intraspace: the review lounge

Friday, January 05, 2007

trade me: the novel

trade me: the novel, by geoff vause

now, i should clear something up. the amazon ads at the end of each post on this blog might make it look like i'm reviewing books with an eye to profit. but i ain't. if i were - it isn't working... never mind.

i make this clarification because i present here today a book which i was involved in producing (in a small way). so there might be seen as some vested interest. and, i'm going to offer a link at the end of the review where you can buy this book.

geoff vause contacted me at castle publishing mid last year with a book idea that had already received some very positive comments. in the event, he decided to more or less self-publish the book, because the wheels of established publishing houses move slow.

i never actually got to read the manuscript prior to the book being released, as geoff undertook a clandestine operation to produce the book. anyway, just before christmas, geoff sent me a copy of the finished article.

'trade me: the novel' is a storming riot of a tale about the pitfalls and adventures of a group of new zealanders who use new zealand's answer to ebay - trademe. i should fill you in if you're unlucky enough to be living outside new zealand. ebay set up a branch in australia but took their sweet time coming to nz (they still haven't arrived). in their absence, an entrepreneurial new zealander by the name of sam morgan set up a similar (and some would say, better) concept here. anyway, virtually everyone in nz now uses the website. as i write this, there are 39,571 people online at trademe (in the middle of the day, and in a country that has a total population of just 4 million people).

there is obviously a cultural impact from such a phenomenon, and that is grist to goeff vause's narrative. through a series of events, the main characters in 'trade me' become intertwined to disastrous and humorous effect.

i sat and read the entire thing one day - it is very well written. it is also fully explores the lax moral standards of its characters - to the point of gratuitousness. but then this story was never intended to be anything other than an amusing charge through the twists and turns of its hapless participants.

you can buy a copy of the book on trademe itself. trying clicking here - and you should see a list of the current auctions that are running for the book.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

taming the tiger

taming the tiger, by tony anthony

as far as dramatic christian stories about conversion go, this would have to be near perfect in terms of the formula: really bad person (in this case, a kung fu expert who uses his skills to maim and kill people for money and retribution) goes to prison and then finds jesus.

i don't mean to come across as cynical in this - 'taming the tiger' really does have all the ingredients of a storming good christian story of redemption. truth betters fiction in a number of episodes in the book. we get to hear all about tony's rigorous training in china as a child, rising to be become a world kung fu champion, then a bodyguard, losing the love of his life and becoming angry. using his abilities in the service of the underbelly of the world. before the cypriot police catch up with him and throw him into one of the worst prisons of the world. he becomes a christian there and returns to england (where he was born). he gets married to a nice christian girl and then winds up in prison again after accidentally killing a woman in a road accident. that stint in prison gives him a chance for more self-examination, not to mention an opportunity to demonstrate good overcoming evil in the prison environment.

potentially open to criticism for being sensationalist (for the writing style as much as the content), 'taming the tiger' is well worth a read - very entertaining and easy reading.

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