The Distant Sound of Violence Kindle Edition
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"This reviewer seems to recall something that was saidof Dostoevsky and how, to be successful, a novel requires an overarchingphilosophy. It is especially in this respect that Greensides's work meritsultimate recognition." - TheLiterary Reader
"Every once in a while, I finish a book, don't do anything fora while except sit and think about it. This is one of those... It's rough andviolent, but compassionate towards every character. This is one I'm definitelygoing to thrust upon my friends and family." - Sunshine Somerville, author of The Kota series
"A powerful sense of place and a sharp, nostalgic feelpervade the novel, and the supporting characters are richly drawn...anengaging, exciting and thought-provoking read that I'd strongly recommend."- Nathan Jones
"There are twists and turns, light and shade in everypage and in summation the book was a joy to read... It is without doubt askilled debut from Jason Greensides." - Boopy
About the Author
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 503 pages
- File Size : 2712 KB
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B00PP1H2F0
- Publication Date : November 27, 2014
- Page Numbers Source ISBN : 1517121361
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,611,725 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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While violence is an ever-present possibility and theme, most of the story occurs on its periphery as the two main characters, Ryan and Nathan, shuffle between personal loyalties, desires and fears. Without either sentimentality or glamour, the descriptive style of the narrative is something approaching sociological poetry - objective, concise, stark and, because of this, heartbreaking. Although there are many instances of this throughout the story, one example in particular illustrates the powerful and immediate impact of this kind of writing.
Justin, someone already immersed in gang culture, displays an almost sadistic cruelty towards his younger brother, Scott, adopting familiar bullying tactics as he does so. The backdrop to this, however, is the death of their mother and although this detail is understated (hence its force), its traumatic consequences permeate a scene in which 10 year old Scott unwittingly interrupts his brother as he's bringing down Christmas decorations from the loft. Justin has just found an angel which triggers a specific memory of both his mother and his little brother but the plastic figurine also becomes a slightly perverse source of sexual stimulation.
The psychological complexity of this short scene is staggering. Coaxing his brother into fetching the Christmas tree from the loft, Justin closes the trapdoor shut and disappears into his bedroom with the implicit intention of masturbating over the doll. His frustration and his pain and his confusion collide as he feels 'the place on the right wrist where his mum had once glued her hand back into place.' He presses down until the hand snaps off and in this split second, we feel the agonising weight of emotions which lack any effective outlet for their expression.
There is a real moral struggle involved as Justin unlocks his brother's makeshift prison and sees Scott 'sat between some boxes and crates full of his parents' stuff, curled upright in the foetal position.' Hugging his brother more tightly than anyone he's ever held before, his sense of remorse extends far beyond the confines of these cramped four walls.
The detail, care and compassion with which Greensides portrays Justin and Scott is true for all the characters in the book, no matter how they behave in the external world. It's this which marks out Greensides as a writer to watch.
At its finest, The Distant Sound of Violence combines the sparse realism of a Ken Loach film with the metaphorical resonances of a Graham Greene novel. As a result, Greensides creates an emotive and compelling story which doesn't finish as the book draws to a close but lingers, curious and haunting, in the mind.
- The author has a way of making you feel very close to characters you can't necessarily relate to. This can cause an uncomfortable feeling at times - sometimes you're glad you can't relate to them because there's something disturbing about them - but that's what comes of good writing. He draws the reader into each character and their particular plight with no tricks, awkwardness, or "author talking". Just subtle and nonchalant use of POV and in-character, natural-feeling thought processes.
- The main narrator is not an unreliable narrator, but he says things about the future in very carefully phrased ways that make you think you know what's going to happen to some degree. That narration leads the reader down the wrong path every time, not because the narrator isn't honest, but because he is careful not to give anything away at all. Every time this happened, I thought, "But didn't he say that..." and I was wrong. It was phrased so as to just tell you what you need to know and nothing more. I came to my own conclusions based on that "future talk", but he didn't actually lead me in the wrong direction. That really kept me on my toes.
- The ending is something you can't guess, and it's really an amazing perspective-changer. I can't say too much on this point, but it really makes the reader look at things from multiple angles of how everything in each person's life could have been completely different if only this one important fact had been known over a decade earlier. This alone makes the whole book a fantastic book club read because of the discussion it spurs.
- The social critique doesn't bludgeon you, it's weaved into the story in many, many ways, some of which are of some enormity and some of which are very specific and pointed. The amount and the angles of social critique in this book are more discussion points that I would love to talk about in a book group.
- The narrator doesn't work to separate the reader from the story, even as he guides you along on the journey. Sometimes he just serves to refocus you, sometimes he zooms in on something in particular, but in all cases it's done smoothly and effortlessly. He always feels like a character, not like the author telling you what to focus on.
- If you're looking for symbolism and metaphors, TDSOV offers that as well. From a figurine to the weather, the author makes sure everything works to bring meaning to the story. Words aren't wasted. If something is mentioned, it's there for a purpose.
I can't say enough about TDSOV or its author, Jason Greensides! I am eagerly awaiting his next release, which will surely be just as brilliant as this one. We've got a lot to look forward to from this author, and he's just getting started.
The Distant Sound of Violence has a very strong existentialist, picaresque flavor reminiscent of Charles Dickens. His characters are beautifully flawed. They are neglected children, delinquent teenagers, drug addicts, criminals, single parents, and gangsters. Because they are not idealized, they are more relatable to readers. A small but perfect example is how Nathan finds Stephanie’s most endearing trait is her crooked front teeth. Readers will find themselves going along with Ryan and Nathan on their separate journeys across the city to locate Aidy, a journey that costs Ryan his marriage and Nathan his mental health. I found it very difficult to put this put down. A strongly recommended read.
Top reviews from other countries
The story focuses on Nathan’s exploits in a childhood London gang, and then expands into a thoughtful and intriguing narrative of the consequences of a pivotal moment, and how it affects those closest to Nathan. The characters Nathan, Ryan, Stephanie are presented so well that you the reader truly engages with their trials of teenage struggles and beyond.
No spoilers but the story progresses fast, is clever, well-thought, and escalates rapidly towards the end’s thrilling conclusion, I was so heavily invested in the end that I had to read it way into the early hours of the morning just so I could finish it before going to sleep!
I loved the detailed London references, the reality of the gang’s speech and activity, and I truly felt the pain and anguish of Nathan, I wonder if this is based on a true story, I was invested in the story completely, the only disappointment was in learning this is Greensides only book so far! I’m ready for the next one right now.
Hugely recommend, read it now!
Yes, this book a is a little bit good. I can see why everyone is raving about it.
It covers some very heavy topics that inevitably go with gang culture, the constant circle of violence, drugs and revenge. It also looks into the backgrounds of the broken individuals, how they get a high, or even a little escape from the abuse they will have to carry for the rest of their lives.
But this book does not get weighed down in it. It does not go out of its way to glorify these topics, nor does it make villains of them all. It is simply told, mainly from the viewpoints of Ryan and Nathan - you will be hooked.
Ryan and Nathan are fantastic characters (especially oddball Nathan). I think the opening page says it all, as they chat about a stolen lawnmower - as all good friendships start!
Nathan in particular has such an endearing feel about him, you can't help but root for him to get the girl and have every success. I also loved his relationship with Aidy, being the very protective big brother for the random lad.
The first half of the book feels more like a coming of age story, with the characters in a difficult background, and first loves and best friends.
This smoothly builds to be the perfect platform for a mysterious disappearance, which is absolutely heart-wrenching. It was captivating to see how everyone went on from that point, who got on with their lives, and who didn't.
The way it concluded was perfect. It wasn't all about a happy ending, it was simply the beginning of the next part of their lives. I also loved how Greensides makes the point that sometimes, simply having an answer is enough.
Go buy it. Now.
The story centers on fifteen year old orphan Ryan, an average kid trying to keep his head down until exams, while at the same time keeping his girlfriend and the conservative-minded aunt he lives with happy. His life is thrown off kilter however, when he is hesitantly drawn into a friendship with Nathan Dawes, a fellow pupil who's oddball mentality, criminal connections and philosophical obsessions have made him a social pariah to anyone but the gang of petty crooks he consorts with.
Narrated by Ryan, with the wisdom of hindsight as he looks back on events spiraling beyond his control, it is easy to see how he becomes so easily pulled into Nathan's circle; he's a vibrant character with a hapless, lost charm that is as compelling to the reader as it is to Ryan. Nathan is in love with Stephanie, a girl far outside of his league, and he believes Ryan's help is the only thing that can help him win her over and attain him the life he dreams of. Nathan's longing is poignantly described and his earnestness and helplessness in this area resolves Ryan to his cause and us along with him.
The specter of predeterminism looms over events as the characters navigate the trials of adolescence and Ryan and Nathan find themselves dealing with a heart-wrenching mystery that will haunt them into a no less turbulent adulthood.
A powerful sense of place and a sharp, nostalgic feel for time pervade the novel and the supporting cast of characters are richly drawn, Stephanie in particular, who might have been a canvas upon which to project Nathan's desires, is depicted with a depth and feeling that makes her at times the most relatable character. Her growth and the development of her relationship with Nathan provides another, moving aspect to an engaging, exciting and thought provoking read that I'd strongly recommend.
I don't believe in reviewing the plot line... if you want to know that you'll have to download your own copy :-) Happy reading!!!
Exceptional character development allowing me to really identify yourself with each of them. Very well written with many twists which kept me engaged consistently and I completed this book within a day of picking it up! I will definitely be looking forward to the next book and congratulations to the Author on a fantastic debut book.