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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


White Star

Robin Llywelyn

general information | our review | links | about the author

To purchase White Star

Title: White Star
Author: Robin Llywelyn
Genre: Novel
Written: 1992 (Eng. 2004)
Length: 129 pages
Original in: Welsh
Availability: White Star - US
White Star - UK
Seren Wen ar Gefndir Gwyn - UK
White Star - Canada
White Star - India
Étoile blanche sur fond blanc - France
  • Welsh title: Seren Wen ar Gefndir Gwyn
  • Translated by the author in collaboration with Gwen Davies
  • Awarded the National Eisteddfod Prose Medal, Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award, and the Welsh Academy's John Griffith Williams Memorial Prize

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Our Assessment:

B- : genial, imaginative fantasy, if somewhat simple and forced

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       White Star is a compact fantasy novel, presented in eleven "Testimony"-chapters, most of which are given by Gwern Excuses.
       It takes place in a fantastical world: there's hi-tech -- Gwern records his adventures on a "mobile processor", and sets off the story by causing an international incident by crashing the Exile States' network -- but the travels and adventures seem largely almost Chaucerian. Like much in the book, this strange world feels underdeveloped, but it is fairly wildly (if occasionally too conveniently) imagined.
       Gwern Excuses is sent off with Pilgrim World and Mad Saffron Tinker. They forge some peace and make some messes, and have a variety of adventures along the way. It's these that are the focus of the novel, recounted quickly, often off-hand, generally with a clever twist or two. But it's a mad rush of adventure in a very thin book, and there's little space given over to elaboration.
       The humour can be forced: there's considerable reliance on witty names and designations, from Grind Underfoot and Serge Power to all manner of German references (Schadenfreude Forest, Entwürdigung City, etc.), which gets to be a bit much -- especially since there's not much beyond this.
       There's clever invention here, and some fun adventures, but it's all too thin and far too fast-paced, a story that seems to skim along the surface.

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White Star: Robin Llywelyn: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Welsh author Robin Llywelyn was born in 1958.

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© 2004-2011 the complete review

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