themselves.

However, I say all this based on his TV and interviews. Every time I go to the library, I nearly always seem to see his Credo sitting snugly on the shelves, and yet I've never yet so much as picked it up. The Soldier's Return sounds a must read too. Oh gawd, back to bloody Amazon again ...
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Old 17th Apr 2008, 10:22   #6
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Default Re: Melvyn Bragg

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Originally Posted by Hekaterine View Post
I have only ever read one book by Melvin Bragg. I can't remember what it was called but it was made into a TV series as well.
That was the one that won him that coveted bad sex award wasn't it? I recall the series had "everyone" up in arms about all the bonking.
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Old 20th Apr 2008, 12:31   #7
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Default Re: Melvyn Bragg

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1. Our esteemed leader Wavid nominated Bragg's novel Credo as one of the worst books he has ever read, somewhere on this site, some time ago.
I agree whole-heartedly with him. As much as I admire the man's shows on Radio 4, his book Credo was absolutely crap. Couldn't read it, had to put it down. Such as shame, since I was given a hardback edition.

But reading about a woman making love in a near coma and not remembering it, it just became too much. Sorry Melvin, but that's definitley a man's dream and nowhere near anything that could happen in a fever.

Credo has something of the adventure book about it, all tough men and crafty women, the past as you'd imagine it from a story book. No way, absolutely no way do I believe the past was as fancy as he makes it out.

It's a bit of a book for no-brainers who like historical themes. Oops, did I really say that?
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Old 16th Sep 2009, 23:26   #8
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Default Re: Melvyn Bragg

Interesting. The only Melvyn Bragg novels I've read are his Joe Richardson quartet (The Soldier's Return, A Son of War, Crossing the Lines, Remember Me) and they're among my favourite books. Wonderful evocations of time and place, they're almost social documentary in the way they capture an aspect of England just as it was changing and is now all but gone. Of course they're all semi-autobiographical and Remember Me in particular treads a fine line between fiction and autobiography, being not very loosely based on Bragg's life during the 60s and the suicide of his first wife. It makes for somewhat voyeuristic and at times painful reading (he plainly still feels a lot of guilt and writing the book was apparently not the cathartic exercise he had perhaps thought it would be), but for me was far and away the best book of 2008. I was baffled that it didn't even make any of the prize longlists, but maybe I just have odd tastes. Anyway, I'm always recommending those four books to people. I keep meaning to try his earlier Tallentire Trilogy but maybe I'll give Credo a miss! Actually I do remember when that one came out thinking it had to be trash based on the heavily gold-foiled cover and the fact he is "that bloke off the telly".

It's years since I read the earlier ones so I don't remember them in enough detail to review them properly but generally this is how I'd rate them:
The Soldier's Return
A Son of War
Crossing the Lines
Remember Me
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Old 17th Sep 2009, 8:53   #9
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Default Re: Melvyn Bragg

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
maybe I just have odd tastes
*cough*theflyingdoctors*cough*
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Old 17th Sep 2009, 10:39   #10
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*cough*theflyingdoctors*cough*
LOL, as they say.

The Flying Doctors DVDs sit very nicely between Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman and Gilmore Girls on my shelves, I'll have you know
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