The Clothes on Their Backs

by Linda Grant | Women's Fiction |
ISBN: 9781844085415 Global Overview for this book
Registered by tqd of Sydney, New South Wales Australia on 9/14/2008
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This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!
12 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by tqd from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Sunday, September 14, 2008
My contribution to Fleebo's Annual Booker Prize Shortlist Reading Challenge. This book has been shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize.

Participants on this ring TBA.

Journal Entry 2 by tqd from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Sunday, January 11, 2009
Currently reading (and rather enjoying) this one.

Recipient list (order subject to change without notice):

Sujie
FreePages
star-light
miss-jo
goodthinkingmax
Fleebo
livrecache
jubby

Journal Entry 3 by tqd from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I seem to have run out of time to write a proper review! I did enjoy this book, I thought the story was interesting (and had a nice slow start that just suckered me in), the characters were realistic, and it was well-written.

I particularly liked the parallels between Sandor's experiences in WW2 Hungary, the rise of ultranationalism in 1970s Britain, and the current terrorism culture. (The more things change...)

It does I found the ending not quite as dramatic as I thought it was going to be, which left me slightly disappointed. Not because it left with some unfinished answers, because life does that. I'm not sure how to express it, it's sort of like it all ended with a flurry of stuff happening offstage, which left me slightly confused.

However, overall this was a great read, I really enjoyed it, and I'd like to read more of her works (one day!).

I have sujie's address, the book is all bundled up, and I'll drop it in a mailbox this lunchtime.

UPDATE 19 Feb 2009: because sujie mentioned eco-libris: www.ecolibris.net. A great idea! (And you can get bookmooch points through them...)

Journal Entry 4 by tqd at Balmain, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Released 11 yrs ago (1/21/2009 UTC) at Balmain, New South Wales Australia

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Popped in the post to sujie today.

Happy reading!

Journal Entry 5 by Sujie from Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales Australia on Sunday, February 01, 2009
Arrived a couple of days ago....and then I mislaid it. Quel horreur!, I panicked. tqd might kill me! After 48 hours of upending my house and car and studio I found it in my absent daughter's bedroom. Hmm...gremlins at work.
Looking forward to reading this, thanks tqd.
Interesting eco-libris sticker on back- I haven't heard of them.

Journal Entry 6 by Sujie from Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I do so agree with you about the ending, tqd. I like your backstage metaphor. I have a list of books (in my head) that seem to wrap up endings sketchily - a whole lot of facts hastily crammed into the last few pages - the thing is that nothing seems really resolved. Endings are the hardest thing, aren't they?
However her style and characterisation - wonderful! I didn't like anyone particularly in this novel(perhaps Eunice) but her writing swept me along.
Thanks for the book and the eco-libris info, tqd.
PMing freepages.

Journal Entry 7 by FreePages from Canberra, Australian Capital Territory Australia on Sunday, February 22, 2009
Caught!

Yay, the first of the 2008 shortlist that's got to me :-)
Looking forward to it and I'll start it tonight. Thanks Sujie, that was a good win against the house gremlins :-)
Thanks tqd for the ring :-)

Journal Entry 8 by FreePages from Canberra, Australian Capital Territory Australia on Sunday, March 01, 2009
Great read, thanks for the experience.
Bit tongue-tied about this book, very hard to write something about it!
I did find the characters engaging tho'.


I have star-light's address, it will head off in the post to her in the morning.


Journal Entry 9 by FreePages at Canberra, Australian Capital Territory Australia on Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (3/3/2009 UTC) at Canberra, Australian Capital Territory Australia

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Finally, in the post today :-)

Enjoy

Journal Entry 10 by star-light from Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Friday, March 06, 2009
Arrived today. Thanks!

Journal Entry 11 by star-light from Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I thought this was good, but not great. There were descriptions of clothes early on which made me wish there were pictures. The story was interesting enough to keep me turning pages, but it was nothing special. I agree with what others have said about the ending. I was travelling along nicely...then all of a sudden things came from nowhere and left me kind of confused.

Posted to miss-jo earlier today.

Journal Entry 12 by miss-jo from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Thursday, March 26, 2009
Arrived safely. I've got a lovely quiet weekend planned, so hopefully I'll start this tomorrow.

Journal Entry 13 by miss-jo from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Oh dear! On the very first page the author misused the word 'which' and my opinion of the book never entirely recovered from there. The characters were interesting, I cared enough to be upset that poor Eunice was gypped (how selfish is Dad??), the two versions of the immigrant experience were thought-provoking... but my main memory of it a week after I finished was that word. Pathetic, aren't I?

I know that jubby's been a bit overwhelmed with bookrings so I'll pm her and see if she'd prefer to be skipped for now.

Eta, jubby sent a very funny pm asking to be skipped. Tqd, can you drop her down the list?

Journal Entry 14 by goodthinkingmax from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Received from miss-jo over drinks with the Sydney Bookcrossers. A very pleasant evening. This one joins the other 4 Booker books in the pile.

Journal Entry 15 by goodthinkingmax from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Monday, April 20, 2009
Seven stars from me too and mixed reactions. I enjoyed this but there was no regret when I finished the last chapter. I remained at a distance from the characters throughout and did not feel compassionate towards them but kept thinking I should care more. I did go back and read the first chapter to conclude, just to refresh the final encounter between Vivien and Eunice. From the title and back cover, I think I expected a bit more from the clothes metaphor, although the clothes were wonderfully described and helped evoke the characters' personality and appearance. I found the descriptions of 1970s London and pre war Hungary and the characters' reactions to events very interesting. At times Linda Grant used the most wonderful phrases and I re-read sentences but at other times the writing was a little cliched.

I will contact fleebo and see if she wants me to post the book or hold onto it until the next Sydney Bookcrossers' catchup.

Journal Entry 16 by Fleebo on Saturday, July 25, 2009
Received from goodthinkingmax. Thanks!

Journal Entry 17 by Fleebo on Thursday, November 12, 2009
Entertaining and readable, but I'm not sure what the author wanted me to feel. Never mind. A good, interesting story, if not gripping.

Journal Entry 18 by Fleebo on Sunday, November 15, 2009
On its way to livrecache by mail.

Journal Entry 19 by livrecache from Hobart, Tasmania Australia on Friday, November 20, 2009
Safely received, and thanks so much for the BC Brisbane convention pen.

Now that Miss-Jo has mentioned the misuse of 'which' I'll be ever so vigilant! I spend much of my editing life correcting misusage of the language (don't get me started!), and 'which' is one of my pet peeves. I usually try not to edit while I'm reading for recreation, but force of habit often makes me do so, particularly if the plot or the characterisation isn't strong.

I have four bookrings ahead of this, so I might be some time . . . I'll be as quick as I can though.

Journal Entry 20 by livrecache at Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Wednesday, June 02, 2010
I'm sorry I've held on to this bookring for so long. Life is a little out of control at the moment. I didn't even read it, I'm afraid.
I'll post it to jubby today.

Journal Entry 21 by livrecache at Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Wednesday, June 02, 2010
PS. I hate the BC format now, or is it just that I'm not used to it?

Journal Entry 22 by livrecache at Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Released 9 yrs ago (6/2/2010 UTC) at Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia

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On its way to another bookcrosser. I hope you enjoy it.

Journal Entry 23 by jubby at Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Monday, June 07, 2010
Received in the post today.

Thank you Livrecache and TQD. Have a few other books to read before hand, but plan to get to shortly.

Journal Entry 24 by jubby at Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Now, I should admit that I don't have this book with me anymore, and am writing this while I'm meant to be getting dinner ready in the kitchen, so you know right off that this is going to be even more rushed and slapped dashed then usual from me...

I was very much interested in the Hungarian WWII and immigrant stories, and was intrigued to read this one, so was pleased when I received this one in the post from Livrecache.

And, I have to say that I did find that Linda Grant had done her research (and surprised to read that she thanked Anthony Beavor in the afterword), but as Goodthinkingmax wrote, it did feel a bit clichéd.

And while there were passages that were well crafted, it did feel that the whole clothes and class identification bit was a little laboured.

This would make a great book if you were stuck in a waiting room, or laying beside a pool - not expecting too much, and wanting a quick read (think Joanne Harris). But, I was expecting a wee bit more from a book that was long listed for the Booker Prize 2008, and (according to the blurb) from an Orange Prize writer winner!

Thank you very much for sharing this book with me TQD. I think I have finally finished reading the books from our 2008 Booker Challenge... well, all but 'A fraction of the whole', but that is another story.

And finally, Miss-jo and Livrecache you freak me out with your mentions of bad grammar and word mis-use. I am guilty of that most days of the week. Eeek!

Journal Entry 25 by jubby at Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Released 9 yrs ago (6/30/2010 UTC) at Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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Returned to TQD over a lovely lunch.

Thank you again.

Journal Entry 26 by tqd at Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Thanks everyone! This book has had a great journey, and is now back having a rest at my home. And then, who knows!

Journal Entry 27 by AussieChris at Sydney CBD, New South Wales Australia on Monday, May 09, 2016
Picked up at meetup.

Interesting literary novel. Easy to read. Flows well. I didn't like reading the details about the war, though. There are some quite unpleasant bits in it. And I agree that the ending is odd.

Journal Entry 28 by wingFlightwing at Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Picked up at the May 2016 Sydney BookCrossingMeetUp, at the Crown Hotel, 162 Elizabeth St, in the upstairs Library Bar. Pub food available. Closest train stations are Museum and Central.

The Sydney CBD BookCrossing MeetUp happens on the second Tuesday of the month from 7pm (or a bit earlier) to 9pm (or whenever the conversation winds down). Just bring a book to release.

Journal Entry 29 by wingFlightwing at Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Well, this has been my long weekend read. I enjoyed, and agree with the comments generally. I guess I read it a bit more as a 'finding oneself' novel ('bildungsroman') and took the European story more as background and context, though that was not the author's intention.

I was surprised it was on the Booker shortlist. A book with an ending that just sort of peters out is more often a second tier book.

Still, recommended!

Journal Entry 30 by davemurray101 at Granville, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, August 09, 2016
Picked up at the Sydney bookcrossers meeting.

Journal Entry 31 by wingFlightwing at Crown Hotel/Upstairs Library Bar in Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Released 3 yrs ago (8/9/2016 UTC) at Crown Hotel/Upstairs Library Bar in Sydney, New South Wales Australia

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Released at the August 2016 Sydney BookCrossingMeetUp, at the Crown Hotel, 162 Elizabeth St, in the upstairs Library Bar. Pub food available. Closest train stations are Museum and Central.
The Sydney CBD BookCrossing MeetUp happens on the second Tuesday of the month from 7pm (or a bit earlier) to 9pm (or whenever the conversation winds down). Just bring a book to release.

Journal Entry 32 by davemurray101 at YHA Railway Square in Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Friday, September 28, 2018

Released 1 yr ago (9/28/2018 UTC) at YHA Railway Square in Sydney, New South Wales Australia

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Released at the Railway square yha

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