Review: The Glister


The Glister, by John Burnside

An abandoned chemical plant. A chemical wasteland left behind. Unemployed and uninsured, the townfolk left behind are slowly dying of mysterious ailments, which everyone seems to be willing to ignore. Strange, mutated animals have been sighted in the woods. And one by one, children are disappearing while local authorities are busy covering it all up.

Something evil is lurking out there.

John Burnside's latest novel easily captured A Reader's Respite's attention. A very promising, Stephen King-esque (his early stuff...you know, the good stuff) beginning immediately grabbed our attention.



Especially with literary references like these:

For some reason, the powers that be decided many years ago that Moby-Dick is some sort of kids' book, and they put it out in all kinds of weird editions, all abridged and illustrated and gutted to the bare bones of an "adventure." Worse still, they had Melville down as a one-book wonder, so I didn't even know about The Confidence-Man, or Bartleby the Scrivener or Billy Budd, until John came along. Nobody should ever forget the debt of gratitude they owe to whoever it was first got them to read Herman Melville properly. According to John, the real version of Moby-Dick was a page-turner, too -- and he was right about that, just as he was right about Proust and all those others. The definition of a page-turner really ought to be that this page is so good, you can't bear to leave it behind, but then the next page is there and it might be just as amazing as this one. Or something like that.
The Glister, by John Burnside


And then, just as we were preparing to really love this novel......


Nothing. Nada. Zip.

This book, folks, fell flat on it's face for A Reader's Respite.

While the characters were beautifully written, the atmosphere sufficiently creepy, the plot went absolutely nowhere for us. In fact, we're not even entirely certain what it was that actually happened in the end.

All is not lost, however. We're prepared to admit that it may just be us.

That's why we're going to give away two copies of The Glister to our brilliant readers who will have to come back and let us know if the novel is really a work of genius. Just leave a comment and we'll randomly draw two winners on Wednesday, April 29. International readers are encouraged!




Title: The Glister
Author: John Burnside
ISBN-13: 978-0385527644
240 pages
Publisher: Nan A. Talese/Random House
Date: March 10, 2009


Here are some more discerning reviews:

a lovely shore breeze....
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Fyrefly's Book Blog
Rhapsodyinbook's Weblog
Book Lites
What I'm reading...
Pseudonymous

14 comments:

  1. Oh, pick me! I just read the review of this book on Caite's blog and it very much appealed to me (it even got written down on The List.) She made it sound pretty Stephen King twisted, and I need a little of that.

    rnawrot at cfl dot rr dot com

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  2. Ah, drat, I was hoping you could explain what the heck happened at the end, because I didn't get it either. :)

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  3. I'd still like to give it a shot. Thanks for entering me.

    carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

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  4. Oh please *don't* pick me. I don't do well with creepy and King-like. I'll just read the reviews.

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  5. Don't enter me Michele as I have the book. I just wanted to say oh oh that it fell flat on it's face. That doesn't make me overly excited to read it. lol.

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  6. Sorry this didn't work for you. I'm not sure it's for me either - I'm not a fan of Stephen King's work.

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  7. Don't enter me, as I've read it, and recommended the book to my sister who is into more abstract books. I did want to defend it a little. It's so creepy in a good way. I still think about this book I read months ago. An interesting was to portray an antipathetic message.

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  8. Ah, Sara, goody....maybe you can explain what happened in the end?? I was sooooo lost!

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  9. I love how you mentioned King and his 'early stuff, you know the good stuff'. LOL! but also sad in how true it is. Koontz is the same way. They get famous and all of a sudden they go soft on you.

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  10. Please enter me! I just read about this book on Caite's blog and it sounded interesting ... though she definitely says it is a take it or leave it book! In case I don't like it, I would love to win it!!!! : )

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  11. No need to enter me..especially since I started with two copies too.

    I am not a fan of King's books really...too much for me, but I do like Koontz, who I personally think is more nuanced. Less horror more...hmmm...creepy, with good issues raised.

    As I said in my review, I found this book interesting. Not totally clear, a lot of questions left with no easy answers...I don't know totally why, but I like it.

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  12. Thanks for the review, Michele. Pls don't enter me ~ I can lost on my own. lol.

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  13. All this talk about the swine flu has got me thinking about The Stand, which was my favorite when I went thru my Stephen King phase in college...

    Don't enter me, I have it and will get to it eventually. It stinks when you get to the end and go...what? Sorry it was a stinker!

    ReplyDelete
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