Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Signs of Life Hardcover – Aug 1 1997


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
CDN$ 42.36 CDN$ 0.01
Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 16.20

Join Amazon Student in Canada



Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 255 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr (August 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312156561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312156565
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,987,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
0
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Silas Traitor on Jan. 25 2004
Format: Hardcover
More than anything else, Isobel Avens wants to fly. That desire, not always shown openly, quietly chips away at her beneath the pages. At times it seemed Isobel's story was being told indirectly, using profound parts of other character's lives and personalities to explain her own. Everything felt important - every statement, every event, every visual. In some way, they all related back to Isobel and her desperate yearning for flight. Harrison is a master at sculpting deep characters and significant moments. In Signs of Life he has created an atmosphere heavy with a sense of wanting more than what is possible: from lovers, from friends, and from life. I can't say I fully understand what this book is about: unattainable dreams - maybe. Dependent personalities - could be. All I know is that is was beautiful to read, very memorable, and certainly worth recommending.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Moving, but Overlong Nov. 24 2004
By Abigail Nussbaum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
M. John Harrison first published the story that would become Signs of Life in Omni magazine. You can find the original story (titled "Isobel Avens Returns to Stepney in the Spring") online at Infinity Plus magazine, and I think it might be a better use of your time. Just about everything that is good and moving about Signs of Life can be found in that earlier work. Harrison's additions - in particular two secondary characters who grate and annoy and end up doing very little - drag the story down. The result is slow and at times too mannered - the kind of writing that works in a short form but bogs down a novel.

Whichever version you read, the story at the core of Signs of Life is profoundly disturbing, and not a little bit depressing. In Harrison's world, dreamers are sad, dangerous people, consumed by their desires and all too likely to turn destructive. The world's survivors are the ones who don't want too much, or the ones who kill their dreams - and the better part of themselves. Again, this is a point better made in a short story - in the longer novel form, it becomes strident and less credible.

Signs of Life is the second of Harrison's novels that I've read, after the superb and justifiably lauded Light. Perhaps I was doomed to be disappointed by the forced comparison, or perhaps this is simply a lesser effort. Interested readers should probably search out the short story rather than read the book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Tragic But Beautiful Jan. 25 2004
By Silas Traitor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
More than anything else, Isobel Avens wants to fly. That desire, not always shown openly, quietly chips away at her beneath the pages. At times it seemed Isobel's story was being told indirectly, using profound parts of other character's lives and personalities to explain her own. Everything felt important - every statement, every event, every visual. In some way, they all related back to Isobel and her desperate yearning for flight. Harrison is a master at sculpting deep characters and significant moments. In Signs of Life he has created an atmosphere heavy with a sense of wanting more than what is possible: from lovers, from friends, and from life. I can't say I fully understand what this book is about: unattainable dreams - maybe. Dependent personalities - could be. All I know is that is was beautiful to read, very memorable, and certainly worth recommending.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Moving, sad, novel of a young woman's dream of flight May 1 2003
By Richard R. Horton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I really liked Harrison's gloomy '70s novels, the Viriconium stuff as well as _The Committed Men_, and _The Centauri Device_. I'd all but lost track of him, though, except for a few short stories, before _Signs of Life_ was published.
It's a strange novel, ultimately quite affecting, though I admit I didn't quite "get" it all. The genre is rather odd: sort of an SF analog to Magical Realism: that is to say, SFnal things happen (or, rather, one SFnal thing), but the explanation might as well be a typical Magical Realist explanation for Fantastical events.
Anyway: the story is the first person narrative of one Mick "China" Jones, a middle-aged Englishman. It seems to be set in the early '90s. China is involved with a very unpleasant character named Choe Ashton: the two of them run a shady biological courier and toxic waste disposal business. China falls in love with Isobel Avens (a significant last name, that), a much younger woman. After some happy years together, her dreams of flight, as well as possibly her unhappiness with China's dealings with Choe, begin to drive her away, finally she leaves him for a doctor who does some advanced bioengineering (here is where the SF theme sneaks in). All comes to a believable and moving and depressing end.
Seems like a mixed bag Feb. 20 2012
By The Truth™ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Reading this novel is a strange experience. I absolutely love the dialogues but hate everything else. Maybe it is that I'm not a native speaker, but for me trying to focus on the rest of the stuff is like trying to visualise a nine-dimensional cube. The book seems to me like an advanced meditation exercise. Whenever one of those pretentious descriptions comes along, my mind begins to wander like a distracted child.

But those dialogues, especially the ones involving Choe, are hilarious. So while I can't fully recommend the novel, it should still be read, perhaps partly scanned.

More highly than this, I recommend the novel In Viriconium from the same author. It is even funnier and less meandering.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
new book Nov. 1 2009
By Ina&Jacob - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i have not yet read this book but i have a feeling it is going to be good

Product Images from Customers

Search

Look for similar items by category


Feedback