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msknight

Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

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The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter
Greg Toppo
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Review - A Table In Berlin - 3.5 out of 5 stars

A Table in Berlin - Mark Davies

Davies set himself up with a mammoth challenge. A lot of characters in a relatively short book, and a chunk of them introduced at the same time and being, "active," together.

 

He set the bar really high for himself. No wonder he didn't achieve it for me.

 

Davies opened with a cracker of a buy-in in the first chapter, but it was like smelling the caviar as it passed under my nose, only to be left with the day old potted mackerel on my plate. (Actually, I hate fish, full stop, but that's neither here or there.)

 

In the beginning, I had serious problems with the jumping around, which lasted until about page 90. "All right then. Where shall we sit?" she asked. "Over there," said Isabelle impishly. "That table over there, by the wall. The one with the man underneath it." - That was, strangely, the same man who in the previous segment had managed to make it to the table, refuse a towel for his wet hair and, being a vegetarian, had ordered moussaka. Well, either he had made it to his seat OK, or he ordered his food while being under the table. So you can see why I was getting confused. And then he ended up underneath another table where he had then kicked his pen. *sigh*

 

It was also annoyingly switching between describing the lead character in first and third person, which just added a little olive oil to the rope of sense, as I tried to grip it. I was about two thirds of the way through the book before I worked out that the subheading, "E minor," actually denoted a switch to first person. Not that the knowledge helped much.

 

Davies is pretty good with the one liners and made me chuckle in quite a few places with his quick-fire quips, but even as some of the story line was starting to make itself known, the book was loosing me. Some of the quips started failing to make sense and the names were starting to merge.

 

Now, not all books end with a happy ever after. Some end with people going their own ways. Some end with death, but the sniff of a new dawn. Some end with loose ends that are never tidied up, but so long as they are left for a reason that resonates, then I'm happy with that. But you know that disappointment you get when a lead character endures an adventure and then wakes up in bed (which isn't what happens here) ... that's the feeling I got from too many co-incidences and situations that just weren't wrapped up properly ... and again, there are so many people in here and so many interwoven sub-stories that I was never going to get a decent mouth full of any one flavour on my pallet.

 

Davies comes over as a skilled writer with a quirky sense of humour. I just think that he tried to do too much, with too many people, in too short a book. Reading the short explanation at the back, of how the book came to be, I whistled low to myself and thought, "You set yourself a difficult task here, mate."