JOHN MEANEY

26.11.04

STAMPING BUTTERFLIES

Good book! It's Jon Courtenay Grimwood's latest (and from his new publisher, Gollancz). His trademarks are there: exotic locations, exotic characters, exotic sex... and, like fabulous crystals buried amid colourful minerals, the occasional perfect, elegant sentence.

Sometimes, in earlier books, Grimwood's quest for clarity might have led to language which is too sparse. (Or perhaps I'm merely seeing my own faults in his work! I'm really not sure about this...) The pace and rhythm of Stamping Butterflies are exactly right. I spent a perfect afternoon, reading the book in one sitting.

There's something odd about the way a year's work (or more) on the writer's behalf becomes an hours-long experience for the reader - except that, if the book is fine, it lives on forever in the subterranean recesses of the mind. Nice one, Mr Grimwood.

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