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Songs from the Other Side of the Wall by [Holloway, Dan]
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Songs from the Other Side of the Wall Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Length: 218 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 718 KB
  • Print Length: 218 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: November 27, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003LN1UBG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,178,759 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

By Asa C. Page on September 27, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
I don't have the time to spend whiling away reading books I don't like. I was, until I finished Songs From the Other Side of The Wall, fairly sure I'd never give anything less than a three star rating because I was fairly sure I wouldn't finish anything with a rating lower than that. And then I finished it. I'll keep it at three stars, because it's very well written, but I've got some serious concerns about this as a story.

Let me start with the good things: Holloway can really write. He's handy with his words. The book is detail and image rich, and they are in the service of the plot, rather than the other way around. He's done a remarkably good job of creating a teen-age lesbian, which since he's a middle aged man, I'm fairly certain that's something he's never been. Sandrine is, for a teen girl, engaging, and for a coming of age story, has some stuff to actually be angsty about. This is not just whining for the sake of whining. I tend to think part of the reason coming of age stories are so frequently Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Historical is because those conventions make it easy to manufacture crucibles in which to create adults. This very real world, very now, set book did a good job of creating a situation to push Sandrine out of childhood towards adulthood, which is hard to do without falling into the whine whine whine of traditional adolescent angst.

The book is simultaneously very European, while being very true to the humanity of anyone who reads it. What I know about Hungary, the cutting edge of radical art/politics, music, and wine can pretty much fill a good sized thimble. Yet the book is well enough written to deal with all of these things without leaving me behind.

The bad: The plot twist.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Songs from the Other Side of the Wall is an intricately layered examination of the nature of time, love, and reality. This is not a book for those who want to feel comfortable in the solidity of things, for Holloway upends the notion that reality is independent of our experience of it. When a young woman is murdered in an act of terrorism, she leaves behind a perfect, unconsummated love. The effect of this loss gives shape to the novel, and serves as a catalyst for characters to examine the other losses in their lives. Songs is not a bleak book, although it could have been. There is grief, as there must be when a life ends. There is also hope, and the determination to make something out of the loss. The narrator transmutes the pain of her mourning into art, but it is not just one piece of art, but a living exhibit that changes as the narrator grows in understanding, acceptance, and self-knowledge. Songs from the Other Side of the Wall is a literary gem, and is a book I highly recommend.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a hard book to review, for a simple summary of the plot doesn't really do it justice; this is a book where mood and tone of voice are more important. (That's not to say there isn't a plot - there is, and it's a good one.) There's some obvious influences like Murakami and Coupland, but for me the key comparison was Salinger, in the way the author turns a teenager's enthusiasms, slang and naivety into something hard-edged yet lyrical. It's a testament to the skill of the author that the words always seem like they belong to the hugely likeable heroine, a teenage lesbian sculptor, even though from the author photo Dan Holloway is none of these things...

There are some flaws - brief off-notes where the dialogue is a shade to pretentious or whimsical to be true - but such is the compelling nature of the main character's voice you're easily carried over these small blips. I guess the main test of a book is whether after finishing it you would read more by the same author - and on this evidence that's a resounding yes from me.
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