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Manny Rayner's book reviews

I love reviewing books - have been doing it at Goodreads, but considering moving here.

Currently reading

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
Richard Dawkins
R in Action
Robert Kabacoff
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
Douglas R. Hofstadter
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture
Harold McGee
Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood
Simon Evnine
Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
Christopher M. Bishop
Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology
Richard C. Tolman
The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition
Julia Herschensohn, Martha Young-Scholten

Des Fleurs Pour Des Filles

Des Fleurs Pour Des Filles - Michel Brice Chère New Brigade Mondaine Author,

Just a short note to say that I read your book, and it wasn't bad at all. You're so much better than your predecessor that it's not even appropriate to compare you.

Given the constraint that you had to produce a Brigade Mondaine novel, I thought you did a fantastic job. I admire your courage in subverting the formula to this extent. The little nods to Ruth Rendell and the Coen brothers were nice, and, even if the ending was slightly too clearly based on Psycho, you pulled it off. You obviously wrote it quickly, but it's stylistically quite okay.

I was impressed with the brutal way you chopped out the gratuitous sex. Absolutely right not to let Boris get any - he's too old to keep on bedding these panting 20-somethings, it was becoming distasteful. But my special prize went to the sequence where Florence is bi-curious. I was 100% sure we'd receive a detailed description of what happened when she went back to Adèle's place. To my astonishment, no! You made her decide that, in fact, she wasn't a lesbian after all. Lady (I assume you're female from the sympathetic way you describe the women), you're a class act.

I hope you don't stay around Brigade Mondaine too long, I don't really think it's good for you. Get what you can out of it and move on, that's my advice. You have talent, and I think you're headed for better things.

I wish I knew your name. When your first real novel comes out, I'd like to read it.



PS That cover. I guess there wasn't much you could do to stop them. Sorry.

PPS I suddenly wondered: maybe you're the female half of the team who wrote Accro Au Plaisir, and you finally managed to ditch your appalling male colleague? If so, congratulations! I hope he took it really badly and is now unemployed and living in an unpleasant suburb of Paris where there's a great deal of racial violence.