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Ariel [Mass Market Paperback]

Lawrence Block
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 6.50 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Dec 1 1996 Block, Lawrence
Ariel Jardell, an adopted 12-year-old girl, is possessed, her mother thinks, by jealousy and by forces far more bizarre. An unnerving tale woven together with a fascinating, terrifying child at the center of each twist and turn it takes, this book gives new definition to the old conflict of good versus evil, sane versus insane.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars bemused and befuddled over this book July 13 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
ARIEL is great, and repersents Block as a novelist in rare form, and yet trying to strike out a new path as well. This, in the end, is what makes ARIEL both enjoying and frustrating. There are too many tales being told...the adolescent coming of age (which is done amazingly well between Erksine and ARIEL) the madness/occult/supernatural tease (it never is really clear what happened) and the 'grown ups story' of Roberta and David and Jeff/ Jeff's own family. All of these stories could've been made into a novel, but because they are all here it's sort of a literary mess. In this book we are told what some of the characters are thinking but not all of the time. In this sense, the narrative is at fualt because its at times omnipresent, and at others centered solely on ARIEL and her diary. It's an uneven book and yet I am so drawn to it, I have to say its a great book at the same time. Except for the electra complex scenes toward the end...I felt I was being hit over the head with that point. I think too that the book should've been fleshed out, but Block, being the amazing mystery writer that he is, is still writing with the urgency of a mystery. Still, read ARIEL and decide for yourself..it's still a great and provoking read, definitely worth it...you really can't go wrong with Block.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An understated, underrated psychological thriller. Sept. 17 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Originally marketed as "occult horror", Ariel is neither. It's a story of the madness that lies just under the surface, and what it takes to bring it out; the need to give evil a face and a name. Who better to scapegoat for unexplainable tragedies than the one who is Different? Ariel is adopted, and looks slightly unusual. Her unstable mother never fails to assume the worst, almost deliberately misreading the girl's ordinary teenage perceptiveness and need for privacy. By the book's end, almost everyone believes that Ariel is a monster -- including Ariel herself.
Great characterizations, wonderful descriptions -- I want to live in Ariel's house. I could wish for a sequel, or just for more books like it.
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Mass Market Paperback
From time to time, it is important for an author to stretch, to try writing something very different from what he or she is best known for. ARIEL is mystery writer Lawrence Block's experiment with the sort of feverish, madness-tinged horror for which Shirley Jackson became famous, and if he doesn't quite pull it off, one at least has to appreciate the bravery of the attempt. Block is one of the best prose craftsmen working today, but he is at his worst here, switching perspectives wildly, invoking too-familiar ghost story devices without the deftness required to make them seem fresh, peopling the story with unpleasant characters, and ending the book on a sour and very unsatisfying note. To be fair, Block has picked a tough genre -- most of the time, Shirley Jackson wasn't able to pull it off either. Chalk it up as one of Block's (extremely) rare failures, and move on. (For a Block horror success, try the truly terrifying Matt Scudder thriller A TICKET TO THE BONEYARD.)
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2.0 out of 5 stars What's Happend to Lawrence Block? Aug. 27 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am always excieted to find a Lawrence Block title I haven't read. So, you can imagine how difficult it was for me to not start reading Ariel until I had boarded my flight, fastened my seatbelt, settled back and the plane took off. Lawrence Block, the master of detailed descriptions, character development and plot twists as gone astray. While this book was technically good, it wasn't close to anything else he has written. Block's attempt at exploring the supernatural fails badly. One is left with the feeling that Block's characters, having committed some moral sin, must receive a devine punishment. Can this be the same author who brought us Matthew Scudder, a character who's alcohol addiction and recovery must mirror the author's and who is not exactly known for staying within the law? The same author who gave us a burgler and a hero, newly weds who commit a murder on their honeymoon with no consequences, a man who Mona (read it, I can't begin to talk about that book here without spoiling it). Block is capable of much better than Ariel. I hope that then next time I sit down to devote myself to one of his books that I don't have to have backup reading at hand. My inflight magazine wasn't nearly enough to get me to my destination
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An understated, underrated psychological thriller. Sept. 17 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Originally marketed as "occult horror", Ariel is neither. It's a story of the madness that lies just under the surface, and what it takes to bring it out; the need to give evil a face and a name. Who better to scapegoat for unexplainable tragedies than the one who is Different? Ariel is adopted, and looks slightly unusual. Her unstable mother never fails to assume the worst, almost deliberately misreading the girl's ordinary teenage perceptiveness and need for privacy. By the book's end, almost everyone believes that Ariel is a monster -- including Ariel herself.
Great characterizations, wonderful descriptions -- I want to live in Ariel's house. I could wish for a sequel, or just for more books like it.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars bemused and befuddled over this book July 13 2001
By "spaceman5" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
ARIEL is great, and repersents Block as a novelist in rare form, and yet trying to strike out a new path as well. This, in the end, is what makes ARIEL both enjoying and frustrating. There are too many tales being told...the adolescent coming of age (which is done amazingly well between Erksine and ARIEL) the madness/occult/supernatural tease (it never is really clear what happened) and the 'grown ups story' of Roberta and David and Jeff/ Jeff's own family. All of these stories could've been made into a novel, but because they are all here it's sort of a literary mess. In this book we are told what some of the characters are thinking but not all of the time. In this sense, the narrative is at fualt because its at times omnipresent, and at others centered solely on ARIEL and her diary. It's an uneven book and yet I am so drawn to it, I have to say its a great book at the same time. Except for the electra complex scenes toward the end...I felt I was being hit over the head with that point. I think too that the book should've been fleshed out, but Block, being the amazing mystery writer that he is, is still writing with the urgency of a mystery. Still, read ARIEL and decide for yourself..it's still a great and provoking read, definitely worth it...you really can't go wrong with Block.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lawrence Block's attempt to channel Shirley Jackson Nov. 15 1997
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
From time to time, it is important for an author to stretch, to try writing something very different from what he or she is best known for. ARIEL is mystery writer Lawrence Block's experiment with the sort of feverish, madness-tinged horror for which Shirley Jackson became famous, and if he doesn't quite pull it off, one at least has to appreciate the bravery of the attempt. Block is one of the best prose craftsmen working today, but he is at his worst here, switching perspectives wildly, invoking too-familiar ghost story devices without the deftness required to make them seem fresh, peopling the story with unpleasant characters, and ending the book on a sour and very unsatisfying note. To be fair, Block has picked a tough genre -- most of the time, Shirley Jackson wasn't able to pull it off either. Chalk it up as one of Block's (extremely) rare failures, and move on. (For a Block horror success, try the truly terrifying Matt Scudder thriller A TICKET TO THE BONEYARD.)
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What's Happend to Lawrence Block? Aug. 27 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am always excieted to find a Lawrence Block title I haven't read. So, you can imagine how difficult it was for me to not start reading Ariel until I had boarded my flight, fastened my seatbelt, settled back and the plane took off. Lawrence Block, the master of detailed descriptions, character development and plot twists as gone astray. While this book was technically good, it wasn't close to anything else he has written. Block's attempt at exploring the supernatural fails badly. One is left with the feeling that Block's characters, having committed some moral sin, must receive a devine punishment. Can this be the same author who brought us Matthew Scudder, a character who's alcohol addiction and recovery must mirror the author's and who is not exactly known for staying within the law? The same author who gave us a burgler and a hero, newly weds who commit a murder on their honeymoon with no consequences, a man who Mona (read it, I can't begin to talk about that book here without spoiling it). Block is capable of much better than Ariel. I hope that then next time I sit down to devote myself to one of his books that I don't have to have backup reading at hand. My inflight magazine wasn't nearly enough to get me to my destination
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ariel's Innocent! Blame Her Crazy Adoptive Mother and/or A House Haunted by A Former Owner. You Choose! March 21 2010
By John C. Legg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Talk about weird reads. My first Lawrence Block. I'm currently reading Harold King, and King and Lawrence Block wrote a novel called Code of Arms and out of all of Block's books this seemed to be the one I would enjoy most. Also, I'm a huge Dean Koontz fan (weighing over 300 + pounds), and Koontz wrote Funhouse based a Larry (Lawrence) Block screenplay. So there you are. Anyway, Ariel reminded me of Andrew Neiderman's Pin, both Pin and Ariel being somewhat repulsive, both novels about an innocent girl paying a huge price because of her screwed up family. Also, it reminded me of Robert Masello's The Spirit Wood because of frequent references to Ariel's pagan flute music and hoofed goat boys. And, V.C. Andrews' Flowers in the Attic, to a small degree, with Ariel's only friend Erskine Wold living in his grandfather's secret attic room. Anyway, Ariel's house may be haunted by a former owner who appears in the middle of the night to warn Ariel's adoptive mother Roberta of deaths about to happen in her life. For various insane reasons Roberta has fallen out of love with Ariel and blames her for everything bad that happens in the house. And it doesn't help matters that Ariel resembles the house's former owner and hangs a portrait of the former owner in her room.
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