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Soft! Paperback – January 25, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A tight, hypnotic story. Imagine Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard teaming up. Imagine Quentin Tarantino and Martin Amis collaborating."- Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"A stone-cold blast, the kind of twisted thriller that will keep you turning the pages until four in the morning."-  Details

"An intense and compulsive thriller. Thomson is a linguistic acrobat... a master of mood and character."-The Times, London

From the Inside Flap

"A tight, hypnotic...fast-paced, almost cinematic narrative."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Former bouncer Barker Dodds wants nothing more than to flee his violent past for a quaint existence as a barber in London. Waif-like Glade Spencer drifts through life as a waitress at a Soho café. And ambitious marketing executive Jimmy Lyle, eager to please his new American boss, devises a revolutionary strategy for introducing a new, orange-colored beverage, Soft!, into an already oversaturated market.

In this compulsively readable psychological thriller, these three unlikely souls meet. When leaks start to develop in Lyle's highly original though, illegal strategy, Barker is paid a visit by a friend from his old life, and is soon is presented with an unthinkable dilemma. And the person with whom he now shares a destiny--unbeknownst to her--is Glade. At turns harrowing and darkly humorous, Soft! is a magnificently surreal story, and a social satire of the highest literary order.

"Stimulating and seductive.... A pulp poetic melodrama."--San Francisco Chronicle

"[A] twisted thriller that will keep you turning the pages until four in the morning."--Details
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; First Edition edition (January 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375702202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375702204
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,633,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on February 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Three unlikely characters interact in this social satire-- Glade, a passive girl with an American boyfriend; Barker, a bouncer who reads medieval history; and Jimmy, an eager young marketeer. A scheme to sell soda pop via subliminal viral marketing brings these three characters into contact and eventually conflict with evil American corporate men presiding like Mephisto over the whole debacle.
Thomson is an extremely good writer. Soft!, unfortunately, was missing something (particularly compared to his other novels-- Five Gates of Hell or The Insult) and I'm not really sure what it was. Glade may be a little too passive for us to care about, or perhaps it's that we get the feeling that he didn't care about the ending as much as he should, or maybe the satire isn't clear enough and we really can't take these characters straight. It's still better than most current novels and certainly not something I regret reading. I don't know-- I'll read it again in a month or two and see if I feel better about it.
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Format: Paperback
This turned out to live up to the jacket blurbs perfectly. It really was a hypnotic literary thriller that "pulls you in by the ankes", as one reviewer put it. Thomson is an intriguing writer with an unusual style that seems both very conventional and avant-garde at the same time. As he tells his story, he mesmerizes the reader with odd, poetic little descriptions of fairly ordinary things.

Soft! tells the tale of a secret, psychological advertising campaign gone awry, but it does not begin that way. It begins as a gritty bit of contemporary English working class realism, as bouncer Barker Dodds, heads for London for a fresh start. A strong, tough, laconic guy, he is no stranger to violence, but does not particularly enjoy it. The story then shifts to an artistic lass named Glade Spencer. She works as a waitress and carries on a long distance affair with a well-off American named Tom. She seems a bit adrift, a bit melancholy. A third major character is then brought into the story - Jimmy, a slick, ambitious, young advertiser. He works with an American boss - Raleigh Conner, another one of Thomson's polished and opaque characters. Jimmy hatches a scheme to try to promote a new, orange soft drink named Soft! by using some highly unorthodox and unethical psychological techniques. These characters eventually find themselves on a collision course.

Thomson writes in a cool, detached manner that is nonetheless never boring or lifeless. His characters speak in short snippets of dialogue that advance the plot, and go about their lives in a kind of mysterious fog. The story almost seems to be an excuse for Thomson to present his fascinating little observations and details to the reader.
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By Amazon Customer on March 10, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Creepy. I had never read this author before so I didn't know his style/genre. Once into it I couldn't put it down but I was embarrassed for wanting to know what happened.
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