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E–pub/Kindle [King of the Badgers]

King of the Badgers

Philip Hensher Ð 4 Read & Download

E abduction of a child in broad daylight the subseuent investigation and media frenzy shatters the complacency of locals As the story progresses Hensher digs below the surface exposing the foibles of his characters with a certain malicious glee but also with affection The development is tightly controlled than in the somewhat undisciplined Northern Clemency and the writing is excellent A good story well told I enjoyed it very much To say that King of the Badgers is a strange book is putting it mildly I learned about the book by accident while reading the status of one of my favorite authors She said that Hensher had made a disparaging statement about thrillers I guess it s a matter of taste I like a good crime novel myself but I do like to indulge in good literature also This book was strange but so well written I couldn t put it down Hensher doesn t like all of the CCTV cameras that are all over Britain I confess I wouldn t like them either although I must admit that if you are in a crime ridden area or a large city you might feel safer The book starts out with the idnapping of a little girl However you really don t have a whole lot of empathy for the little girl who is totally unappealing or the slatternly mother or awful stepfather She lives in a working class suburb of a small Devon town that has become very upscale in the last few years It is on the water there are lovely little fishermens cottages now transformed into upscale residences new flats that have obstructed the views of previous inhabitants upscale shopping including a cheese shop run by a gay man named Sam and his partner Harry also nown as Lord What A Waste I don t think Henshaw likes anyone He has eual disdain for the working class the middle class and the upper class it seems We meet the creepy head of the neighborhood watch appropriately named John Calvin In addition there is the Brigadier and Billa an elderly couple Miranda she s a marvel and Kenyon her husband Miranda runs the monthly book club with an iron hand No light reading here when Miranda has anything to do with it She teaches English literature at a second rate college and is thrilled to have one non white student Kenyon is a Dept of the Treasury employee on indefinite loan to an Aids in Africa project He spends most of his time in London and one day of that workweek in the arms of his lover who happens to be the father of Miranda s one non white student Miranda and Kenyon have a teenage daughter who still plays with dolls that have names like Child Pornographer and Slightly Jewish Harry Lord What A Waste and Sam consider themselves husband and husband although they do get together with the Bears a group of bearded and mostly overweight gay men With the help of drugs and alcohol They Have A Private Orgy have a private orgy few months Catherine Alec are a retired couple who moved to the town after visiting Alec s former secretary and her husband who live in a nearby town They buy one of the flats that obstruct other people s views Their son David is visiting He is fat unstylish and gay and is bringing along an Italian gigolo named Mauro passing him off as his boyfriend Catherine invites some of the neighbors to meet her son and his partner The neighbors come out of obligation but find they are having a nice time after all winding its way through the after all Winding its way through the a lot in the beginning then a little at the end is the missing child This is one of those somewhat dry but witty books At the very beginning the author describes a bee hive It looked like a miniature tongue and groove New England lunatic asylum How can you not want to read I really enjoyed this book It s not one of the most amazing stories ever written but Philip Hensher s writting is brilliant absolutely entertaining and fun I will definitely read of his books Picturesue Hinmouth lies on an estuary in the southwest of England and is close to Barnstaple University These are obvious stand ins for Exmouth Exeter and the University of Exeter where Philip Hensher teaches English and he surveys the lay of the social land with an intimate brilliantly detailed eye What happens to the snobs yobs busy bodies have nots and ne er do wells of Hinmouth and its suburban hinterland when a little girl goes missing and her unappealing family s story doesn t add up In setting this going Hensher writes with a darkly comic flourish and a wicked precision about the modern English niceties that makes you think of Jane Austen By page 100 though. 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It seems to me two different things have started to go wrongTechnically what goes wrong is that Hensher introduces too many characters makes their interconnections too vague and episodic and in general connects scenes and themes as if he has heard of Impressionism but not seen it To put it another way every scene without exception is a good draft scene but a good editor would have A World on Fire killed two thirds of the darlings Sure this is not the sort of book in which every sentence should be a cog in the plot But for instance why does the author think we should care about Mauro Here In this bookThe bigger problem is harder to articulate and defend as a cogent criticism but perhaps I can explain to some people what I mean when I say this Iept being reminded of why I so strongly dislike almost everything Martin Amis has ever written regardless of how well written it is It s a uestion of moral atmosphere I suppose The laughter in Austen is light even when mordant and always compassionate The laughter here seems colored by a cheap shallow depressingly clever schoolboyish cynicism You can identify strongly as I do with Hensher s evident anger that England has been turned into a sort of open prison ruled by meekly accepted authorities The current Pry Minister David Cameron is as witless a fool about these aspects of national life as was his predecessor David and Tony may you burn in hell naked and surrounded by security cameras But it is hard to avoid the sense that Hensher thinks these problems plus the crime the death of manners the snobbery and shabbiness and everything else are to be recorded only with bitter laughter since after all we or the characters deserve it It s striking that he seems to exhibit real sympathy for one gay couple one elderly widow and almost no one elseBoth problems contribute to the book s fatal slackness of rhythm its surprising in the end despite all the good bits dreariness After his Sheffield saga THE NORTHERN CLEMENCY Philip Hensher relocates to a small select township on the Bristol Channel with KING OF THE BADGERS where does he get these weird titles from I m sure many readers will take a guess at where Hanmouth is meant to beThe book begins with the disappearance of an 8 year old girl from the council estate on the outskirts The case seems to fizzle out until a surprise discovery much later in the story What Hensher concentrates on is giving a picture of the criss crossing lives of the middle class retirees and shop eepers on the best street in town Some of these are people one would be happy to have as neighbours others are not There are several busybodies including the obnoxious organizer of Neighbourhood Watch Hanmouth is heavily watched by CCTV One couple are living way beyond their meansBlessed are the cheese makers The gay proprietor of the cheese shop and his chum host an Orgy For Their Bear Friends for their Bear friends the author describes in choreographic rather than pornographic detail One of the guests the VISITING SON OF NEIGHBOURS IS A son of neighbours is a fat ueen with a hopeless crush on a hunky Italian who s sponging off him shamelesslyThis is a big sprawling novel that often wanders into James JoyceVirginia Woolf stream of consciousness writing that I would have preferred to see less of It s at its best as a ind of rustic soap opera a literary street scene like a Breugel or Lowry painting brought to life ALL HUMAN LIFE IS THERE DIDN T THAT USE human life is there Didn t that use be the motto of a Sunday newspaper I wonder what happened to it I absolutely loved this book I like everything Hensher has written but I enjoyed this book probably the most He is a snob but his snobbery is a scattergun affair no one is safe the smug the rich the poor the dull and the eccentric all get a sharp seeing to before he marches on to have a go at someone elseThe story is about a town which is on the face of it a perfect English seaside town but literally no one is as they seem I particularly like the way the writer is uite savage with a character initially but then explores their vulnerability slowly and much sympathetically so that by the end you have grown if not exactly to like them to at least care for themThe gay sex scene was a bit of an experience but proof of how good his writing is that I almost felt like I was thereI ve read several sniffy reviews of his book which I find interesting as I feel his sharp observations aren t uite right for the literary world as I think in some part he s mocking them tooA definite great read. 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Rules Fly To Series The world's most badass Dedication ToTheGangbertieand JBand Samand Ritaand Ralfand Juliaand Yusefanf Jimmyand renaudand Richardand Alan Lapin Againand Professor againand Professor Aand Heat Hotand not forgetting Nix Hi Nicolaand Mrs Blaikie with love from Alan againand Lapin againand Professor Aand Dickie Heat Hotand not forgetting Nix Hi Nicolaand Mrs Blaikie with love from Herbert who said it s all uite laconic oncebut especially and always and once for my husbandand really just to say to all of them and probably some others tooWhatFunIt sAllBeen GR does not allow center command so I have to point out that this dedication forms an aeroplane outlineOpeningBOOK ONENOTHING TO HIDEThat bowler hatted major his face is twitchingHe s been in captivity too longHe needs a new war and a tank in the desertThe fat legs of the typists are getting readyFor the boys and the babies At the back of my mindAn ant stands up and defies a steam roller GAVIN EWART Serious Matters Last year at the hot end of spring in the small town of Hanmouth on the Hain estuary a rowing boat floated in the middle of the muddy streamBookmark is Piazza Navona sent through from Hayes thankeeEvery mother s nightmare XX hasn t come back from the shopP 34 greasy steps and iron escalators of the Underground diagonal hung and groaningly floating over great unspecified voids like public transport envisaged in a nightmare by PiranesiP64 Kitty libraries aren t for reading books any Sam said They ve given them all away It s nothing but DVDs and computer terminals nowadaysLiterary references alluded toThomas HardyThe Royal Hunt of the SunNazi Literature in the Americas The Makioka Sisters Kubla KhanHay FeverOedipus TyrannusThe Cherry OrchardParliament of BirdsSylvia PlathVirginia WoolfLove the writing style but not this tale so I would read another Hensher as long as it isn t such a boring storyline Hanmouth Devon is an English village where the town s inhabitants are happily living their daily lives In the interests of civic safety they have agreed to install CCTV As the story unfolds we also see their lives from the inside and all is not what it always appears to be Why is Sylvie making collages out of penises cut from magazines Why is the Brigadier s wife always so chipper What makes the new couple in town think they will fit in Will their son enjoy his visit and who is his new friend Do Miranda and Kenyon now each other let alone their crazy daughter Heidi And why do the people on the neighbouring council estate have to call their suburb Hanmouth when it uite obviously really isn t And pervading the novel throughout is Mr John Calvin s insistence that Neighbourhood Watch eeps authorising cameras A mix of motivations and intentions all slowly build to create a uirky picture of what really is going onThe biggest surprise to me was the in your face gay sex party that is hosted for the Bears by local cheese shop owner Sam and his boy friend Harry or Lord what a waste It does circumspectly take place behind the tightly closed curtains Throughout the novel one character remains distinctly unknown She is young China a girl from the other Hanmouth who disappears and even the CCTV footage doesn t seem able to help This is a slow moving beautifully written novel Enjoy it for its language and what it does and doesn t tell you Its journey may be enjoyable for you than its destinationReviewed by Andrew Rumbles Andrewgayexpressconz There s already a really good review on GR by a reader called David so I m just going to redirect folk to his review rather than trying to write my own because David has expressed pretty much everything I thought about this brilliant book Brilliant being one of the terms the American boy adopted in his attempts to be British I loved this book and I too thought it read like a contemporary 19th Century novel with its big panoramic cast and the small but interesting events unfolding in their small village of Hanmouth I bought and read this last November as a 100 ways to Fight the Flab - and still have wine and chocolate kind of antidote to Julian Barnes s The Sense of an Ending The thin gruel of that effort with its dull forgettable main protagonist left me with an appetite for a real story with characters that would actually engage the reader s interest And yes stretching this tortured metaphor a little farther Hensher s book satisfied my craving it s a hearty beef stew or maybe a bouillabaisse with a large cast of characters satisfyingly complex plotting written with aind of malicious affection The book is set in the fictional seaside town of Hanfield a ind of smug upper middle class enclave The story opens with th. 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