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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

The Key of the Tower

Gilbert Adair

[an overview of the reviews and critical reactions]

general information | review summaries | links | about the author

To purchase The Key of the Tower

Title: The Key of the Tower
Author: Gilbert Adair
Genre: Novel
Written: 1997
Length: 176 pages
Availability: The Key of the Tower - US
The Key of the Tower - UK
The Key of the Tower - Canada
Der Schlüssel zum Turm - Deutschland

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Why we haven't reviewed it yet:

Haven't been able to get our hands on a copy

Chances that we will review it:

Good -- if we ever find a copy

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Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
London Rev. of Books . 1/1/1998 Lorna Sage
The Spectator . 25/10/1997 Alain de Botton
TLS . 19/9/1997 Alex Ivanovitch

  From the Reviews:
  • "The Key of the Tower, though short, gives the impression of being two different books. It starts quietly, realistically, narrated with sober accuracy reminiscent of Paul Auster or Ian McEwan. But midway, the tempo changes, psychological realism is thrown aside and we enter the world of the pulp thriller, full of violence and broad humour. (...) Which brings me to the real reason why this isn't the best moment in Adair's career to claim that he is underrated -- because The Key of the Tower isn't ultimately a satisfying novel. It lacks direction and left this reader wondering whether the author hadn't simply grown bored with his characters half way through. Adair is a fascinating writer, but you'd have to look at his other novels to find out why." - Alain de Botton, The Spectator

  • "Ironically enough, we soon find that The Key of the Tower is itself written in a sort of guidebook English; this is prose on its best behaviour, never using one word where two might do, keen to fill its effusive, jointed sentences with as many flourishes as possible. And, if at times we feel that the novel has also been translated from some French model, we do not have to go very far to find supporting evidence () But ultimately all these references to Proust and Hitchcock work no kind of real alchemy, nor do Lantern's moments of self-awareness; despite the correspondences and affiliations it wears on its sleeve, The Key of the Tower remains a flimsy thriller rather than the delicate jeu d'esprit one senses it wants to be." - Times Literary Supplement, Alex Ivanovitch

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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Reviews: Gilbert Adair Other books by Gilbert Adair under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       British author Gilbert Adair (1944-2011) wrote several novels, as well as several works of non-fiction. He also translated Georges Perec's A Void, for which he won the Scott Moncrieff Prize.

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