Guardian Review

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Guardian Review

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar, reviewed by Frank Cottrell Boyce

As usual, exemplary reviewing from FBC... cunning enticement :)

The book feels like one long, deadpan dare, as though Sachar has made a bet with himself that he can make the most boring setting thrilling. The American cover even has the cheek to show a young man who has fallen asleep reading. Sachar has Alton admit that he couldn't finish Moby-Dick because he got bored with all the detail. The implication is that Sachar can do what Melville couldn't do. But can he? The genius of Sachar's prose is that it's so plain and unshowy you don't notice the daredevil artistry of his storytelling until it's too late. You don't know you've been cut in half until you try to walk away.

Reading his books is like being hustled in a card game by someone who seems straight-talking and modest but who turns out to be a virtuoso card sharp. So is The Cardturner one big bluff or is he really holding all the trumps? I don't want to spoil it for you but he does something towards the end of this book that I can't imagine anyone else even trying to get away with. As Uncle Lester might say, nicely played, Louis. FRANK COTTRELL BOYCE

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on July 24, 2010 9:34 AM.

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