5. Paul Theroux – The Kingdom By the Sea. I used to be a big fan of Paul Theroux. I loved Mosquito Coast and enjoyed his books based on his experiences in Africa such as My Secret History. So what was wrong with this one? I heard that he had recently divorced when this one came out and the whole book just seems a full of bitterness and pessimism – and every landlady he met was trying to drag him into bed… Dream on, Mr Theroux. If you want an entertaining (and far more accurate) account of life in Britain, have a look at Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island.
4 Timothy Mo – Brownout on Breadfruit Boulevard. I first encountered Timothy Mo when I read Sour Sweet which appears in my best books ever list. I have to confess that I haven’t read Brownout on Breadfruit Boulevard to the end. The graphic description of a fat German shitting on a young prostitute is just plain weird and perhaps the book then blossoms into something clever, amusing, deep. But something tells me that is pretty unlikely.
3 Miguel Angel Asturia – The Mulatta and Mr. Fly: Despite being a Nobel Prize winner from Guatemala, this book didn’t do it for me. I tried reading it, and tried to see some kind of story but it just rambled in weird ways and it is the only book that I have ever thrown away while reading.
2 Vince Flynn – Act of Treason I honestly can’t remember where I picked up this book. I seriously hope I didn’t actually pay any money into Vince Flynn’s pockets. His hero is a superhero who doesn’t play by the rules (yawn yawn) so he goes around the world, killing and torturing as if that proves that America is the most civilised place on the planet.
1 John Fowles – The Magus. I have received this book as a present not once, but twice. Please don’t read it. It is very long, it rambles, it tries to make itself deep and mysterious but fails miserably. I agree completely with Kingsley Amis who, when asked what he would do differently if he could live his life again, replied, “I wouldn’t read the Magus.”
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