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the Complete Review
the complete review - non-fiction


Bran Nicol

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To purchase Stalking

Title: Stalking
Author: Bran Nicol
Genre: Non-fiction
Written: 2006
Length: 146 pages
Availability: Stalking - US
Stalking - UK
Stalking - Canada

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Our Assessment:

B : solid overview

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Guardian . 18/11/2006 Steven Poole

  From the Reviews:
  • "Particularly intriguing is his identification of a line of inheritance from the Baudelairean flaneur, to Poe's prototypical detective, to the modern-day stalker: all creatures of "the crowd", and of the modern metropolis, which enforce a combination of anonymity and intimacy, grist to the stalker's mill." - Steven Poole, The Guardian

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:

       Stalking, Bran Nicol notes, is hardly a new pheneomenon, but it is one that that in recent years has attracted much greater attention. And only recently have laws been formulated to deal specifically with this odd behaviour, for example. More significantly, our celebrity culture has helped both feed the phenomenon, and led to much more widespread coverage of it.
       Nicol's Stalking provides many examples, both from real-life as well as movies and books, making for an effective overview of the phenomenon. As he notes, stalking fascinates both because it is so simple -- for the most part, the stalker engages in activity that is, in isolation, everyday and essentially harmless (a phone call, a letter) -- and because it can happen to anyone. And while the stalker's obsession goes much further than that of the everyday fan, most people can recognise a bit of that obsessive feeling about someone else in themselves -- they just don't act on it in this way. A stalker's attention is, almost invariably, unwanted, and yet many people do clamour for attention: the celebrity needs the fans, the lover wants the love, etc. And, of course, there's a perverse fascination about the extremes to which a stalker will go, the sheer number of phone calls, the desperate need for proximity, the will to make oneself part of another's life.
       Nicol does a good job of describing the variations of stalking -- and particularly the reception and depiction of stalking in art, and why audiences are drawn to it. From stalking as an urban phenomenon -- the anonymity of the city and the masses giving rise to the possibility of such behaviour on a much greater scale -- to the complex interplay of celebrity culture and reality, where the concept of 'fame' has taken on such importance (and where being a stalker of the famous can itself bring fame ....), the book provides a good overview of the rise and spread of stalking in contemporary society.
       It's a creepy subject matter, but Nicol gets at much of what has made it so prominent in recent years, both to the public and to those who engage in the activity. Interesting, and a solid little overview of most of the facets of this phenomenon.

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Stalking: Reviews: Bran Nicol: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Bran Nicol was born in 1969. He teaches at the University of Surrey.

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© 2006-2021 the complete review

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