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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction



Bleeding London

by
Geoff Nicholson


general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase Bleeding London



Title: Bleeding London
Author: Geoff Nicholson
Genre: Novel
Written: 1997
Length: 348 pages
Availability: Bleeding London - US
Bleeding London - UK
Bleeding London - Canada
London, London - Deutschland
  • Shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize

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Our Assessment:

A : clever, amusing, and most entertainingly written

See our review for fuller assessment.




Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
New Statesman . 6/6/1997 Geraldine Bedell
The NY Times A- 9/12/1997 Michiko Kakutani
The NY Times Book Rev. B 4/1/1998 J. D. Biersdorfer
Salon A- 15/10/1997 Rob Spillman
San Francisco Chronicle A 28/12/1997 Carey Harrison
Time B+ 23/6/1997 Elizabeth Gleick
TLS D 20/6/1997 Simon Beesley
The Washington Post A- 4/1/1998 Jay A. Fernandez

  From the Reviews:
  • "His Bleeding London is a dark, frayed and filthy place, perched on its proud history like a rat-infested rubbish tip atop some Roman remains. His London has a lot in common with that of Martin Amis or Iain Sinclair, filled with weird sex, arbitrary violence and obscure threat." - Geraldine Bedell, New Statesman

  • "Though many of his plot lines are ridiculously contrived, though many of his characters' antics verge on the cartoonish, Mr. Nicholson relates his story with such brio and demented charm that the reader is happy to ignore the novel's flaws, content to sit back and be entertained." - Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

  • "As Bleeding London moves toward a climax that enmeshes its three London voyagers, Nicholson proves as malicious as his contemporaries Martin Amis and Will Self, yet less of a sadist, since the novel is laugh-out-loud funny. His unsparing eye for macabre contemporary detail is a delight, and if you didn't make it to London last summer -- or even if you did -- this book offers the wickedest insider's guide you will ever own." - Carey Harrison, San Francisco Chronicle

  • "Taken on its own terms, Bleeding London is hackneyed through and through, but Nicholson is too English and too cosy a writer to be considered seriously phoney. The book is instead a bizarre and unconvincing mish-mash." - Simon Beesley, Times Literary Supplement

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       We are great admirers of Mr.Nicholson's work, and we are pleased to find he has done it again. Unlike the more ponderous London-novels of Martin Amis or the Ackroyd guy, Nicholson never forgets that his primary aim is to entertain. This is a very funny book, and a very well written one as well. Nicholson assembles his usual cast of unlikely figures and nearly lost souls, obsessive seekers, charming in their various hapless ways. An homage to London, Nicholson uses the city well in this fiction.
       The characteristics of his characters are familiar -- though always richly enough imagined to surprise anew. One, in an echo of Pynchon, carefully plots her lovemaking across London, tracing out patterns on maps. One resolves to walk every street in London in its entirety, a consuming obsession typical of Nicholson. Lives cross at the city's many intersections.
       Bleeding London is also thoughtful, and disarmingly clever (unlike many books that try to pound their message into the reader's head). We were a bit concerned to find that yet once again Nicholson tells many stories at once, the lives of the characters only rarely intersecting -- we have seen him do this too often. Nevertheless, he pulls it off beautifully. This is what popular fiction should aspire to. Highly recommended, to one and all.

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Links:

Bleeding London: Reviews: Geoff Nicholson: Other books by Geoff Nicholson under review: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of Contemporary British fiction

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About the Author:

       English author Geoff Nicholson, born in Sheffield in 1953, has written a flurry of novels. He lives in London and New York.

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