Saturday 7 May 2016

BREADLINE by Alain Dizerens

3 out of 5 stars


On Amazon UK HERE
On Goodreads HERE

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber's Review Team

Hmm - a strange one!  It's not very long, probably novelette or short novella length, a memoir of the jobs taken on by the author, from experience of Vietnam, to a distributor for washing powder samples, a nightwatchman, and time on a kibbutz.

The whole presentation is quite 'experimental', a series of memory snapshots with little to link them together.  It needs editing, for sure, and the style is eccentric, but it's not without charm.  I liked some parts, like the author's take on pretentious art critics he encountered while working as a caretaker at a Picasso exhibition, and the banal attitude of the masses who passed by the works of art as if they were wallpaper or worse, and I very much liked his observation about how, when returning from Vietnam, even things like being able to switch on a light or sit in a comfortable chair felt like luxuries, but how quickly one got used to them, and began to complain about stuff that didn't matter, again...

This books reminded me of the early days of self-publishing on Kindle, before writers were urged to make their books conform to professional standards, and to be aware of their market; I imagine that with some re-drafting, more detail and a more enticing cover this would appeal to the reader who seeks the unconventional.  


  1. Always good to see what you consider in a review, Terry. Especially if we agree!

    1. Aha - that's me shooting over to read yours, any minute!! I know - I couldn't say I disliked this, it just wasn't anywhere near ready for publication. Rather this than something perfectly presented with no spark, though.

    2. .... just read it! You are always less critical than me in reviews, I know; I love that you zeroed in on the observations about the Picasso exhibition, too - that bit was so sharp! Could have been so much better, though; sometimes I think humorous writing needs the most fine tuning of all, to make the humour work.

  2. I do tend to be less critical, and you have a great point about humor needing to be on point to work! I think this may be the first book we had a fairly wide disagreement on!

    1. I think it's because I judge books in comparison with the best books I've read, trad pub or otherwise, whereas some judge in the same way they might at a creative writing critique class, for instance, which is always going to be more generous! It's a good thing we're all different.