The Blue Book

The Blue Book

Book - 2013
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From one of the U.K.'s most dazzling novelists--whom Richard Ford has called "a profound writer"--comes this daring new novel set in the unsteady, self-contained world of a luxury liner. 
 
While on a transatlantic trip with her soon-to-be-fiancé Derek, Elizabeth unexpectedly runs into ex-lover Arthur, with whom she shares a shady past: The pair once worked as traveling spiritual mediums who conned the vulnerable by pretending to contact the spirits of departed loved ones. While Derek remains seasick and cabin-bound, Elizabeth wanders the ship, alternately avoiding and seeking out Arthur. Unable to avoid memories of their fractured past, she must face the deception they practiced even as she accepts the peace they brought to the grief-stricken who sought their services. 
 
Intimately addressed to "you," the reader, The Blue Book is both a portrait of two methodical con artists and a meditation on "how love is a private language, a set of codes, to which the outside world ought not admit impediment" ( Telegraph ). Irresistibly written, by turns comically wry and stunningly lyrical, with "some of the most unashamedly erotic writing since Nicholson Baker first contemplated a telephone receiver" ( New Statesman ), the book slowly, deliberately, and devastatingly reveals itself to the reader. The heartbreaking stakes are ultimately nothing less than fact and fiction, life and death.
Publisher: Boston : New Harvest/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013, c2011
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780544027701
Branch Call Number: KEN
Characteristics: 335 p. ;,22 cm

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uncommonreader
Sep 01, 2014

Post-modern, complex, funny and multi-layered, this novel draws parallels between being a medium and being a writer. Although emotions are gradually revealed, as a reader I was not engaged by the characters. It is an interesting and unusual book, well worth making the effort to read.

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beckylunatic
Mar 27, 2013

I'll be the middle-of-the-road review. I didn't hate this book, but I kept putting it down because I didn't feel very compelled to finish it either (but I did!). It wasn't the writing style, but my lack of attachment to any of the characters. Except Bunny and Francis. They were sweet.

quagga Nov 02, 2012

Darkly funny and cleverly crafted, Scottish author A.L. Kennedy's The Blue Book offers sharp and tender insights into human nature. I read passages aloud to anyone who would listen. By the end, my copy fluttered with sticky notes marking favourite parts.

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