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He Died with a Felafel in His Hand and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

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He Died With a Felafel in His Hand Paperback – May 15, 2000

21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


'This is the grunge version of Melrose - the characters move speedily from one bed to another in Birmingham's share-house hell...Not recommended for landlords', Kathy Bil, Editor, Rolling Stone 'You'll read it with horrified amusement and, if you've ever shared a flat, the occasional wince of recollection', Terry Pratchett --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Duffy & Snellgrove; Reprint edition (May 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1875989218
  • ISBN-13: 978-1875989218
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #932,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hey there. It's me. JB. Right now I'm probably kicking back on my hovercraft somewhere in the Antilles, or the Maldives, enjoying a dissolute, essentially meaningless life funded by your generous book purchases. Please, don't make me go back to selling my bodily fluids to science. Buy my books now and I promise to keep indulging myself in grotesque pleasures and luxury that I haven't really earned.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
I picked up this hilarious book while travelling in Australia and it made a truly wonderful literary companion to the trip. Birmingham's comically detailed and slightly skewed vignettes from his days as a "flatmate" are a riot to read regardless of their basis in fiction. The book begins with a story of a mysterious drug addict flatmate that was found dead with a falafel in hand and it just gets funnier from there. Birmingham's tone and joie de vivre makes for an enjoyable read. Because of the nature of the vignettes, reading this book in small doses is a great way to pass the time while waiting for the plane, or bus, or ferry, or just killing time between adventures. If you've ever lived with someone that was a less than desirable roomate/flatmate, you will undoubtedly enjoy Birmingham's twisted experiences and witty prose.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Clare on October 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is somewhat astounding... I found it a few years ago in the non-fiction section of our local library, and I thought it was wonderful! It's not a novel, but it's writing style is a lot like one!
With a funny spin on life and emphasizing immense differences between people, John Birmingham details his share house experiences from right across Australia, with tales about the lives of other individuals. And the people he talks about are certainly individuals, with lives that are so different to what you thought was normal...
A lot of people would find this strange, but my teacher got our class to read an exerpt of this book as part of our year 9 classwork! It's a very honest look at group houses, I think is what she told us. This was about the same time that the movie came out, a couple of years ago.
Written with flair and in such a way that each paragraph could be a new chapter, this book fascinates, and finds a new perspective for an everyday part of life for young people across Australia. Hilarious, and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel (actually I read this a while ago and haven't been bothered to look much... but I am VERY keen to find the The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco, and writing this review has reminded me how keen!)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. D. Fleming on March 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
Its been 10 years since this book was first written and for the people who read this book when it first come out (like myself) it feels like a very quick 10 years. To me I was flatting among the "chaos" documented in this book and while never anywhere near as bad, most of this book feels like it could have happened in a parallel universe somewhere.

The style is very easy to read and random in its structure - the laughs and the acute observations are on every page, making it the type of book you can flip into randomly and find a description or passage to make you laugh out loud.

There is no main plot as such and most characters are only around for a few pages. If anything you could say the book is about growing up and a celebration of that stage of peoples life where you only depend on your self and you are carefree enough to indulge in a dirty jeans wearing competition or throw parties which are spoken about for decades. But to put themes on a book like this is really over analysing what is really just a good read and full of laughs.

For fans of this book there is a 10 year anniversary illustrated by cartoonist Ryan Vella now available (not yet on Amazon) which is well worth a look. The imagery is dark, gross, amusing, gothic, disturbing - all taking nothing away from the original reading. Being a comic book it can't fit so much in, but he does get the best parts, be warned though that the sequence with the crazy flatmate "Nena" in the bath is especially unsettling.

The big question for me in this book is "How much of it is true ?". In interviews with the man himself he said that 99% of it was based at least partially factual. Whether this means it all happened to him or parts of it are based on storied of a friend of a friend and with a bit of artistic license added, I guess only the author and a few friends will ever know.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Bingham on July 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating descent into the lives of people who share houses. Most of the people have different ideas about cleanliness, or ownership, of relationships. Many of the stories are hilarious and disturbing at the same time. I don't recommend eating while reading (parts of) this book though.
This has been made into a stage show and movie (which is being released soon). The book has a sequel called The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco.
It's very light reading, very revealing and funny, and not for those easily shocked (if you get to the end and you're not just a LITTLE bit shocked, I'd worry though). Highly recommended
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andrew McColl on November 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
The title says it all really. If it wasn't for "Felafel" my housemate might have ended up in a shallow grave in my backyard. It has to be one of the coolest books on share house living ever written. Some of Johns other titles include "Tasmanian Babes Fiasco" and "Leviathan: The Unauthorised Biography". Personally I'm hanging out for his new book "Dopeland" and you'll have to work out what thats about by yourself. Although I can say that we did have the pleasure of assisting the author with his research into microbreweries when he came to Perth. "Felafel" is well worth a read and I highly recommend it.
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