Cheeseburger Gothic

Howabout bookclub tomorrow night?

Posted August 2, 2013 into Book Club by John Birmingham

Because apparently I'll be a school concert.

And loving it, of course. Totally loving it.

19 Responses to ‘Howabout bookclub tomorrow night?’

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted August 2, 2013

"Shocked, Shocked I am..."

Better for me, I am off to see Pacific Rim with the Weapon at IMAX tonight.

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she_jedi mutters...

Posted August 2, 2013

Way better for me. Friday nights are fraught with work and I'm already 2 hours behind you :)

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Surtac reckons...

Posted August 2, 2013

That might work for me. Guess I better finish my review essay then ..

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pitpat puts forth...

Posted August 2, 2013

Yep , loving it.

My youngest has scored the lead role in this years extravaganza.

He is an Oompa Loompa.

I could be wrong but I think this years work will examine the exitenstial angst of the dominant underclass as typified by the Oompa Loompas struggle against the arrogant meglomania as Willie Wonka refuses yet again to even entertain the rights of the enslaved Oompa Loompa majority. With a best of the '90s sound track.

Dick ducks in to say...

Posted August 2, 2013

Taht sounds absolutely awesome. And so deep for a school play.

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Bunyip asserts...

Posted August 2, 2013

Female minion proudly announced that she had audtioned for role of Robin in "Robin Hood" in school play. Will be very amused if she gets it.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted August 2, 2013

Mmm. Friday's seem to be a big ask for plenty of peeps besides me. I'm thinking we might make a permanent shift to Saturday evenings.

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AgingGamer would have you know...

Posted August 2, 2013

I might actually be able to participate for the first time now, instead of just feeling exhausted and sitting in front of the idiot box to numb my pain that has become my Friday night ritual.

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted August 2, 2013

Saturday +1

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Rob asserts...

Posted August 2, 2013

http://youtu.be/e8HfTMwQo_w will your kids be this cool JB?

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Spanner is gonna tell you...

Posted August 2, 2013

I just turfed Number 2 Son off the PC becasue CHEESEBURGER GOTHIC BOOKCLUB.

Now I'm all liquored up and ready to be sweary and...nothing.

Meh. Me and my booze are going to play Empire Total War for 12 hours.

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AuntyLou puts forth...

Posted August 2, 2013

Ummmmm.....wasn't bookclub to be the 9th Aug? Did I miss the memo? Wouldn't be the first time! I probably won't be contributing much anyway...seems I am allergic to audiobooks ( well not really but...boy uncomfortable!).

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted August 3, 2013

You know what, Aunty Lou, I think you're right.

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robW mumbles...

Posted August 5, 2013

Re: current New Yorker blog on negative book reviews on Amazon.com. My favorite: "If this book had been written differently I probably would have liked it. . ."

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GhostSwirv ducks in to say...

Posted August 5, 2013

Ahhh, ummmm I'm onto my 3rd red since home from work - up to Chapter 3 in Part 2 of WWZ - have I missed any intelligent comment?

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Suze ducks in to say...

Posted August 9, 2013

So, it's still on tonight?

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted August 9, 2013

Prolly Saturday, Suze. Friday not as many people can attend.

Suze swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 9, 2013

Ah. I'll likely be a no-show or late-comer, then. Planning to be at Waxing Lyrical at Brisbane Powerhouse. I'd suggest peeps check it out if you're into folk-blues (Hailey Calvert has an incredible voice) - except, you'll be here. Talking about zombies ...

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World War Z (audio), next Bookclub

Posted July 9, 2013 into Book Club by John Birmingham

OK, we'll do it. We rob the Quikimart... Wait. No. We'll do the audio book of WWZ for the next Bookclub meeting. Aug 9.

Of course, this doesn't preclude people from just reading the damn thing, but I'd like to specifically discuss the audio version as a stand alone form.

Remember to get the COMPLETE edition, not the sucky abridged copy. If you want to game Amazon you could sign up for trial account and then cancel it. The book would be free, as best I can tell.

Here's a little taster for you.

17 Responses to ‘World War Z (audio), next Bookclub’

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted July 9, 2013

Excellent, looking forward to it.

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Moko would have you know...

Posted July 9, 2013

The audio is worth it. It's great.

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HAVOCK21 mumbles...

Posted July 9, 2013

IT FKN BETTER BE, Or I'll DEPORT YA FKN CARCASSSS! OK!!!, Great POhotographer or fkn NOT!!!

Moko mumbles...

Posted July 10, 2013

lol

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Aaron asserts...

Posted July 9, 2013

What better way to emerge from years of lurking than for the book I discovered from the burger itself. The audio version is a must. Great voice acting from all round and really adds to the documentary theme.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted July 10, 2013

Welcome topside, Aaron.

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted July 9, 2013

Just signed up for Ausible and downloaded the 14 hours unabridged World War z. Am going to listen along with reading the book while watching the film

JG puts forth...

Posted July 10, 2013

Ambitious! I also got it from Amazon's Audible.com. Haven't listened to an audio book before. Good timing ad I have to take it easy. Recovering from ITBS running injury. Loved the World War Z movie, although I thought it was too long.

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grimjinx mumbles...

Posted July 10, 2013

Reviews say that it's still abridged, with Kwang Jingshu's arrival in New Dachang skipping to his encounter with patient zero. I'm going to listen anyway, but it's been a couple of years since I read the book, can anyone confirm any other parts that are missing.

The addition of Simon Pegg, Scorcese, Nathan Fillion, Rene Auberjenois & Alfred Molina will surely make up for any problems

Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 10, 2013

The question will be is it A Bridged to far?

grimjinx has opinions thus...

Posted July 10, 2013

ahaha. ha ha.

Indeed

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted July 10, 2013

Nah, I've listened to that section. It's all there.

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted July 14, 2013

Fkn Amazon/Audible won't let me have it on my real Amazon account due to 'territorial restrictions'.

Anybody point me to a method to fudge my location?

In the meantime I'll try again via a US-based email account.

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Suze mumbles...

Posted July 15, 2013

I just got the same message. Fuckers.

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 15, 2013
That's odd, cos I have Audible hooked up to my local account, not my US one.

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Surtac asserts...

Posted July 15, 2013
S'ok.

I set up a new Amazon.co.uk account under a different email address and was able to get it through there (my normal RL acct is a US one).

The only further complication was that it wouldn't auto-import into iTunes, but that was relatively easy to get around.

Now I just need to remember to cancel the UK Audible membership ... I don't need two that I'm not using properly.

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Suze reckons...

Posted July 16, 2013

Got mine sorted too. I originally registered as a completely new user, but when I logged in using existing Amazon account it was all good.

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Respond to 'World War Z (audio), next Bookclub'

Bookclub idea & Charlie Stross title out

Posted July 5, 2013 into Book Club by John Birmingham

Before I set this homework I want to run it past the class. Moko and I have exchanged a few tweets about the audiobook of World War Z. It's acknowledged as one of the great examples of this form.

There is a way I can get everyone a free copy. Well, everyone who doesn't have an Audiblle account. It'd involve subscribing to the service using using a Macbreak Weekly offer code to get your first book free. The trick? You can then cancel the subscription but keep the book.

(I'd keep the subscription, but that's just me)

Thoughts?

Also, Just a note that Stross, C. has a new book out, a space opera not involving FTL.

12 Responses to ‘Bookclub idea & Charlie Stross title out’

Barnesm asserts...

Posted July 5, 2013

I like the idea of testing an audiobook for bookclub. Might see more Cheeseburgers finishing said tome in time for the discussion. Also happy to try with World War Z as I am keen to compare having read the novel. (Should we see the movie as well so we can cover all three media in the discussion?)

Always happy to read Mr Stross work, he has a pass from me for everything he writes from now on for the sheer enjoyment his Laundry files gave me, even if iit did result in me occassionaly being startled awake shouting CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN sometimes.

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pitpat ducks in to say...

Posted July 5, 2013

I'm keen to try out audio books and from what I've heard on CBG about WWZed it sounds good, and would be my first foray into Zombie genre. We've been listening to 'How to train your dragon' in the car for what seems like an eternity but as it is narrated by David Tennant it is still enjoyable.

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Surtac would have you know...

Posted July 5, 2013

Sounds like a good idea to me. I'd be curious to hear what our different 'reading' experiences turn out to be.

I won't need the freebie. I have too many unused Audible credits already.

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Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 5, 2013

World War Z as an audiobook got revised to unabridged for the release of the movie. So Audible has 2 versions - the 12 hour Complete edition and the original Abridge 6 hour addition. The longer version builds on the shorter version and has the same content as well as additional actors and content.

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Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted July 5, 2013

You can also get the "companion to the abridged version" which includes all the extra stuff if you have the original 6 hour audiobook

http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_3?asin=B00CDXKHEQ&qid=1372989002&sr=1-3

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Spanner puts forth...

Posted July 5, 2013

Being time poor and video game rich means I don't do much actual reading anymore.

I do listen to everything on audible. Unabridged is the only way to go.

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Trowzers puts forth...

Posted July 5, 2013

Even though I already have the book, I'd probably listen to the audio book again.

I love audiobooks - I wish I could afford an Audible subscription atm, but it (and more books) will have to wait.

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AuntyLou asserts...

Posted July 5, 2013

I have never listened to an audio book. But I guess I will give anything a go once ( as the actress said to the bishop...boom boom). And I do love zombies - in fact the very first R rated movie I saw was Zombie Flesh Eaters. So count me in .

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she_jedi asserts...

Posted July 5, 2013

Count me in; after everything I've heard about the audio version on the Burger I'm eager to compare it to the original book. And yay for a new Stross; loving his re-vamp of the Traders War, can't wait to get into the rest of his oeuvre :)

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andyf has opinions thus...

Posted July 6, 2013

mr stross' laundry? oh yesh........

brilliant. stop making bloody batman films and do that.

also,, perf......... hpmor.com

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Suze would have you know...

Posted July 7, 2013

Hmm ... I've never tried an audio book and haven't read anything with zombies, either (unless you count Stephen King's Pet Semetary in high school. I must say, 12 hours of listening does seem frightfully efficient. It will make the zombies go faster. And as Barnesm suggests, there might have more of a chance of finishing in time to discuss. Easier to have more books on the go as well, I'm guessing.

So, sure. What the heck. I'm in!

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Respond to 'Bookclub idea & Charlie Stross title out'

Bookclub tomorrow night. Chasm City

Posted June 27, 2013 into Book Club by John Birmingham

This will be a challenge, because we're also recording the pocast tomorrow evening; Friday being the first night we all had off in common.

I'll publish the review essay, or both of them since Murph and I are each having a crack, at 7.30.

But it might be half an hour or so before I respond to anything due to recording.

8 Responses to ‘Bookclub tomorrow night. Chasm City’

kepler 22b would have you know...

Posted June 27, 2013

JB - the reason you're getting very little action on your most recent Blunt Instr posts is that:

1. my hyperlink to Blunt Instrument takes me to the 'Shameful Week to be a bloke' rant and is not updating with your more recent articles

2. when I try to enter one (eg Life in the surveillance state) via the BT site I can read your opinion piece but it won't recognise my fairfax log in and comes up with a Login Error message when I try to rant back.

One day, when I'm not so busy writing turgid military 'prose' I will try to contribute to this site.

regards

GK

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted June 27, 2013

Excellent. and he is right about the Blunty. If you click on the link 'view more entries from Blunt Instrument' it takes you to here.

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MickH mumbles...

Posted June 28, 2013

Damn this is a big book!

I just checked, I'm at the 80% mark so I won't be participating due to spoilers as I'm near the climax. I might write a bit on what I have read so far and post it. But the size of the book took me by surprise. That is one problem I have found with electronic books, you have no Idea of the quantity.

I'm enjoying it so far, in fact the more I read the more it gets me in. Its like layers of an onion.

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted June 28, 2013

Consider my problem, it meant I had to go off and read the rest of his Inhibitor's trilogy Revelation Space, Redemption Ark, and Absolution Gap. And the subsequent prequel The Prefect. Thats an additional 2213 pages dude which I only just finished yesterday morning.

Blarkon puts forth...

Posted June 28, 2013

So what you are saying is that you haven't read Galactic North and Diamond Dogs / Turquoise Days yet (there's also one story published in Deep Navigation that doesn't turn up in those other two)

damian would have you know...

Posted June 28, 2013

Is there a good order for that lot? I seem to have picked up a few of Iain Banks' non-Culture books that I hadn't read before since he died, and I'm about 2/3 through Feersum Endjinn at the moment.

I liked Chasm City, but it reads like an early novel, I'm keen to see what his later stuff is like, especially in longer arcs.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted June 28, 2013

Layers of Memory, Mick.

Layers of Memory.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

MickH mutters...

Posted June 28, 2013

yeah,

I don't know who he really is yet

but I have my suspisions

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Respond to 'Bookclub tomorrow night. Chasm City'

Next Bookclub. 28 June.

Posted May 27, 2013 into Book Club by John Birmingham

Chasm City, by Mr Al Reynolds.

Because I'll never be allowed to rest until I do this damn thing.

24 Responses to ‘Next Bookclub. 28 June.’

Murphy mumbles...

Posted May 27, 2013

Bitch, bitch, bitch.

You know, it is a first class book. And Al did recommend that I read some book by this Aussie guy . . . something about aircraft carriers and wormholes or something.

;)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted May 27, 2013

Glad you like it, Murph. I'm thinking of getting to you to reprise your published review for our intro essay.

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted May 27, 2013

Is that in addition to your review essay JB or instead of?

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted May 27, 2013

Instead of. I'm thinking of doing what the rest of you do and just leaning back in my underpants, scratching my nuts.

w from brisbane would have you know...

Posted May 27, 2013

Underpants?

Murphy reckons...

Posted May 27, 2013

I'm rather surprised, John.

The protag of this novel is a sleeper agent (in more than one sense), soldier type with a bit of an identity crisis going on. He is a man out of time, literally and figuratively, cast in a semi-post-apocalyptic universe.

As science fiction novels go, this one has a lot of the stuff you either write about or like in your own reading.

In any case, if needs must, we can go with my review. Hell, it is the tenth year anniversary of it anyway.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted May 27, 2013

You misunderestimate me, Muprh. I'm sure I'll love it. But I'm thinking it's a good chance to republish your review in a fashion you perhaps weren't able to the first time around.

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 27, 2013

Barnes, he's flattering me into helping him out, isn't he?

Well, it is working. ;)

I'm just so easy sometimes.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Blarkon reckons...

Posted May 27, 2013

's like the patrician vetinari of delegating work he doesn't want to do ;-)

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Surtac mumbles...

Posted May 27, 2013

You mean I have to wait until June 28? Faaaarrrrk!

I'm already at 92% through a re-read.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 27, 2013

Then write your essay out now, slacker.

Surtac asserts...

Posted May 28, 2013

I can see I'll end up doing what I did for Player of Games, ie. draft the essay and then spend 3 weeks constantly re-reading the book and revising the essay.

Fwiw, I've already got my central theme chosen ...

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JG reckons...

Posted May 27, 2013

Long, fat book. I'd better get started on it.

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Kiz would have you know...

Posted May 27, 2013

Great book, very well crafted, the detail he puts into creating the societies is impressive.

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BigWillieStyle asserts...

Posted May 27, 2013

Do you ever have books by Max Walker in your Bookclub? He used to be Australia's best-selling author, don'tcha know.

Or perhaps something by the late RG Barrett. I could talk with others for hours about Les and his roots.

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BigWillieStyle would have you know...

Posted May 27, 2013

"He made about as much noise as a mouse pissing on cotton wool."

Farkin' POETRY right there from RGB. Better than anything Dickens ever came up with.

Barnesm reckons...

Posted May 27, 2013

Oh I don't know, on reading Dicken's 'Old Curiosity Shop'' didn't Oscar Wilde claim "One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing". That's surely worth some recognition.

BigWillieStyle mumbles...

Posted May 27, 2013

"She then proceeded to give Norton a blowjob that nearly sent him cross-eyed" - from "Day of the Gecko" by Sir Robert G. Barrett

I send a hollow laugh in Mr. Wilde's direction.

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MickH reckons...

Posted May 27, 2013

hmm, the day before i head off on the ocean waves for a well deserved holiday.

Guess I can do it. I'm reading Game of thrones right now and you know what? Its pretty good! but I've already found a big plot hole (15 years to attempt a coup?!!) but I like how it's building, the king has just returned with a couple of tusks in his belly.

Guru Bob asserts...

Posted June 2, 2013

MH - You are so totally fucked - I started on the first one and now have ploughed through the whole lot and got the old fantasy bug again...

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damian has opinions thus...

Posted May 27, 2013

Bugger. I guess I'll have to re-read it in June. I guess I might have to read a bit more Reynolds too, to get the appeal.

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Dino not to be confused with would have you know...

Posted May 28, 2013

Boss Lady downloaded it on her Kindle for me to read.

$13.75 AUS.

I have read some synopses.

He has the closest reality 'Venn' to mine so far.

Look forward to participating in The Book Club with some Cred!

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Guru Bob has opinions thus...

Posted June 2, 2013

Didn't get the last book read in time for the club - hopefully can read this on the flight home from Paris...

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Jayanthi's Atomic Cat ducks in to say...

Posted June 9, 2013



YES! I love Reynolds. Thanks JB!

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Gone Girl. Bookclub. 17 May

Posted May 17, 2013 into Book Club by John Birmingham

I’ve never been a big fan of crime and mystery novels, even though one of the few authors I buy without thought whenever he releases a new title is Peter Corris. His Cliff Hardy novels have long been an impulse purchase of mine.

But then Peter is a pulp writer. A great pulp writer, and Cliff Hardy his private eye, is one of the great characters of Australian letters.

What Cliff Hardy ain’t, however, is literature. In spite of all the literary biographies he reads.

Gone Girl is literature, of that strange, unusually American type. Popular, easy to read literature that nonetheless challenges the audience to bear with it though hard times. And hard times are the leitmotif of this novel – the undoing of Nick and Amy Dunne.

The financial collapse is the background vision of Gone Girl. The collapse of 2008, and in a wider sense the collapse of an even longer dream, the idea of the American middle class. There are few more middle class occupations than those Nick and Amy. Magazine writer and trust fund grrrl who dabbles as a designer/author of magazine quizzes. A pity about the collapse of the old media business model. (A collapse which affected Flynn personally when she lost her own magazine job in real life).

That collapse not only forces Nick and Amy back to Missouri, but holds them there, surrounding them, in the form of the all but abandoned housing development in which they fetch up. A development itself becoming increasingly abandoned with time. First by a neighbour who disappears with her three kids after losing her mortgage battle. "The living room windows still has a child's picture of a butterfly taped to it, the bright magic marker sun faded to brown." And then of course when Amy disappears too. We get such a short time to spend with Nick, before suspicion falls on him that I got to wondering very quickly whether or not Nick and Amy were doomed to fail as a couple, or whether Flynn was writing about them to describe the toll that recession and fear and the brutality of market economics can have on romance.

Amy's parents are almost caricatured as the perfect couple early on, and yet they are idyllic existence is turned upside down by poor financial choices. How much of the tension between Nick and Amy was really down to money? They seemed perfectly content while they both had secure jobs and she had money in the bank, or the trust fund. The first signs of discord appear in the wake of the layoffs at Nick’s magazine, and yet when he looks back from the vantage point of two or three years later we can see there already problems on the first anniversary.

We learn, of course, that there are other problems in this marriage, but still the wreckage of the Great Recession is the background scenery of it all . When Nick reaches Hannibal, for instance, searching for the wedding anniversary clue, we see “the glorious gilded age courthouse that now held only a chicken wing place in its basement” and head “past a series of shuttered businesses – ruined Community Banks and defunct movie houses” all while Nick muses on the end of eras. It’s hard not to think Flynn is using the framework of a murder mystery to frame a discussion of the end of American exceptionalism.

As a murder mystery – it seems so obvious Amy has met her end – does Gone Girl work? Oh hell yes. It is replete with red herrings and false leads and blind alleys, and if you are willing to believe, really believe in Nick, there’s any number of alternate explanations for Amy’s absence. Even if he is his own worst advocate.

It should be remembered there are two narrators here, one of whom is missing and one of whom seems… entirely unreliable. (As an aside, I'd be interested to hear from anybody who's listened to the audiobook. Did they use a male and a female narrator? Because they should have). You never get the sense reading Amy's diary that she is lying to you. She seems so self-critical, so unsure of herself. Nick on the other hand holds back information, misdirects, openly lies, but whether to himself or to us remains unsettled for much of the book. When his story, the story he's been telling us and possibly himself, begins to fall apart, it falls apart hard, and the pieces fly everywhere. It's almost impossible to read at times, you're cringing so hard.

So why does he lie? Is he covering up, or is it, as his sister says, that he can't stand not being liked, can't stand not being the most popular guy in the room? So he tells people what he thinks they want to hear, and it gets him in trouble.

Or is he just an asshole? We know that from early on, he keeps nudging up against the trouble they've been having, but it's when he's telling his eleventh lie to the police that we see how bad things really are. Interesting use of the word, literally, there. It's inappropriate, and yet Gillian Flynn rarely chooses an inappropriate word.

Yet having delivered us of that diagnosis of a failing marriage, we then dive back into Amy's diary to see just how well they did work together. She is not a woman who needs a dancing monkey, as she puts it, unlike pretty much every other woman in the world. That was a hard passage of writing to read because it read like one of those unavoidable truths we'd all like to avoid. Especially the menfolk. You finish reading that section and you have to wonder what the hell went wrong, because they seem perfect for each other.

Then despite all of the evidence that’s been staring you in the face, despite the testimony of Nick himself, we finally see through Amy's eyes what a fucking jerk he can be. The third wedding anniversary. Leather. The one where she got in the beautiful vintage briefcase, that he went out on the town to get drunk with all of the writers who’d been laid off from the magazine. That really hurt to read, because I could see myself doing something just like that. It was such a well-written observation of a man failing to be a good husband that I felt bad when reading it.

But, of course, we well know that Nick is an unreliable narrator. What of Amy? Can she be trusted just because these are her 'private' thoughts. The question you have to ask yourself as a reader is whether Nick is the more or less reliable of the two because his deceit is laid out for us to judge.

It doesn’t change the feeling feeling you get when you’re inside his head, though. That feeling of biting down on tinfoil. If he told the cops early on, what he really thought of his wife, as he finally tells us, they wouldn’t have bothered pussy footing around. They’ve have just locked him up on general principles.

"The Amy of today was abrasive enough to want to hurt, sometimes. I speak specifically of the Amy of today, who was only remotely like the woman I fell in love with. It'd been an awful fairytale reverse transformation. Over just a few years, the old Amy, the girl of the big laugh and the easy ways, literally shed herself, a pile of skin and soul on the floor, and out stepped this new, brutal, it are Amy. My wife was no longer my wife but a razor wire knot, daring me to unlink her, and I was not up to the job with my thick, numb, nervous fingers."

I wont give away the ending of the story here, because there might be people as yet unfinished and it would be a shame to spoil a great read for them. Instead, I’ll finish up by saying I enjoyed this book as much as anything I’ve read this year, not just because it’s a great story, but because it’s told so well. Flynn has real depth as a writer, and her control of a line is near faultless. It’s why, I think, she can lay claim to literary status and not just popular acclaim.

I've tried to avoid major spoilers in the write up, but you can expect plenty below. Proceed at your own peril.

73 Responses to ‘Gone Girl. Bookclub. 17 May’

RobinP ducks in to say...

Posted May 17, 2013

It sucked me right in. He just seemed pathetic and her needy, but OMG by the end, what a psychopath she was. The weird thing is that I could really relate to both of them and I think that's why it worked.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted May 17, 2013

I was kinda disturbed by how much I occasionally related to Nick. Flynn sucked me in from the get go with her understanding of just precarious it is in publishing, especially magazine publishing at the moment. I've moved into other areas, but mags were my first love as a writer and those early chapters where she's talking about the collapse of the industry got right under my skin. As much as I loathed Nick at various points in the book, that initial connection was never sundered. I even found myself totally understanding his infidielity within a couple of pages of being appalled by it.

Blake asserts...

Posted May 17, 2013

Heh. I didn't skimmed the publishing bits, barely influence me, but still I was suckered into Nick.

I was more than occaisionally relating to him - which is scary in a sense, but i like to blame her writing to make myself feel better.

RobinP has opinions thus...

Posted May 17, 2013

Nick was kind of that wholesome American guy. Insipid, nice to his mom, largely inoffensive. And Amy much the same, you could see that cheesy full of white teeth smile of the comfortable upper middle class. Kinda bland and nondescript. She moved interstate, lost her networks, following the bloke kind of thing that many women do, and that's one of the reasons I found it compelling, because they are both set up as schmaltzy and then juist aren't. Well he probably still is, apart from the rooting around, but she just loops out completely

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted May 17, 2013

The plot device of the physical diary entries as a primary tool to drive the narrative in Gone Girl means, like Koji Suzuki’s staple of J-Horror Ringu , Gone Girl is a story that must be set in a specific cultural timeframe which is quite narrow. It relies on a period of time which has been present only in the last few decades. I am thinking of the reality/ true-crime nationwide TV talk shows and a time where using a hard copy diary is believable and not immediately grounds for suspicion of a pathology in itself.

Amy, one of the two protagonists uses written diary entries to construct an alternative history. It’s obvious such a device is becoming less common these days, however there is no way she could retrospectively construct a blog to reveal such information without more computer skills than she possessed in the story. Although given Amy’s preternatural focus it would be within the possibilities of the character to develop such skills during the story.

As both protagonists Amy, and Nick, “that was the fifth time I have lied to the officers this evening” ( I worked out 3 of them) are both unreliable narrators how reliable can we consider the 3rd person viewpoint constructed by the author for us the reader to work from in the novel. This is of course true for any novel we read, just no novels prior to this one had made me give as much consideration that thought as Gone Girl?

Like so much contemporary American fiction Gone Girl is a very moral story. A Jacobean morality play for the 21st century. Both of these flawed characters will suffer disproportionally for their deficiencies. When Amy gets robbed in the trailer park I felt an initial sense that such treatment was deserved, as if the universe is meant to provide punishment and recompense on some absurd karmic balance sheet, but after my initial schadenfreude I realised that would only mean the story’s see-saw arc would oscillate back to Amy suffering.

I found the idea articulated by Nic towards the end of the story, how he was trapped into be Amy’s expectations of being a good husband and would play the role so well that he would be by any standard a good husband is tied up with the strong protestant ethic that solely defines a person by their deeds and not by any other aspect of themselves. It of course demands one consider is anyone really themselves or only what they have allowed their persona to be? How long before the persona is you? I think 76 days. The French essayist Marguerite Yourcenar opined “the mask, given time, comes to be the face itself."

I am terrified of what sort of nightmare a child growing up in the poisonous environment of such a couple will be forged.

Won’t someone think of the children

MickH would have you know...

Posted May 17, 2013

yeah barnesy I thought that too.

In fact given AMy being Amy, I reckon the kid wouldn't make it past three before having a 'nasty' accident.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013

Hahaha. What Mick said. And now i get Barnes disgruntlment at being denied an opportunity to respond to this last week. Interesting point about the diary. It reminds me of the New Yorker cartoon collection I have in our back bathroom. I often flick through and try to imagine which cartoons are 'timeless' in that they could be read in an decade and understood, and which are purely a product of their era.

I think Amy could have done a blog, but she'd have needed to keep it private, while leaving a trail of crumbs for the investigators to find.

It took me a while to clue into her unreliability as a narrator. Nick's doucheyness hits you upside the head as soon as you read him, but her's was more psycho in a cold and calculating way. Reminds me of a flatmate of mine you might remember Mr Barnes. The girl who convinced the neighbors i'd impregnated her via footrubs.

You were taken with the morality play aspect of GG. I thought there was another tweak to that. Both of these characters were privileged one percenters. Or just hovering outside the one percent until quite recently. Both good looking, relaritvely wealthy white people with glamourous but essentially meaningless jobs. There's a lot of schadenfreude to be had by the mass market readership following the trajectory of their descent and destruction.

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013

I remember, we have a club for folk that ran afowl of her.

Quokka would have you know...

Posted May 20, 2013

Oh yes. That child probably would have a nasty accident but the mother would be far too clever to leave any traces of it. I'm betting that there'd be a 'disappearance' while both parents had cast iron alibis, with the mother milking years worth of public sympathy for the tragic loss of her child - while younger children cower in terror knowing full well what their mother is really capable of. The father would probably know exactly WTF happened to the kid but the mother would have far too much dirt on him for him to risk exposing her. I'd be critical of the ending too if I didn't see such a fabulous opening for a sequel, with parts written from the perspective of the murdered child and surviving younger siblings who get pushed out of shape from exposure to that dynamic.

I have flicked through but not read GG. Fiona in at Avid tried to persuade me to read it, but any work of fiction where I recogise a family member is usually off my required reading list. I've got it on order from the library, as it sounds really well written & I'm hoping I can stomach the intensity of their psychopathology.

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Blarkon puts forth...

Posted May 17, 2013

Audiobook has dual narrators. http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_2?asin=B0084EM066&qid=1368784241&sr=1-2

It's certainly a bit of a ride (audiobooks can get to you in a way that consuming a text visually cannot - perhaps because you're usually distracted by another activity at the same time as you're listening to the book).

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted May 17, 2013

Yep, totes. I'm glad to hear that and may even go back and 'read' it in this format too. I'm glad they ponied up for the two readers.

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted May 17, 2013

If no one else shows up I an nicking all the Tim Tams.

MickH asserts...

Posted May 17, 2013

only if you shot gun them through a glass of port

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pitpat reckons...

Posted May 17, 2013

Two narcissistic solipsistic sociopaths meet and fall in love, what are the chances.

But not being that at the beginning and the onion like revealing of their bitter cores in some ways-for me overshadowed the bleak setting.

And sexuality as weapon left me quite uncomfortable.

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MickH is gonna tell you...

Posted May 17, 2013

Nice write up John but I think you've under done it because of the spoiler bit.

The ending didn't bother you?

You didn't find it pretenious? I did. The ending that is.

At the half way point I thought that Nick was a cock. at the the end of the story I still thought he was a cock but for different reasons. With Amy at the half way point, I was just a bit sus on the diary, I mean both stories were so different. Nick I got, but Amy? nah, didn't seen real, and I was vindicated.

At the end of the book I thought that Amy could give lessons to Hannibal Lector. My god! What a monster!! Someone that smart who is a raving socialpath is so dangerous its not funny and Nick, to fold in on her I thought was pathetic but given what she is I guess he didn't have much choice.

Now, the ending. I was ok with it up until she started to get away with it. A lie system such as her's is always a house of cards particularly when she had to wing it in the end. For me the plot hole was the other guy she killed (I cant remember his name) Why didn't they do an autopsy? They would have instantly seen that he was too drugged to have done Amy's version of the story. Also, If the female cop was really interested in nailing her, they would have been able to build up an alabi for the dude through the servants!!

No sorry, I found it hard to read and it pissed me off when she got away with it. I would have liked it if Nick had done an Amy on her and killed the bitch, that would have been a nice twist and I guess I was waiting for it. For me that would have made a great story.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 17, 2013

Yeah, I would have written more about the resolution, but I'm aware of the significant number of people who read the essay but not the comments because they want to avoid spoilers.

Since we're in the comments however, tha's a very Jim Thompson ending you're bidding for there. And yes, it would have been more appropriate in a noirish way. There was a definite sense than she did not really pay for what she done, whereas Nick was forced into a perp walk all the way through the story.

Like you, I'd been have satisfied with some more payback.

RobinP mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013

I don't think it would have been anywhere near as memorable if he had got revenge. Would have just made it into another moralistic American, good guy wins, even if he did have a bit on the side and commit murder, story. It works better if we are angry at the end, because that's probably the only reason I remembered it.

MickH ducks in to say...

Posted May 17, 2013

Maybe you're right Robin, and thats why I remember it to, but not in a good way. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate the book, but I didn't love it either. I agree with John, I think it was unbalanced in the pay back side of things and there where the plot holes that I mentioned above and I hate that.

I don't know if Nick should have won, but I would have liked to seen her fail.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted May 17, 2013

It was a very realistic story in that sense though, Mick, because real monsters rarely get what they deserve.

RobinP mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013

I would have liked her not to win either and I was really annoyed that she did, but in my experience, life's like that. I didn't have any problem with the not doing an autopsy. Middle America - this is a country that advertises prescription drugs on TV so you know what to ask your doctor for and sells cigarettes in chemists - they do things differently and I do not have high expectations of elected public officials. nothing they do surprises me and not requiring an autopsy seemed quite plausible.

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013

Is it the murder of Desi you refer to above MickH? "For me the plot hole was the other guy she killed"

MickH mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013

how many did she kill? which other guy?

I only remember Desi (the rich guy)

MickH swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 17, 2013

You both make a good point (Robin & JB) but I think you're missing the point. Do you read books to get real 'reality' endings? I've thought about this and I don't. I want escapism. If i want reality, I watch the evening news. Nothing is ever good there because its reality. I want a sense of fairness in the books i read, it doesn't have to be the good guy winning out but I'd like some sort of 'balance to the force' that doesn't leave me feeling like I've just watched the eye witness news. I hate it when I finish a book and I feel frustrated and somehow 'cheated'

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013

Wow a lot of the reviews on Amazon !11000 and a lot of those reviewers hated how the book concluded, and really hated the unreliable narration (every book you read has an unreliable narration to one degree or another) and a lot of people really, really hated that the characters were so nasty.

Also what does

“a book that pretends to be cleverer than it is” mean?

One reviewer’s problem was “How could Amy get pregnant so fast with invitro insemination treatments especially at her age -- these treatments do not have such good outcomes”

“With Gone Girl, however, I felt she tried a bit too hard”. What the fuck does that mean? Has it achieved everything possible and shouldn’t have? Do they mean the author shouldn’t have tried so hard, should hse have taken more coffee breaks, left a few more spelling errors,..what?

And this reviewer’s comments made me wonder if they would be posting tonight “My biggest problem with the book was that I disliked the characters so much that I did not care what happened to them. If it was not my book club book, I would never have finished it”

Another claimed “Lots of negative reviews have focused on the ending of the novel, which I never got through, so I can't comment on it”, but you did anyway.

“I have no doubt that there are plenty of bored, obtuse people that will find Gone Girl absolutely thrilling” well we’ve been told.

I can not discern any influences from the 1978 Johnny Cash album of the same name as the title of the book.

Given the story can the title be considered eponymous

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted May 17, 2013

"A book that pretends to be cleverer than it is” means the reader had trouble following it.

As for not liking the characters, meh, it was neo-noir, but sort beige toned rather than grey. You're not supposed to like the characters. And to some extent, that's a misleading trope anyway because Amy invest a lot of work trying to get you to like her in the diary. She just tries too hard, and makes Detective Sgt MickH all suspicious.

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MickH swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 17, 2013

Hmm I actually agree with a lot of that Barnsey.

And yeah, Its almost impossible to get pregnet the way she did, it was all a bit tooooo neat.

You don't agree?

Barnesm mutters...

Posted May 17, 2013

That didn't worry me to much, I was too engaged with the story by then to be thrown. I was suprised it was so annoying to some of the reviewers over at Amazon though.

MickH ducks in to say...

Posted May 17, 2013

yeap I agree, every story can use my lazers and Zombies. (ask him fast movers or shufflers?)

:)

MickH would have you know...

Posted May 17, 2013

?

Dunno what happened there, this should have been in your next comment

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013

Just wrangling some kids into bed and then I'll be back with my next two cents worth,

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted May 17, 2013

Get there opinions on the book first. The_Weapon says the book needed more zombies, or lazers.

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MickH mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013
Hello?
Mr Barnes?
Are you going to participate?
:)

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted May 17, 2013

Anyone getting a Reese Witherspoon vibe off Amy, like the Reese Witherspoon in Election

pitpat mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013

Get more of a younger version of Glenn close from basic instinct of which I could only watch .

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted May 17, 2013

Gwyneth Paltrow.

Suze is gonna tell you...

Posted May 17, 2013

Yep. Definitely a bunny boiler. Or maybe Single White Female type?

MickH asserts...

Posted May 17, 2013

No!

Emma Watson!

All the way!

The hair stands up on my neck just thinking about it

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RobinP ducks in to say...

Posted May 17, 2013

I am one of those bored, obtuse people. I just read to be entertained because I don't much like television and because most of my reading is work-related and not necessarily entertaining. I love reading rubbish. This was compelling rubbish that allowed escapism and I'd argue that that's OK.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted May 17, 2013

"compelling rubbish that allowed escapism" would be an awesome cover line.

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted May 18, 2013

or indie band name

Guru Bob has opinions thus...

Posted June 2, 2013

excellent comment...

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Blake is gonna tell you...

Posted May 17, 2013

I was kind of on the backfoot for this one, my partner had read it a few months back and we'd discussed the plot enough that i knew which way the twist was going to go but the way it was delivered brought a big ol' "daaaaaaaamn".

I thought the first half was pretty depressing - i was kind of going through some work shit at the time, and the book was not proving a clean escape. That said the financial gloom didn't hit me so much, i kind of glazed over that like it was the cardboard cutout backdrop in a stage play - but it did sort of make me wonder -

Is it really that bad in the US? Have we missed the worst of it here in oz? Will society look back on this as comprable to the 'the great depression'?

Not that I wasn't affected by the financial collapse stuff at all - but all the emotion was through the eyes of Nick and Amy. Her ability to craft two completely believable characters and have me wincing at every relationship screw up that Nick made, trying to understand the female reasoning in diary Amy - and even knowing how the twist would go - believing the diary and trying to work out how these two stories were going to collide?

I was a little dissapointed she spent so much time building Amy up as someone who took her revenge seriously (reminds me of a friend of mine),but then left her robbed and thinking of survival before brutal revenge.

I think i'm a bit of a sucker for a novelty narrative device - The whole double narrator thing is hardly new - even old James Patterson's used that one - with a similar twist. Although the device did get me thinking that there were elements of Ben Elton at his best in here - with reference to the same device in 'Inconceivable' used with the same intent - to show two very different sides of the same story. But also his ability to weave current events / thematic soap boxing into a narrative that is fundamentally about people. Flynn's charecters have more depth than any of Elton's i remember, though there was none of the humour in what amounts to being a pretty dark book.

Pace too i thought was masterfully done - it was quite metered up to the half-way point, tick - tock, Amy - Nick. Then BAM! it had all the pace of a pulpy action novel, and yet lost none of the characterisation and somehow avoided the trap of an abrupt pace change that seems to plague the longer action books.

I wasn't a huge fan of the ending, possibly i needed to hate the creepy guy more or feel some kind revulsion for Nick's indiscrecions. Maybe it's the reaction to it not really being predicable or classifiable? My senses of Justice, Rebellion or Drama are all dissapointed - it is neither the end of "Empire Strikes Back" or "Return of the Jedi" - isn't Literature supposed to be relatable?

I'm not sure that it matters, overall it was a great read.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013

Yes, Blake, it's much much worse in the US. It's a tougher, harsher economic system there anyway, with a lot less in the way of a sfaety net and a really savage dismissal of 'losers' and 'failures' that's just alien to us. I didnt really understand that until I spent some time there, coincidentally during the financial crisis.

And ben Elton, yes. He's an odd writer. Much, much darker than people expect, because of all the fart jokes. In some ways, more depressing than this.

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 17, 2013

It's many years since I read it (when it first came out) but Stark really was very good. Reminds me of Douglas Adams. Shares the same juxtaposition of whimsy verging on cute against a darkness that ought to be withering, but which yields an engaging humour due to the balance.

I'm aware there are people who dismiss Elton as left propaganda. These people are merely stupid.

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Suze is gonna tell you...

Posted May 17, 2013

I bought it. Mostly. I bought the characters. I bought the premise. I bought the crazy-arsed psycho bitch from hell sociopath genius. I admit the pregnancy thing may have been far-fetched, but I was prepared to accept it. I was disappointed that Nick caved (see what i did there?) but you know what? It was also so right. I think the premise that they were the best they could be with each other is true and somehow poetic justice. It's the perfect dysfunction. The ultimate co-dependency. How could they *not* be together? I loved it.

I've found myself wondering, though... one of the last times that Nick's Dad escaped from the nursing home and was at the house and was muttering about 'that bitch', to whom was he referring? I felt for some reason that something had happened 'off-screen' (I'm sure there's a literary term for that) that made him fall out of love with Amy too.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted May 17, 2013

I totally had Nicks dad as the perp for a couple of chapters.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 17, 2013

Something nobody has really touched on yet, and I should have in the review essay, is how well Flynn does at creating the imagined thoughts of a male character. NIck struck me as completely believable, especially when he was at his worst.

Flynn's said she wanted to write this book as an examination of when things turn bad in a long term relationship, and I guess it's her book so she can foreground that if she wants. (Although I'm still reading it as a sort of modern Dickensian socio-economic critique). But damn, yes. She gets male psychology. The way she made me understand and empathise if not sympathise with the reasons for Nick's affairs was almost unsettling.

It's possible, actually, that she did a better job on the male lead than the female.

MickH has opinions thus...

Posted May 17, 2013

I agree John to an extent, but is anybody that dufus when they know they shouldn't be? And he didn't seem all that upset did he and given the whole story line he should have been, even if he didn't love here anymore. I guess thats why i thought he was a cock.

For me she had the modern media nailed down pat! Guilty until proven innocent and all trial by media.

One thing she didn't point out though is that its very hard to get a murder conviction without a body and almost impossible to get a death sentance. His ultra-lawyer would have gotten him off for sure because it was all circumstancial evidence

Suze is gonna tell you...

Posted May 17, 2013

Yep, I almost forgave Nick his indescretion

I can't comment on the male psyche , of course. But he was totally believable.

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013

I can comment on the male psyche, at least when it comes to mine, fairly simple and usually clueless.

Blarkon asserts...

Posted May 18, 2013

To know all men, one must but understand one man.

To know all women, you'll need to understand each and every one of them. And you'll still probably get it wrong. Cos quantum.

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted May 19, 2013

"Cos quantum" Deepak Chopra would be proud.

And I wish I could stoop to name calling because I so want to call him Cowpat Chopra, but that would be immature and not advance my reasonable and rational arguments against his ridiculous woo filled musings.

damian would have you know...

Posted May 19, 2013

I say, I'm as reasonable and rational as the next man (well, there's always the possibility that the next man in Havst, but we'll leave that for the moment), but I have worked myself around to the view that while I may well continue to strive to maintain this reason and rationality, it isn't the last word in anything and I might not agree with the unreasonable and irrational, but that does not automatically mean I can dismiss it either. I think the element of the aleatory is as important in the rational and reasonable as in anything else, and that the reasons I see behind things and the rationalisations I might make for my own behaviour really only occlude, and never adequately explain that.

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damian puts forth...

Posted May 17, 2013
Just got home - haven't really had time to think through a response to this book. In short - I liked it. I acknowledge all the issues Mick and others mention are valid. I would admit not a single character was likable.

But I think that was sort of the point, and it maybe that it's because there's some recognisable part of all of us in both Nick and Amy that rubs some people up the wrong way.

When we fuck up, it's almost never for entirely innocent reasons. There's an all-too-familiar edge of guilty desperation Nick seems to spend the first half of the novel walking along, one that in real life most people only live with ultimately through unreliable memory and self deception. It's not necessarily as bad as some of Nick's behaviour, but we're all sometimes not quite who we'd like to be.

When we succeed overwhelmingly, there's always that perspective where you seem to have stepped to one side of the flow of events and can manipulate it. It might manifest as cynicism, it usually leads the unwary to a sense of the righteousness of their enterprise. Being rewarded for one's actions has that effect, anyway, it's what's at the heart of the Protestant Work Ethic as Barnes suggests above. It all leads to the idea that whatever the fuck we want is in itself virtuous, if we can achieve it... by the intrinsically circular logic of the ethic basically because we can. I think people whose success is in the business world are a lot more monstrous than Amy, yet generally regarded as normal.

So we're all pathetic creeps and psychopathic monsters. But just a bit, and both have a redemptive side too (not explored in the novel).

damian puts forth...

Posted May 17, 2013

Bugger... I guess it's hit return twice for a new paragraph here.

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Blake is gonna tell you...

Posted May 17, 2013

I always find myself questioning the accuracy of an author who chooses to write in the voice of the opposite sex - maybe more so with female lead's because i have no real frame of reference for that psyche.

With GG i think i kept checking back to confirm the author was a she. Even just now i had second thoughts when JB had "he" as a typo in a post above - "Could Gillian be a male name?"

To me Nick's emotional disconnect doesn't neccesary yell "sociopath", Particularily given how disconnected he'd been from her and life in general - it would seem not a completley uncommon (male?) trait

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted May 17, 2013

I have very little trouble imagining that kind of disconnect in a male because I've been there myself. I once had a girl friend I was certain was about to start an affair with her driving instructor. I wanted out by then, and my reaction was 'Sweet, I can escape and look like the good guy'.

That relationship did not bring out the best in JB.

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted May 17, 2013

If only you played the role of the 'good' boyfriend like Nic was going to play the good husband. After a couple of years you would be the 'Good boyfriend'.

Guru Bob asserts...

Posted June 2, 2013

I have also been in relationships where you are completely disconnected from the other person, feeling trapped and isolated from everything made you who you thought you were...

If anything this book sometimes was too close to the bone.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 2, 2013

Ha. Bob. Proving its never too late for Bookclub.

Guru Bob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 3, 2013

Of course...

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MickH mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013
Yeah, Blake he didn't seem that bad to me, except he was a cheater and that makes him a cock. But from what I've read and seen, that seems to be a fairly common trait amongst some men.

Amy on the other hand was Hannibal Lector's love child.

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RobinP mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013

Blake didn't seem that bad to me either, and I am not a bloke. Just typical of someone who wants more attention than they're getting in their relationship. I think most blokes once they've mentally disengaged from a relationship start shopping around. Better keep eye on hubby happily watching Eurovision :-) while wife ignores him....

MickH ducks in to say...

Posted May 17, 2013

LOL

Mine's in bed watching re-runs of packed to the rafters

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JG would have you know...

Posted May 18, 2013

I was going to toss it--a third of the way through--but your glowing review forces me to push on with Gone Girl, John. I'll give it to halfway through to engage me.

i haven't read the comments here yet--spoilers, no doubt. So far I'm hating Amy and her parents are cartoons. Nick does nothing for me. Simple writing. I wouldn't call it a literary work. Can't understand why it's an international bestseller. It probably appeals to the mass of common plebs. Boring and trivial.

Anyway, I'll force myself to read on and see if my mind can be changed, seeing as you're frothing at the bit over it, John. A beautiful review of Gone Girl by the way, JB. I'm guessing most liked it. I just haven't warmed to the book.

JG

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted May 18, 2013

Joanna, you will only read a certain number of books during your time on Earth. You should enjoy them all. So do not push on just for my sake.

Barnesm asserts...

Posted May 18, 2013

Oh heavens no.

Leave gone Girl and move on to CHasm City, see if it strikes you fancy. Too many readers are ruined on the rocks of required reading. Yes its a pleasure to read a book and discuss it at Cheeseburger, but if the book is not engaging then move on and just come of the drinks and conversation. Live is far to short with far too many books to choose from to spend time wading through something that you aren't finding either enjoyable/stimulating or ridiculous..

JG has opinions thus...

Posted May 18, 2013

OK then, Barnes and JB. Wise words. Cheers. :)

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MickH mumbles...

Posted May 18, 2013

One thing I ment to touch on was Amy and "Being Amy" There was quite a bit of parallel irony going on there which i quite injoyed. In the end Amy was the perfect being Amy which means 'Being Amy' (the character) was a pychopath all along!

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 18, 2013

Sure, but likewise we're all psychopaths. One of those cases where the sequence of continuity is more interesting that differences.

MickH would have you know...

Posted May 20, 2013

"we're all psychopaths."

Really? Speak for yourself Damian. I'm not and most people I know aren't.

Pop over here and brush up on your disorders mate:

http://www.diffen.com/difference/Psychopath_vs_Sociopath

damian puts forth...

Posted May 20, 2013

Whatever. If your confidence in your own self-knowledge is such that you never have the sense of "there but for the grace of God go I", then maybe we could all do with some of whatever you're having.

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Surtac is gonna tell you...

Posted May 21, 2013

I did actually read the book and finished it in good time for the discussion, but something just stopped me from writing my usual review. And then we got to the weekend, and family commitments blew that away (when Planets Asperger and Parenthood align with Planet Eurovision, be very, very afraid) and, well, here we are.

Reading this whole discussion, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t review it because I couldn’t find a sympathetic character (by which I mean one I could identify with or care about) in it. I only kept turning the (virtual) pages because I wanted to know what happened, in a slow motion, can’t turn away from the accident kind of way.

I am grateful to those erudite burgers and our host for elucidating between them the many reasons why I didn’t and couldn’t actually ‘enjoy’ this book. I found myself nodding in agreement often at their wit and insight. In the end, I think it’s just that Nick and Amy are both such loathsome creatures that I couldn’t invest in them.

Oh and there was one early clue from Amy where the story was foreshadowed that I don’t think has been mentioned yet: on the morning of her disappearance when Nick hears Amy sing/hum/whatever the MASH theme Suicide Is Painless. Did that moment really jar for anyone else, or was it just me?

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