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Consumption: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

G. S. Johnston
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

Who can a girl with a broken heart rely on if not her gay best friend?

Sara Sexton and Martin Blake are besties so it was natural for her to flee to him after breaking up with a Greek lover. But Martin has changed, preoccupied with his new business. In Hong Kong, he's a high-profile, high-dollar interior designer.

When Sara meets Andy Harris, a romantic with a bodaciouis bubble-butt, Martin's still on the market and not happy. Seems Martin's only happy when Sara's alone and miserable. Got any 'friends' like that? Now Sara has to juggle a consuming old friendship and a blossoming romance... And how does a girl do that? And what happens when she's forced to choose between the past and the future?

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CONSUMPTION: A NOVEL is 85000 words

Editorial Reviews


All of this made Consumption: A Novel a true triumph - Cha: An Asian Literary Journal

I found myself reading faster at the end of pages so I could get to the next one.

Johnston captures the type of expatriate lifestyle (in Hong Kong) that sometimes seems like an alternate reality.  A Kindle in Hong Kong

Product Details

  • File Size: 707 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0052YX8K8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #479,851 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating July 17, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Through the characters of Martin Blake and Sara Sexton, the novel explores the notion of consumption - as the creation of identity and meaning through possessions and conspicuous consumption; as the attrition of the consumer when the facade they create replaces their identity and demands ever greater effort to maintain; and, finally, the consumption and abuse of the goodwill of friends and family.

Martin is a brooding character who impacts Sara's life - a charismatic friend who is intrusive, demanding and destructive; one who retains an inexplicable attraction despite being a near psychopath. While the link between the two characters is attributed to shared experiences while they grew up in Hobart, I think it's also based on the excitement of being around someone who is outrageous and who seems to be part of the A list, someone around whom the world seems to turn. At least, till the demands become too random and the cracks become increasingly obvious.

GS Johnston displays a lovely command as he describes people, mood and places. As I read the book, I wanted to know 'what happens next?' I felt involved in Sara's life. While I wondered why she found it hard to sever the connection with Martin after she became involved with Andy, I sympathised with her resistance to the ultimatum she was given.

One element I found puzzling was the naming of the parts of the novel - Green; Gold; Platinum; Black; See Through; Green Back - the first five taking place two years apart starting from 1995, the last in 2008. I suspect the first four parts refer to the colours of Amex cards while the last two refer to disillusionment and new beginnings. I'd be interested to read the interpretation of others.

'Consumption' is an accomplished and evocative work. Recommended.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. What a surprise! June 5, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Wow. What a surprise! I just bought this because I liked the cover - I mean, how wrong can you go for 3 bucks? Such a great story and so well told. Intense. Martin Blake is like Hannibal Lecter in pink angora. And the writing is so beautiful. I felt like I arrived in Hong Kong in 1995 and then moved through all the ages of the book. I can't recommend this more highly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, toxic and otherwise August 14, 2011
By Illyria
Format:Kindle Edition
I'm a picky reader, prone to shelving novels unfinished when they fail to be engaging. To be engaging, they need subtlety and complexity - if I can see everything coming or if too much is explained, I'd just as soon read a catalog. Good fiction is a collaboration between author and reader.

Fortunately, G.S. Johnston understands all that, and with "Consumption" he has given us an unusual subject, explored with grace and nuance. As many others have remarked, the settings are so well realized you feel like you've been there, but without being overloaded with sensory detail. The plot is low-key but all the more realistic for it, and there are significant moments of drama that keep the pace moving. The characters are fully fleshed human beings, with pasts and problems and flaws and strengths, and that's what's at the heart of this book: people. Sara and Martin are so essentially human and their relationship so believable that even when we find them frustrating, the empathy remains. Other reviews have covered the story and characters well, though, so I won't go into them here.

Instead I will say that the best thing about "Consumption" is that all the elements of the book serve the story by allowing the reader to invest a bit of themselves. The dialogue rings especially true in this sense, as people often talk somewhat obliquely to each other, leaving the other characters - and therefore the reader along with them - to interpret the real meaning. The book is pretty dialogue-heavy, in fact, but for me that was a big part of its appeal: the characters are left to speak for themselves without authorial intrusion, allowing readers to get to know them as we would real people.

It's an all-around impressive first novel and I look forward to many more from Mr. Johnston!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very captivating! October 29, 2011
By IngaKS
Format:Kindle Edition
My review:

Consumption: A Novel is a book which will haunt you for long time after you finish reading it. It is that good! It was a very good and easy read, the language was very professional and the story itself very captivating. This book is about friendship, letting go and cutting the relationships. It's a sad and happy story in the same time. I would highly recommend this book to people who love serious novels. I said, it was easy to read, but you should be warned that the topics which the novel touches are complicated. It's a story about human behavior through friendship. Friendship which consumes everything and everybody you have. It's a must read!

Regarding the plot:

The story follows friendship between Sara Sexton and her childhood friend Martin Blake through decades. It starts with Sara visiting Martin where Sara realizes that Martin has changed into high-profile interior designer in Hong-Kong.

Their friendship changes, especially after Sara is meeting Andy. Martin gets more possessive over his friendship with Sara and Sara's life is suffering due to that.

The plot flows. There is not much action in the book, but it keeps you interested until the last page is turned. It shows the best and worst parts of friendship and how it can influence your life and your world.

Regarding the characters:

I felt for Sara and was sometimes really annoyed by the fact that she kept the friendship alive and did not want to let go of Martin. In the same time I felt sympathy for her. She was a strong woman with one specific weakness - her friendship with Martin. Martin was so complex until you found out what was wrong with him. He seemed empty as a person, but still very interesting as a character.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read. For me the best bit was that ...
An easy read. For me the best bit was that it was set in Hong Kong, though I did find that a bit unconvincing as someone who has lived there. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Susan Roberts-cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars Characters very Real in Consumption: a Novel
I chose to rate Consumption: a Novel as five star because the use of language is good, without carelessness or sloth, or ignorance. Every word chosen for nuanced significance. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Barista
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
a frustrating book in general, especially the ending went no where.
Published 7 months ago by helene bonney
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed in Consumption
After reading Skin of Water, I looked forward to reading Consumption because I liked Mr. Johnston's writing. I could not find one character in the book that I liked. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Kaye
1.0 out of 5 stars A stinker
Unlikeable characters in a plot that goes nowhere...I rarely give up on a book but did on this one. Not even worth $1.99
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting
I had to read the book twice before I can understand it. I don't understand why the heroine keeps coming back to help this person who does not care about other people and is so... Read more
Published on January 10, 2013 by Cindy
4.0 out of 5 stars Heady yet sort of addictive
I wasn't sure what to think about this book at first. I wasn't even if sure if I liked it--and then suddenly, I couldn't put it down. It's a little bit . . . out of the box? Read more
Published on January 7, 2013 by Maria T. Violante
2.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately unsatisfying
This story follows a woman's lifelong so-called friendship with(which primarily consists of being used by) an immensely self-centered and vain man who happens to have earned a lot... Read more
Published on December 25, 2012 by Diane Kohn
4.0 out of 5 stars A tigers tail.
The most enjoyable and fun part of this book for me was the fact I never knew what was going on. I started reading thinking , yep He is going to be this and she is going to do... Read more
Published on November 18, 2012 by shazartist
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
This book was amazing so descriptive that I felt I knew exactly what they were going through and able to pull my life into the story. I could not put it down. Read more
Published on November 16, 2012 by Dustin J. Shirley
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More About the Author

G.S. Johnston is an author of two historical novels, The Skin of Water and Consumption, noted for their complex characters and well-researched settings.

In one form or another, Johnston has always written, at first composing music and lyrics. After completing a degree in pharmacy, a year in Italy re-ignited his passion for writing and he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. Feeling the need for a broader canvas, he started writing short stories and novels.

Originally from Hobart, Tasmania, Johnston currently lives in Sydney, Australia with two cats - home-loving Reba and the wayward Rose - and Miss Mia, a black and white cuddle dog.

He would be impressed with humanity if someone could succeed in putting an extra hour in every day.

Visit him online at or follow him on Twitter at @GS_Johnston.

Website -

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Mesmered - Aug 10, 2011

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