counter create hit Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals: From the Creator of the hit TV-show Succession - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals: From the Creator of the hit TV-show Succession

Availability: Ready to download

It’s 1994 and the former Yugoslavia is being torn apart. In England, a gang of good-hearted young people are about to set off in a Ford Transit van armed with several sacks of rice and a half-written play. A play which will light a beacon of peace across the Balkans and, very probably, stop the war. Andrew would love to stop the war. He has one of the most comprehensively d It’s 1994 and the former Yugoslavia is being torn apart. In England, a gang of good-hearted young people are about to set off in a Ford Transit van armed with several sacks of rice and a half-written play. A play which will light a beacon of peace across the Balkans and, very probably, stop the war. Andrew would love to stop the war. He has one of the most comprehensively developed personal foreign policies of anyone working on a building site in the Greater Manchester area. He feels everyone should have a foreign policy, really. What sort of person doesn’t have a foreign policy? But what he’d like to do – maybe even more than stopping the war – is sleep with Penny, who he is pretty sure might be the love of his life. But does Penny like him? Or does she love Simon, his rival, an irritatingly authentic Geordie poet? Or Shannon, the fierce, inspiring American leader of the troupe? Who exactly loves who? And what’s the safest way to make it out of a minefield should you accidentally wander into one? And what do you talk to a mercenary about? And is a bad thing really a bad thing if it maybe leads to a good thing? It could all take a while to work out, as the gang cross Europe and head into the war zone.


Compare
Ads Banner

It’s 1994 and the former Yugoslavia is being torn apart. In England, a gang of good-hearted young people are about to set off in a Ford Transit van armed with several sacks of rice and a half-written play. A play which will light a beacon of peace across the Balkans and, very probably, stop the war. Andrew would love to stop the war. He has one of the most comprehensively d It’s 1994 and the former Yugoslavia is being torn apart. In England, a gang of good-hearted young people are about to set off in a Ford Transit van armed with several sacks of rice and a half-written play. A play which will light a beacon of peace across the Balkans and, very probably, stop the war. Andrew would love to stop the war. He has one of the most comprehensively developed personal foreign policies of anyone working on a building site in the Greater Manchester area. He feels everyone should have a foreign policy, really. What sort of person doesn’t have a foreign policy? But what he’d like to do – maybe even more than stopping the war – is sleep with Penny, who he is pretty sure might be the love of his life. But does Penny like him? Or does she love Simon, his rival, an irritatingly authentic Geordie poet? Or Shannon, the fierce, inspiring American leader of the troupe? Who exactly loves who? And what’s the safest way to make it out of a minefield should you accidentally wander into one? And what do you talk to a mercenary about? And is a bad thing really a bad thing if it maybe leads to a good thing? It could all take a while to work out, as the gang cross Europe and head into the war zone.

30 review for Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals: From the Creator of the hit TV-show Succession

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Brookfield

    Jesse Armstrong is a very funny man. I know that, not just because he is one of the script-writing luminaries behind The Peep Show and The Thick of It, but because I attended a reading in my local bookshop when he was doing the rounds promoting 'Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals' last autumn. He read a couple of hilarious extracts, and was extremely engaging and witty in answering my and other listeners' questions. On the back of that I bought the book (signed of course!). However, I fear Jesse Armstrong is a very funny man. I know that, not just because he is one of the script-writing luminaries behind The Peep Show and The Thick of It, but because I attended a reading in my local bookshop when he was doing the rounds promoting 'Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals' last autumn. He read a couple of hilarious extracts, and was extremely engaging and witty in answering my and other listeners' questions. On the back of that I bought the book (signed of course!). However, I fear I can now state with some authority, that the passages Jesse Armstrong read out that night are the stand-out best bits in an otherwise meandering and rather unrewarding story. In fact, I feel a bit as one does when some fabulous trailers in a cinema have enticed a viewing of an otherwise mediocre film. Frustratingly, the starting point of the novel is wonderful: Guy falls for Hot Girl, so hot that he signs up to a crazy idea of taking a 'peace play' to a war-torn part of eastern Europe, claiming in the process that he is fluent in Serbo-Croat, purely so he can devote himself to winning the affections of said Hot Girl. Indeed, the episode where our hero is called upon to demonstrate his supposed fluency in the local lingo is one of the hysterically funny passages mentioned above. The problem however, is that a set of comedic episodes strung together does not make for a compelling narrative; because comedies, just like tragedies - and anything worthwhile in between, for that matter - have to offer some sort of....progression in the inner lives of their characters if they are to have any serious hope of engaging the reader. With 'Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals' there was no sign of any such development. In fact, it was just like the Peep Show, a series of sketches, repeating jokes along a similar theme, and leading nowhere. That said, the funny bits were very funny. So if you fancy a feature-length version of David Mitchell trying to get inside the knickers of a Do-Gooder girl writing a play for the war-ravaged population of Bosnia, then 'Love, Sex & Other Foreign Policy Goals' is exactly the book for you.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    I haven't read a book with such a low GR rating in a long time. (below 3.0! what was I thinking!) But I really did enjoy it, and I think anyone who approaches it with a certain mindset would enjoy it as well. As the book starts, the sticking points that many of the reviewers here mention are immediately apparent. The characters are incredibly unlikable. They get far too lucky and make some very improbably escapes. They also have minimal improvement and personal growth over the course of the novel I haven't read a book with such a low GR rating in a long time. (below 3.0! what was I thinking!) But I really did enjoy it, and I think anyone who approaches it with a certain mindset would enjoy it as well. As the book starts, the sticking points that many of the reviewers here mention are immediately apparent. The characters are incredibly unlikable. They get far too lucky and make some very improbably escapes. They also have minimal improvement and personal growth over the course of the novel, despite going into a war zone and being terrible naive. These idiots went somewhere they didn't belong, made a huge mess a little bit messier, and then (view spoiler)[managed to escape (barely) before they got dragged into something even dumber. (hide spoiler)] And what fun it was to watch. It's a farce, a way of looking at stupidity in the same vein as many 90s TV shows, where the characters never change, but are stuck in their behaviors and attitudes -- another reviewer compared this to Friends, which I find apt. Armstrong includes a number of hints that the book needs to be taken less than seriously, and you can tell he's not really trying to write the book many reviewers seem to think he should be. (view spoiler)[My favorite is the sudden re-appearance of Simon, which the narrator makes almost no effort to explain. Why bother? He was just coming in to antagonize Andrew, no questions asked! (hide spoiler)] Was part of my enjoyment of this book because I shared some traits with the main character? I'll admit that. I also enjoyed the humor throughout, the clear way it portrayed the Bosnian War (I learned so much, especially as I was constantly referencing Wikipedia), and the characterizations that were well-drawn and usually hilarious. If you're ok with reading a comedy about a war zone -- I admit, that's not for everyone -- than this may be a great fit for you. You also might hate it, like so many of these reviewers, so don't blame me if it goes awry...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Kondrashova

    I was promised a hilariously ironic read. The hilarity got lost. I have a weakness for dry British humor and a curiosity for Eastern European settings, so this looked like a great setup, and the first few pages lived up to the cover's hype. Then we delved further into the protagonist's head and I wanted back out. The tone missed "humorous" and came down on "bitterly sarcastic" with an undignified flump, following a meandering trail of clueless breadcrumbs laid by the worst kind of privileged twat I was promised a hilariously ironic read. The hilarity got lost. I have a weakness for dry British humor and a curiosity for Eastern European settings, so this looked like a great setup, and the first few pages lived up to the cover's hype. Then we delved further into the protagonist's head and I wanted back out. The tone missed "humorous" and came down on "bitterly sarcastic" with an undignified flump, following a meandering trail of clueless breadcrumbs laid by the worst kind of privileged twats whose idea of helping in an international crisis is to waltz into a war zone and perform a play that's not even in the local language. I kept reading waiting for this book to get better, or at least for some of the characters to get themselves killed to liven up the tedium. Neither happened. Two stars for the interesting setting, at least.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Renita D'Silva

    Engaging, witty, fun with an underlying message. Loved.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    my eagerness to make a friend had lead me far beyond my nature. I don't want to oversell this, but there's a lot in here that brought to mind the best of The War Nerd and Charles Portis. It starts off kind of like a typical episode of Peep Show, but once the gang gets to the Balkans, things get intense. It felt real, and no one is ever let off the hook. He has an appreciation of what it's like to be a loser that's almost too painful to think about for too long. Has a kind of agnostic feeling tha my eagerness to make a friend had lead me far beyond my nature. I don't want to oversell this, but there's a lot in here that brought to mind the best of The War Nerd and Charles Portis. It starts off kind of like a typical episode of Peep Show, but once the gang gets to the Balkans, things get intense. It felt real, and no one is ever let off the hook. He has an appreciation of what it's like to be a loser that's almost too painful to think about for too long. Has a kind of agnostic feeling that gives way to a bit of confidence, if that makes sense? No, yeah, probably not. But it's a good book. On Love: (view spoiler)['Are you feeling OK?' I asked 'No. I feel like death,' she said. 'Me too, I'm sorry,' I said. 'What for?' 'Just a – a generalised apology for being – I don't know. I feel terrible, and I have a feeling it didn't, we didn't... It wasn't what – perhaps – I just think... I wasn't...?' This was actually a pretty lucid expression of my feelings. (hide spoiler)] On Sex: (view spoiler)[ 'I mean, we had sex,' I said. 'Yeah,' she said and turned to walk on - we were the last people in the group and the Baltimore Ravens chivvied us to catch up with the others, who were passing beyond the municipal buildings where we had performed. 'But not really.' 'No, sure. But we did.' Baltimore Ravens waved to two armed men outside the council offices who waved back. 'It didn't actually go in, did it?' she said airily, looking at some shell damage. 'Er - well, I don't know,' I said. 'Look, I don't want to-' 'No, sure.' (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[‘Cally. Bullet in the head, I reckon.’ He nodded at her. She looked very fine, standing on the road in the morning sun, her thick hair hanging luxuriantly, shot through with sunlight as she talked to Penny – their friendship looking appealingly full of complicated intimacies. ‘Yeah, today’s the day. I’m out of there. I need to keep my options open.’ ‘Yeah?’ ‘Yeah. You don’t want to eat the same sausage every day, do you? That would be mad.’ ‘We are heading into a war zone, Von?’ ‘Yeah, but she’s not exactly going to get killed, is she?’ ‘It’s just not a great time – to – end something, is it?’ ‘I don’t know. I kind of like her, but she’s not a Bond Girl. She’s barely an eight. That’s not good. What if I get stuck with an eight? She’s not far from a seven. I’d be a laughing stock. Plus –’ he looked around furtively, and began to whisper – ‘she wanted me to put it in?’ ‘Right? You mean . . .’ ‘I don’t put it in,’ he explained. ‘You don’t put it in?’ ‘No, I don’t put it in.’ ‘Right? Why – not?’ ‘It’s not my bag. I don’t play that weak.’ ‘How do you mean?’ ‘It’s dirty. I’ve never put it in. Aids? Yeah? Suck jobs, handjobs. Sweet. Do you put it in?’ ‘Er, well, yeah. When I – yes. When it’s . . . polite.’ ‘Yeah, well, I don’t put it in. It’s my choice.’ ‘No, sure,’ I said, suddenly alive to the suggestion that I was somehow seeking jurisdiction over his complicated sexuality, forcing him to accept the culturally hegemonic demand that he put it in somewhere he didn’t want to. ‘But – is that – how does she . . . is that OK, by her?’ (hide spoiler)] On Foreign Policy Goals: (view spoiler)[At the play for peace: 'Excuse me, but why aren't there more soldiers here?' she asked. 'I'm sorry?' the deputy mayor said. 'We were expecting and hoping for more soldiers.' 'The soldiers are - fighting.' he said. 'Exactly,' Sara said. 'This is to stop them.' 'Well, not necessarily, simply - ' Penny tried to interject. 'If they stop fighting, the Serbs will kill us,' the deputy mayor said. 'Well. We can't know that for sure,' Sara said. 'And we'll do our play for them too. And - also, will they, do you know that really?' 'It's true, it's possible they might not,' the deputy mayor said generously. 'Well, there you go.' 'There are some soldiers here, some who are not at the front?' he offered. 'Oh, OK, there are some here. Well, that's good,' said Sara. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[Tudjman stood, dressed in a double-breasted grey suit, speaking to a younger suited man at the head of a set of marble stairs. He looked peeved and constipated behind the pink murderer’s tint of his steel-frame glasses. Von got up and offered his hand to pull Cally from the settee. He took a last commanding look at the TV, shook his head and said, ‘That fucking bastard, when will he be satisfied?’ in a way that made me suspect he believed he was watching Milosevic, without giving away enough to allow me to actually correct him. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[ From the Croatian embassy dinner: He presented himself, mournfully, deprecatingly, as super-liberal and had a habit of saying he was ‘very worried’ about issues that he then framed dismissively in a way that suggested he didn’t give a solitary shit. ‘The US has often been bilked by its Anglophile presidents. That’s why we ended up in two world wars,’ he said. ‘Halifax’s sole mistake in public life was to believe Churchill would fail more quickly than he did,’ the ex-MP countered – or added – I wasn’t sure which. ‘But then the worst president we ever suffered, of course, was Lincoln. At least that imp Milosevic has a hope of keeping his republic together. Lincoln had no hope. His success was dumb luck.’ ‘If Halifax could have made a decent peace with a trustworthy National Socialist, then there could have been a British imperial Indian summer of extraordinary capital accumulation.’ ‘He had a quasi-mystical view of the Union out of all proportion with reality. Milosevic is a Girl Scout compared to Lincoln in terms of his commitment to keeping his nation ntact.’ ‘If you quantified it in terms of loss of global authority, territory and capital reserves, there is a strong argument Churchill should have been hanged for treason,’ the MP said, relishing the ruffle in the room. ‘The road from Appomattox leads directly to the Watergate Hotel,’ the professor said. ‘What about the – Jews and the slaves?’ Penny piped up, and some of the adults smiled at her like a child in the room had asked if she could marry her mother when she grew up. ‘I’m very much afraid that Churchill was an anti-Semite and Lincoln was a racist,’ the professor explained. ‘I don’t accept those terms,’ Ronnie said with an irritating smile. ‘But – they . . .’ Penny started. ‘Churchill did nothing about the Holocaust and I think the worst thing that has ever happened to the African American community was the Emancipation Proclamation. An internal revolt would have produced a different America,’ the professor said. (hide spoiler)] On war nerdery: (view spoiler)[I read on, looking for good 'cheap eats' in pre-war Sarajevo, cross-referencing them with a graphic I had from the Independent showing the worst spots for sniper deaths, so I could see where I might theoretically safely eat the best burek, the local intestine-shaped pastries filled with a feta-like cheese or potato. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[‘That’s a T-54,’ Bev said, turning and breaking the moment between Penny and me. ‘Right,’ I said. ‘That’s Russian. Second World War.’ I looked at the big beast. It made me feel tired, as though I was revising for an A-level exam, just to look at its thick metal plate and great long ridiculous gun. Zhukov, Stalingrad, Hungary ’56, Prague ’68, the long boring seventies and eighties waiting on the German plain for nothing – and now here. The poor big bastard. What things we make things do. (hide spoiler)]

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kate Vane

    In this first novel by Peep Show writer Jesse Armstrong, a group of activists decide to take a play to the former Yugoslavia at the height of the war. Their motives are varied and ambiguous (a certain amount of sexual longing, intellectual arrogance and ambition are in the mix) but overall they are motivated by a kind of benevolent woolliness. Andrew, the narrator, joins them, having refined his foreign policy while skiving at his job in a supermarket warehouse. He is insightful but a bit passiv In this first novel by Peep Show writer Jesse Armstrong, a group of activists decide to take a play to the former Yugoslavia at the height of the war. Their motives are varied and ambiguous (a certain amount of sexual longing, intellectual arrogance and ambition are in the mix) but overall they are motivated by a kind of benevolent woolliness. Andrew, the narrator, joins them, having refined his foreign policy while skiving at his job in a supermarket warehouse. He is insightful but a bit passive and manipulative, particularly in his infatuation with the writer of the play, Penny. Inevitably, travelling through a war zone turns out to be less straightforward than Andrew or the group had envisaged. I liked the premise of this novel. I felt nostalgic for the days when people like Andrew did crap jobs as a lifestyle choice, rather than because that’s all there is. The world of the group is immediately recognisable to anyone who’s ever been involved in direct action. But that is part of the problem with this book. There are some nice observations, the pages turn easily, and I did laugh out loud a few times, but I felt that nothing surprised me, in either the characters or the plot. I wonder if this book is something Armstrong had in a drawer and dusted off for publication. It doesn’t feel as technically accomplished as his TV work. It has a dogged ‘and then’ narration rather than a strong story arc. Its great strength is that reading it does feel exactly like going on a very long minibus journey with a gang of friends, with all the pleasures and pitfalls that entails. Sometimes they’re fun, sometimes they’re annoying, sometimes you wonder if you should have bothered. I think Armstrong has shied away from engaging with the full horrors of the war. There are some dark moments, but I did feel that the characters, the reader and the author all got off too lightly. This is surprising because the programmes he’s written – from Peep Show to The Thick of It to Babylon – are all ruthless in their depiction of people’s failings. It’s hard to find anyone likeable in any of them. And they’re also not afraid to push their characters to the limit just to see how they react. Like Andrew, this book seemed a little timid and a little too keen to be liked. - I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley.

  7. 4 out of 5

    David

    I really wanted to enjoy this book. Looking for a break from all the recent fantasy novels that have dominated my reading, I was looking for a funny, quirky and light story. Receiving an advanced copy from Netgalley, I dove head first into the story of these 20-something guys (mainly from Britain) driving to Bosnia on a peace mission. The author is a celebrated British comedy TV writer, so expectations where high... and yet, to be honest, I barely managed to finish it. The main character and nar I really wanted to enjoy this book. Looking for a break from all the recent fantasy novels that have dominated my reading, I was looking for a funny, quirky and light story. Receiving an advanced copy from Netgalley, I dove head first into the story of these 20-something guys (mainly from Britain) driving to Bosnia on a peace mission. The author is a celebrated British comedy TV writer, so expectations where high... and yet, to be honest, I barely managed to finish it. The main character and narrator, Andrew, is built as this anti-hero, capturing the nature of a person who tags along on an unselfish peace drive only to selfishly get the girl. And I found him insufferable. It seems the author went too out of his way to capture the British idiosyncrasy, the constantly awkward and ambiguous attitude to life... the end just comes and goes and quite frankly, you just feel relieved that the story is over and you don't have to put up with him anymore. And here's something I find unforgivable. The author clearly did a lot of research on Bosnia and the conflict in 1994. Yet, somehow, there's a character called Baltimore Ravens (because he's wearing the NFL team's cap). Yet, the Ravens were only established in 1996! Not enough research after all.... not impressed.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bent Hansen

    I'll get this out of the way right away: This book is by far the worst book I have read for a while. The comedy parts were rare and not very funny - I am open to many different kinds of comedy, but I guess that comedy in a Balkan genocide/civil war setting just isn't remotely close to what I find proper. The book was one long struggle for me from cover to cover, and I probably should have let it go early on when I realized that it would not improve. I simply have no idea who will find this book f I'll get this out of the way right away: This book is by far the worst book I have read for a while. The comedy parts were rare and not very funny - I am open to many different kinds of comedy, but I guess that comedy in a Balkan genocide/civil war setting just isn't remotely close to what I find proper. The book was one long struggle for me from cover to cover, and I probably should have let it go early on when I realized that it would not improve. I simply have no idea who will find this book funny or just worth reading. If one wishes to read about the war-torn Balkan states, I would turn to more serious accounts, and if one wishes to read something to make them laugh out laugh, I would turn to Dave Hill, Bill Bryson or some other writer who is actually funny. Because Jesse Armstrong sure isn't in this book. [A advance reader's copy of this book was generously provided by the First to Read program in return for an honest review]

  9. 5 out of 5

    James

    Self absorbed Gen-Xers set off from London to bring peace to Bosnia in the throes of the Yugoslavian civil war. There is a lot of book to read to get to the funny bits, and the ending is rather good.

  10. 4 out of 5

    🐴 🍖

    this is by peep show dude & it's pretty much "jez goes to bosnia." and you know what? i'm okay with that. this is by peep show dude & it's pretty much "jez goes to bosnia." and you know what? i'm okay with that.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Fco Javier

    hi, my tastes are : updike, roth , etc,,,, sorry in advance for my messy english Jesse Armstrong has something that belongs to very few minds, they are rare, ,,,i think ( the guy who wrote office space? for instance, ferdinand celine, woody allen), all of them honest and people who can not support our idiocy, cause of so much pain in the world and so drift this comical way of expresing the anguish , etc ,,, they depicture somebody trying to be just a person and being incapablea and much more. “ hi, my tastes are : updike, roth , etc,,,, sorry in advance for my messy english Jesse Armstrong has something that belongs to very few minds, they are rare, ,,,i think ( the guy who wrote office space? for instance, ferdinand celine, woody allen), all of them honest and people who can not support our idiocy, cause of so much pain in the world and so drift this comical way of expresing the anguish , etc ,,, they depicture somebody trying to be just a person and being incapablea and much more. “It felt after a while as if getting the van to Bosnia was, itself, at some level, the central aim of the trip,” it is said by the Andrew and I personaly think that is beyon funny , it is sad and it is maybe true ,,,,,,,,, most of people doing solidarity dont actually give a fuck and only great writers can discern the real psicological personal causes behind this so bloody lovely goodwill ,,,,,,thats precicely why Armstrom is amazing an capable of writing Peep Show , becouse he is saying something so utterly sad and at the same time plausible,,,,,,,this is an observation that only people so extreme as F.F. Celine could have writen, and Celine is consider a genious ,,,it is unberable to accept the horror we are living in and we consider that to be sarcastical,no ,he is not sarcastic , he is a good guy this Writer,,, , and thats why we are so far from any congruence and predominantly pathetics and the caracteres in this novel could be us, desperate for love and beauty and justice and so lost with our spongiform encefalitis,,,,,,,,,,,,,,actually in fact im piss off becouse you got this guy who wrote that increbible Peep Show , one of the most intelligent series ever and here , and here many of you spiting over his book that it can maybe not be amazing but it does have without any doubt amazing moments , jokes and observations ( very close i repeat to Celine who is consider "the only one" for many people in France,, and some of you judge the book with so much confidence,,what the f*** , COME ON ARMSTRONG dont lisen to this crap and keep writing!!. i dont think that Jesse Armstrong is joking ,,, i mean ,, i can not see this as just comedy ,,,, for me is real and i believe that is real for him too and very scary , people is scary , they have got interests and they wont care about others becouse we are scared too and very very limited and we act as so normal and solid and it is here where the desperation and the great fun happens and the confusion, the terrible confusion,,,, woody allen used to be accused of being too light ,,,when he was the only one back then ,,maybe,, getting the point, the mega inteligent point about our real nature,,,, yes ,, live feels poor and absurd, incoherent and cruel and we dont even notice much of the time,,,,and is very funny and thats why we can die just as a fly ,a talking fly and nobody cares,,,i have working in residences for old people (in super boring France) and i can tell you how we are a joke ,,i can tell you about love,,,,, you can not imagine how sad and real it is,,,,,anyway the story is not bad at all,,come on! it could happen and of course is a mess but i insist that life is much more like that than like something well defined. it doesnt exist that outlined life ,,thats bad fiction in books for silly girls and silly boys. thats bullshit I read the reviews,,,,not rich caracters ???? not rich thoughts??? see the faces ,watch gestures ,the things that people say , who care about rich toughts ,,this is much better . you are talking about dostoevsky or what? ( there is also Capote writting in cold blood ,amazing) sorry Armstrong for sounding as justifying your book , i clearly like it and bytheway the end really touched me and made me sad,,,, when the guy goes to her house is really good ,,,,,and i was with them inside the bus,,,and when they dont wave back !!! it is amazing and so painfully real ! i did that myself ones ! becouse i had this sexual priorities and policy goals. yes i know it is not a perfect book , and there is peep show and Jesse is very english, the british pudor , for some of you a bit too much , not for me. He is not good at all but this guy got the point , a super point ,, he goes very far at the absurdity and the further he goes the more truth it becomes and you tell yourself ,,,oh no! it is not possible! ,, i suspected something, i felt it but i though it couldnt be truth , fuck! and also he is gentile, he is ! and he is capable of feeling, of course he is well i got lost in my review ,, i just needed to say that i find this guy very special seen the stock and the last thing ,,i can see some Pennys and Simons doing reviews about Andrew here j ja j ja ja ja ja ja ja , you have opinions, wow wow have you got a moral standards also?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ian Mapp

    Jesse Armstrong - writer of one of my favourite TV Series, Peep Show - writes his first book. A comedy - setting a 20 something man in with a troupe of drama students who think they can stop the Bosnian War through a play and the distribution of some sacks of rice. He fancies the girl, the girl fancies the cooler poet/libertine Sounds like comedy golddust. What could go wrong? Well, more or less everything. I found the characterisation weak. Didn't care about any of the characters. Struggled to dif Jesse Armstrong - writer of one of my favourite TV Series, Peep Show - writes his first book. A comedy - setting a 20 something man in with a troupe of drama students who think they can stop the Bosnian War through a play and the distribution of some sacks of rice. He fancies the girl, the girl fancies the cooler poet/libertine Sounds like comedy golddust. What could go wrong? Well, more or less everything. I found the characterisation weak. Didn't care about any of the characters. Struggled to differentiate between them. The troupe seemed interchangeable. The Bosnian completely forgettable. The story is OK. It plods along. The characters are put in comedic situations. Then some quite horrific situations which didnt sit well with the rest of the book. The ending was a blur of boredom and I will not detail it here, which is a shame as by next week, I will have totally forgotten it. And its the comedy that's the biggest disappointment. Nary a chuckle from me. Whereas Peep Show has a quote for most situations (usually from Superhans), I got nothing from this. Maybe I needed to listen to it being read aloud to gain something from it. Is there an audiobook? A shame, as after a dense 830 page behemoth of Booker winning historical fiction, I was looking for something more jaunty to entertain me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

    This was a very thought proving novel with a bit of Bildungsroman elements to it. It also seemed like a "Young Ones" episode gone terribly askew without the humour. The readers are introduced to a cast of characters including a drop out from the Welsh borderlands, posh Londoners, odd Americans, a mercinary from the Welsh borderlands, and various people from the former Yugoslavia. The aforementioned group of first world people go to the former Yugoslavia on a peace mission. What ensues turns into This was a very thought proving novel with a bit of Bildungsroman elements to it. It also seemed like a "Young Ones" episode gone terribly askew without the humour. The readers are introduced to a cast of characters including a drop out from the Welsh borderlands, posh Londoners, odd Americans, a mercinary from the Welsh borderlands, and various people from the former Yugoslavia. The aforementioned group of first world people go to the former Yugoslavia on a peace mission. What ensues turns into a big mess. Even the U.N. peacekeepers are having a hard time keeping everything straight. The story is a bit of farcical fun that will especially appeal to fans of "Waiting For Godot."

  14. 5 out of 5

    David Brook

    No secrets, I was expecting something very light in this debut from Jesse Armstrong, but there's layers of depth here. The characters - and there are many - are well drawn out where they need to be, and where they don't, they exist on the periphery like people do in real life. The context seems brilliantly accurate and real - and while there is at least the action one would expect in a book set in a war zone invaded by, well, student tourists, it doesn't feel forced. This is a really nicely roun No secrets, I was expecting something very light in this debut from Jesse Armstrong, but there's layers of depth here. The characters - and there are many - are well drawn out where they need to be, and where they don't, they exist on the periphery like people do in real life. The context seems brilliantly accurate and real - and while there is at least the action one would expect in a book set in a war zone invaded by, well, student tourists, it doesn't feel forced. This is a really nicely rounded, great read - has the air in places of a good bit of light summer fiction, but there's a good intelligent, beating heart below.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Russell Jones

    Imagine if 'Friends' was an ideologically sound champagne socialist commune, and Mark Corrigan or somebody very much like Mark Corrigan from 'Peep Show', if slightly less likeable, became involved in a mission to take a agitprop play to bring peace to the rapidly disintegrating Former Yugoslavia in the early 90's, then you've pretty much got the plot of this book. From the writing in this book and the inner monologue of the main character, those familiar with the work of Jesse Armstrong will see Imagine if 'Friends' was an ideologically sound champagne socialist commune, and Mark Corrigan or somebody very much like Mark Corrigan from 'Peep Show', if slightly less likeable, became involved in a mission to take a agitprop play to bring peace to the rapidly disintegrating Former Yugoslavia in the early 90's, then you've pretty much got the plot of this book. From the writing in this book and the inner monologue of the main character, those familiar with the work of Jesse Armstrong will see nuggets of 'Peep Show' and 'Thick of It' goodness along with a whole lot of navel gazing/ teenage style angst/ political naiveté that after a while will become very very tiresome.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    just couldn't get into this book and the plot sounded good but sadly the writing didn't and wasn't my style

  17. 5 out of 5

    Adam Wolstenholme

    One of the best modern novels I've read in recent years. As funny as you'd expect from a writer of Peep Show and Four Lions, and with moral depth and plenty of food for thought.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    Confession time - I did this one as an audiobook, and I only got it because it seemed to be the only audiobook I could find read by Chris Addison, and I rather fancied nerly ten hours of Chris in my ears. Actually more interesting and difficult than the title makes it sound, it's the story of a group of wooly, wonderful idealists who set off from Manchester during the war in Bosnia to take both aid, and - wait for it, it's so adorable you'll squeak - a 'peace play' to remind people of their commo Confession time - I did this one as an audiobook, and I only got it because it seemed to be the only audiobook I could find read by Chris Addison, and I rather fancied nerly ten hours of Chris in my ears. Actually more interesting and difficult than the title makes it sound, it's the story of a group of wooly, wonderful idealists who set off from Manchester during the war in Bosnia to take both aid, and - wait for it, it's so adorable you'll squeak - a 'peace play' to remind people of their common humanity and stop the fighting. MM-hmm. Along the way, Andy, the narrator, falls into something he thinks is love with Penny, the adopted black daughter of some rich white British diplomats, who in turn might possibly be falling for a poet called Steve, or possibly for the American leader of the group called Shannon. Andy is, at several crucial moments, a bit of an arse, and at several other crucial moments, chronically endangers the group by being a charlatan and a liar, but he's terribly terribly well-meaning (which I'm guessing is why the production company thought 'Let's see if we can get Chris Addison to read this.') As a story, it clashes post-imperial British guilt and the simplistic notion of love and peace solving alll the issues in the world straight into a complex internecine conflict, where even the nice guys might turn out not to be THAT nice. There are bombings, shootings, a public hanging and a concentration camp in this novel, so it delivers on all the detail you might think you'd want from such a story (assuming of course you didn't get it just because it was read by Chris Addison), but it also shoves Andy's quest to make Penny fall in love with him into the foreground, justifying the flippancy of the title after all. As such, while there is a kind of balance in the story threads, you end up not caring that much for Andy, and ultimately his 'love' for Penny feels magnificently self-indulgent and irrelevant when painted against the backdrop of the situation in which he's trying to promote and pursue it. Would I recommend it? Meh - as an eye-read, probably not. As an audio, it at least does have the reading of Chris Addison to recommend it as an experience for nearly ten hours. And there is good, eye-opening content in it. I'm just not sure that you couldn't have a lot more fun or a lot more of an improving experience in ten hours than this book delivers.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marvin

    This is an odd book--mostly in a good way. It's a light-hearted, often quite funny, satire on a very heavy topic--the Serb-Croat war in the 1990s. Oddly, while almost trying not to, it sheds more light on the situation than, say, the much more widely acclaimed The Tiger's Wife. A group of idealistic twenty-somethings get in a van and head off to the region to put on a play to promote peace. It's a sort of on-the-road novel that reveals the absurdity of war (especially this particular one)--but a This is an odd book--mostly in a good way. It's a light-hearted, often quite funny, satire on a very heavy topic--the Serb-Croat war in the 1990s. Oddly, while almost trying not to, it sheds more light on the situation than, say, the much more widely acclaimed The Tiger's Wife. A group of idealistic twenty-somethings get in a van and head off to the region to put on a play to promote peace. It's a sort of on-the-road novel that reveals the absurdity of war (especially this particular one)--but also (perhaps even more) the absurdity of naive young antiwar idealists hyped up on lust, booze, & drugs. I especially enjoyed some of the dialog, when characters who really had nothing to say, would pontificate, starting & stopping, without really saying anything.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Absolutely superb, not a word wasted in this perfectly pitched and hilarious book. I had a quick look through some of the other comments and was surprised to see so many negative reviews. I guess if you didn't click into the characters and story you...just didn't - I suppose that happens some times. But it's hard to imagine why with a writer with such a successful pedigree as Jesse Armstrong. I've never actually watched The Thick of it or Peep Show (I haven't watched much TV for years) but came Absolutely superb, not a word wasted in this perfectly pitched and hilarious book. I had a quick look through some of the other comments and was surprised to see so many negative reviews. I guess if you didn't click into the characters and story you...just didn't - I suppose that happens some times. But it's hard to imagine why with a writer with such a successful pedigree as Jesse Armstrong. I've never actually watched The Thick of it or Peep Show (I haven't watched much TV for years) but came to Armstrong through Succession like I hope many people will to this book. It probably helps that I lived in London in the early 90s and through a news torrent of increasingly awful war stories about Bosnia, so I know the period pretty well. I also even had another NZ friend who drove a truck into besieged areas of the country, she was far braver than me. She put her truck license, obtained job delivering frozen chip's in the Uni holidays back in NZ, to good use. So I am very primed to understand the milieu of the characters and I'm a similar age to the author (which is a huge factor in how much I enjoy a book and I suspect it's the same for most people whether they realise it or not) but, even so, I'm amazed how many other reviewers on the site completely missed the point. I found the whole book completely delicious, so finely judged and as prefectly calibrated as P G Wodehouse at his best. I find it interesting that two other favourite authors spent a good part of their careers around the theatre, Wodehouse on Broadway in musicals and Dickens on the London stage. I think this is why they know there characters so well and understand the warmth and subtle interplay of characters - as does Armstrong with his TV career - better than an author stuck in a room their whole life staring out the window and - unsurpisingly create unmemorable and/or unreal characters. I laughed out loud many times. Not only is it good story, with the hapless Andy cutting very close to the bone to me in his self doubt and self delusions, it is full of wisdom from Armstrong such as about conspiracy theories (a pet hate of mine for years) being comforting because they give a feeling of certainty that someone somewhere is in charge. It's about the callowness of youth running up against the hard realities of the world which are scarier, but also more absurd, than you thought possible. The locals rip the well-meaning actors off left and right and the whole trip with good intentions is a long road to hell. Quote " Back on thin mattress over its wire rack I listened to Love Will Tear Us Apart loud on my Walkman but it didn't give me the jolt of heart tug and longing it used to. So I found myself imagining it being played at my funeral to see if that kicked the old soul-buzz into action. It did a little and, as I imagined Penny and Helen smiling bravely as Ian Curtis sang, I must’ve drifted off."

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jill Cordry

    The writing in some places is very good, but the dialogue is dreadful: "Yeah." "Yeah?" "Yeah." The characters are one dimensional and trite not to mention, DIABOLICALLY STUPID. What a disappointment to a very clever premise.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    The first few chapters were hilarious and had us laughing out loud. But the premise that young people are naive and optimistic quickly wore thin. Very good insights into class relations.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Tinkler

    A very underwhelming read. A tale of a group of 20 somethings road tripping from London through Europe to perform a play to demonstrate peace.

  24. 4 out of 5

    James Barron

    If you want a novel's worth of Mark Corrigan, I've got good news for ye

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rachael Samberg

    I was so very eager to read a different take on Sarajevo, and to explore this humor. But the characters were so flat and unformed, and the writing mediocre, that I just couldn't get through it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Not my usual genre of book but fancied a change. Enjoyed it. Would recommend

  27. 5 out of 5

    peppersocks

    Reflections and lessons learned: Quite a male feeling book, but an enjoyable story with some standout one liners and great narration from Chris Addison

  28. 5 out of 5

    Abby Jean

    tedious and far less clever than it thought it was.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marci

    Wow! This was my most grueling read since Moby Dick. I finally finished this one though. Went with the cliff notes on MD and failed the test. I'm not sure if it was the overwhelming number of adjectives or the writing style, but I had the hardest time absorbing this book. I received a preview copy so I felt that I did need to finish the book. At the end, I was about as eh as the main character. Really, most of the characters. I just did not have an emotion one way or the other about the characte Wow! This was my most grueling read since Moby Dick. I finally finished this one though. Went with the cliff notes on MD and failed the test. I'm not sure if it was the overwhelming number of adjectives or the writing style, but I had the hardest time absorbing this book. I received a preview copy so I felt that I did need to finish the book. At the end, I was about as eh as the main character. Really, most of the characters. I just did not have an emotion one way or the other about the characters or what actually happened to them. I would not recommend the book as funny (I laughed out loud 1 time) but I would also not take the book seriously. It took me a month to read this book and then I read one by Rhys Bowen and one by Louise Penny in the 9 days I had left on my rental for them. So, I don't think it was me, necessarily.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jillwilson

    The gormless narrator – it’s something of a feature in British novels. Andrew is the socially awkward narrator of this story. Its 1994 and war has flared in Bosnia. A group of well-meaning British activists decide to travel to that country to spread “peace” – via a play which Penny, an upper-class girl, has written. ““We have a van,” says Andrew, struggling to explain the proposed trip to Penny’s parents. “And we’re going to take the van and fill it with provisions, refugees, and also, we’re goi The gormless narrator – it’s something of a feature in British novels. Andrew is the socially awkward narrator of this story. Its 1994 and war has flared in Bosnia. A group of well-meaning British activists decide to travel to that country to spread “peace” – via a play which Penny, an upper-class girl, has written. ““We have a van,” says Andrew, struggling to explain the proposed trip to Penny’s parents. “And we’re going to take the van and fill it with provisions, refugees, and also, we’re going to – we have a play to bring a message.” Andrew is in favour of peace but his main goal is to get into bed with Penny. I chose this book because it was written by one of the writers of The Thick of It (a British TV program about politics and bullying that I’ve always liked). The novel however lacks the energy of Malcolm Tucker – it’s a one-note book – dominated by the hapless Andrew and his continuing stuff ups (some of which are quite inventive). I think this reviewer is right: “Early on, Andrew remarks, “It felt after a while as if getting the van to Bosnia was, itself, at some level, the central aim of the trip,” and the same could be said of the novel: nothing much is achieved by getting there, and the bulk of the narrative is about the journey itself. Armstrong is very good at mocking the group’s inept attempt to promote peace with what turns out to be (in a genuinely funny scene) a truly awful play written by Penny, and he pokes fun at the activists’ shallow understanding of the conflict. But I became increasingly uncomfortable when I realised that Armstrong himself didn’t seem to have a strong grasp of what was going on, beyond the protagonists’ own thoughts and actions. Nobody in the group really understands the conflict, and Armstrong has no interesting insights into the situation, though he does describe the group’s internal dynamic well.” (http://www.quadrapheme.com/fiction-re...) I felt like he lost interest (in the plot) towards the end and the book ran out of steam. It’s quite funny but a little tiresome by the end.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.