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Showing 1-10 of 91 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 219 reviews
on September 7, 2017
Uggh, I pushed on through but couldn't make it to the end. Pointless, overly descriptive, cliche to the point of making me skimm repeatedly. Lots of potential that never got off the ground. I made it past the 2/3 mark and tossed it. Let me know if they somehow rescued all those pages of punishment with some magnificent end.
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on April 30, 2014
I picked up this book expecting an easy read of post apocalyptic badassery. I was looking for an easy read with a great story.

What I got was even more than I had hoped for. It was beautiful. Deep while being witty. Heavy while being light.

And unpredictable. You think after years of reading that you can anticipate most twists and turns authors can throw at you. I can honestly promise that this story will keep you on your toes and wanting more the entire way through.

This is a book with clever, lovable characters and a deceptively complex plot line.

Truly a must read.
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on September 5, 2015
At one point in this book everything that I thought I understood changed. I was baffled. How could this be? What in the heck was the author doing? I was too far in to give up so I kept reading. I learned that everything was supposed to change because that's the way the story was. So if you're comfortable with a story like that; then you'll enjoy this one.
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on September 26, 2014
Nick Harkaway has written an epic work that bridges genre, combining and reaching across science fiction, history, culture, technology in a context of finely portrayed relationships. Within one creative action sequence after another, Harkaway's characters gain depth and the dimension of actual lives, exploring the limits of what it means to be human. Every ending is just a beginning, every impossible situation resolved just a component of an even larger story. More of a immersive journey than a novel, Harkaway leads us forward in a constantly deepening, constantly unfolding world and characters described with jewel-like intensity and detail. His imagination seems boundless and his emotional disclosure and vulnerability upends the traditions of hard science fiction. A great book!
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on May 15, 2015
I don't want to describe this. It's one of those books you read at a formative age and never forget. My formative age is 66, so make of that what you will. Great writing, great concept(s), funny, ripping yarn, thought-provoking to the max. I have already re-read parts of it and probably will read the whole thing again more slowly this time.
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on July 20, 2013
If I had to give people one book to read all year this would be it. Our narrator has been with his best buddy Gonzo all his life, yet he and Gonzo are almost complete opposites. Where Gonzo is bold, brash, and charming our hero is more introspective. Yet they share a world. They attend primary together where our narrator helps to keep Gonzo in line. They study martial arts together yet while Gonzo excels in the hard style, our narrator finds that the soft style of the Voiceless Dragon suits him better. In college, they drift apart a bit yet circumstances lead them to serve in the same unit in the army - and that is where they are when the Gone Away bomb goes off.

It is after all of this exposition that the book becomes magical. Take a dash of dystopian literature, a hint of punk, Kung Fu, and one of the more interesting and surprising plot twists I have read and you get this wonder of a book.

Write more Harkaway! Loving what you've got so far.
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on July 12, 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, did not want to put it down at all. In fact, when I finished it, my first though was "I have to read this again!" The writing is strong, the characters are enjoyable, and the story is so much fun. It's a wild ride with lots of absurdity and a twist ending that I never saw coming. Every book that I've read since I finished this one has paled in comparison.

Although the events in this story are crazy and wildly unreasonable, the nameless point-of-view character is so human and relatable that it keeps you grounded in the story.
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on November 7, 2013
World War 3 has been fought using quantum weaponry that has disturbed the fabric of space time, etc., etc., and shall we say profoundly affected our unnamed protagonist. The Gone Away World is a generally successful stapling-together of the unreliable narrator trope with a kinder, gentler, Fight Club and an anti-corporate-think diatribe in an apocalypse-framed sometimes-war-movie setting, with literary aspirations that make it almost an instant classic. The writing style seems for most of the book kind of nervously verbose, and later we better understand the hero’s reference frame and why his recollections are so desperately eidetic. The ending seems a bit rushed and could have been a bit more fleshed out. But overall the pacing and construction of the story and denouements is fairly well matched to the author’s yarn-spinning powers. I will check out his next work.
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on February 14, 2011
A really good science fiction novel should probably make you feel like you're on some bad trip. Half a drop too much of the brown acid, and you know that the mind altering worlds of Philip K. Dick [...] or Kurt Vonnegut [...] are going to make you feel slightly nauseous, but immediately addicted.

The same can be said for the relatively new author Nick Harkaway, whose debut novel The Gone-Away World is just as mind bending and queasy as those created by the former authors.

Like any half decent sci-fi novel, this tome (at over 500 pages) isn't your standard futuristic, robotic infused adventure. Tilt it one way and it's a boyhood friendship between the nameless protagonist and his childhood buddy Gonzo Lubisch. Tilt it another way, and there's a pleasing love story narrative. Stare at it front on though and it's a topsy turvy adventure novel that takes in a plethora of exploits involving characters that range from Pencil Neck Authorities, a Mime Troop, a Nameless Bar Man, a Malevolent Mechanic, a hell like place full of people called K and some giant killer bees.

There are also a lot of Ninja's. A brilliant amount of Ninja's! And after reading this, you're sure that a Ninja would make most books a tad more interesting. As Harkaway explains on his website "Very few serious books have ninjas. This is one of them. It's also a comedy, of course, because serious things are funny."

So what's the gist of the novel? At it's core is the global destruction caused by the Gone-Away War, whereby a series of annihilating bombs that make things Go Away have destroyed most forms of human life as we know it, save for pockets of post-apocalyptic survivors. When the one Pipeline that is the backbone of survival ignites, it sets off a chain of events that involve our nameless hero and his band of renegade trouble shooters.

Harkaway himself admits that his novel is impossible to explain, and quite often you'll find yourself sinking in a convoluted story of confusing characters and scenes, that are built on a fantastic use of language sans the appropriate amount of coherency. The beauty of this novel is that just as your mind gets ready to explode in confusion, tidbits of information are woven into the confusion, and Harkaway weaves together a satisfying, conclusion to the tale.

Cross Posted from my blog:
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on January 23, 2015
Harkaway has drawn up a masterwork on this one. Powerfully funny, deeply moving, and a bit of a bender; it has everything it needs to have and nothing it doesn't. The writing was poignant; Harkaway is one of the few authors who's ever been able to put in words a feeling I've always had but never been able to articulate. This is one I'll probably come back to and read again, simply to take the adventure one more time.
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