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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

The Islands

Carlos Gamerro

[an overview of the reviews and critical reactions]

general information | review summaries | links | about the author

To purchase The Islands

Title: The Islands
Author: Carlos Gamerro
Genre: Novel
Written: 1998 (Eng. 2012)
Length: 548 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: The Islands - US
Las islas - US
The Islands - UK
The Islands - Canada
The Islands - India
Las islas - España
  • Spanish title: Las islas
  • Translated by Ian Barnett
  • With an Introduction by Jimmy Burns

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Why we haven't reviewed it yet:

Gave it over two hundred pages, but finally ran out of steam; appealing thriller elements to go with interesting (and amusing) portrait of continued Falklands/Malvinas-war obsessions in Argentina and the toll that defeat took, but ultimately just spins its wheels a little too much and hard

Chances that we will review it:

Might return to it at some point

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Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Guardian . 19/7/2012 Nick Caistor
The Independent . 9/6/2012 Martin Schifino
Independent on Sunday . 27/5/2012 Tom Bunstead
The Nation . 28/1/2013 Jonathan Blitzer
The Observer . 18/8/2012 Anthony Cummins
TLS . 22/6/2012 Lorna Scott Fox

  Review Consensus:

  Occasionally bewildering and somewhat longwinded, but impressive

  From the Reviews:
  • "Like many Argentinian films, The Islands has something of the kitchen-sink tendency about it, as it lurches from dystopian nightmares to diary accounts, from the gripping realism of fog-drenched battle to the reverse fairytale with which the book ends. In general, though, Gamerro's powers of invention draw readers on, anxious to know where we will be taken next." - Nick Caistor, The Guardian

  • "What stars as an investigation in cyberspace, and in a cyberpunk vein, descends to the streets as the information proves elusive. Do not expect a noirish novel with gentle realistic touches. Gamerro pushes towards satire and hyperbole. (...) The Islands is not a well-mannered novel, but it deploys bad taste conscientiously, using the negative force of taboos, scatology, profanity and the depiction of violence. If there is a weakness, it lies mainly with the characters, who are largely archetypical, and have archetypal conflicts." - Martin Schifino, The Independent

  • "(T)his genre-mash of a novel blends the conventions of sci-fi, hard-boiled and drug fiction but is overwhelmingly a historical work." - Tom Bunstead, Independent on Sunday

  • "The Islands, like the era, could have used more regulation at points. It is swollen with speechmaking and ranting. Translator Ian Barnett acquits himself well under the circumstances. Gamerro, evidently aware that many of his characters spew cascading, self-justifying gibberish, nonetheless seems loath to interrupt them." - Jonathan Blitzer, The Nation

  • "(T)his weird and wonderful thriller (.....) (I)t's rife with surreal horror and rampant bad taste, coming across as something like a William Gibson novel narrated with the vitriol of Céline's wartime classic Journey to the End of the Night." - Anthony Cummins, The Observer

  • "(A) lacerating comedy about the psychosis of defeat. (...) The reader is dragged headlong by Barnett’s athletic translation through sci-fi, fantasy, allegory, political satire, hallucination and the delirious realism that is the best lens for war. We share the narrator’s bewilderment at times. But the genres are linked by a highly addictive comic voice, its peaks of hectic farce underlaid by a delicate, deadpan absurdism. (...) There can be no happy ending to this stunning novel, just a deeply affecting compromise." - Lorna Scott Fox, 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 Islands: Reviews: Carlos Gamerro: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Argentine author Carlos Gamerro was born in 1962.

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© 2013-2021 the complete review

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