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By Marie Valentin
Jun 5, 2013
Delightfully thought-provoking. Malvern takes you out of the comfort zone of well-established and convenient political truths. It holds you until the end. You become somehow a character of the book, somehow the author of the story line behind the emails. More than a political satire, it is a complete novel about a man, and somehow about Man. About rulers and ruled. Manipulators and manipulated. Friends and hypocrites. A brother and his sister. A father and his son. A man and his past.
Malvern is like a box of chocolates cleverly disguised as emails: You try one, then you try the next, and before you know it you can't stop yourself. The use of emails between the whole cast of characters is deceptively simple, the modern equivalent to the epistolary novel that functions as an echo chamber as you read through the earlier dispatches much as you would an actual email. It's as though each new episode comes brandishing its resume, forcing you to travel again through the immediate past to put the latest developments into context. It's a unique device with a modern twist, constantly bringing you back in touch with characters and story lines as you move through the maze Nick Baam has created. Malvern is funny, sexy, sad and brazen. And it's something of a satisfying literary payback for all those jobs lost because you couldn't kiss ass, for all the loves on the rocks because you couldn't lie even though you wanted to, and for all the conspiracies in America that were never... More > theoretical at all, but pure, full-frontal abuses of power by those who bank on never getting called to account ... until now. Malvern is much larger than its 208 pages and leaves you looking a bit differently at the world around you. And like all really good books, it leaves you wanting more.< Less
I thought all the different emails, characters and sub-plots would be very distracting but it wasn't at all. It was funny, full of energy and I couldn't put it down. It's easier to read in book form, than on the web. I read it in a few hours then read it again the next day!
Lively, funny, raw and real. I was initially wary of the format of this book (the entire novel takes place through emails), but was completely hooked within the first few pages. That the characters were so well fleshed out without the benefit of the voice of a narrator is a testament to the wit of this author. A quick and engrossing read that manages to be evocative and thought-provoking as well. Bravo!
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