1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
"The Guard" by Peter Terrin is a very unusual novel set in unknown country at some unspecified but future date, told by one guard of an unspecified company who together with his colleague protect the basement of an almost abandoned luxury apartment building.
The story starts a year and half after this building was almost abandoned due to only remained resident who stayed inside with his service men.
The reader isn't sure what caused the mass departure of residents, reason being some disaster, nuclear accident or some other conflict, but actually that doesn't matter a lot on two guards that maintained their routine of guarding.
The main characters are Michael who is the narrator, and Harry who is the other guard.
Although reader wouldn't know the reasons, the company they worked for continue to send them supplies, although schedule is completely disrupted not adhering to company rules and procedures any more.
They two don't understand what's going on, although they think they are under some test, and if they perform well they'll be rewarded with some better job.
And then the third guard will appear who will disturb the status quo of whom they two don't even know who this character is, or what news will be brought from the outside...
"The Guard" is an excellent study about the effects of boredom and paranoia, while author managed to convey building of suspense and gradually growing paranoia of those two almost abandoned people.
Although reader don't know when the action is taking place, it seems it's set in not too distant time from today and that something really bad happened to the outside world. Due to Michel's speculations atmosphere and suspense is slowly rising as time goes by.
The novel characters are also very interesting; Michel is at the start very dependent on Harry, being the first guard in building, and as story will unfold reader will be wondering why and when he's not doing something about all the horrible things that start happening.
Its end may be unusual because reader expects resolution and explanation, and is questionable did the end of the novel provided that.
Details of course cannot be disclosed, but the reader will wonder what a novel that has just been read represents?
Novel by Peter Terrin is beautifully written novel, full of tension and suspense that is delivered in a bit unusual way resulting in provoking book that due to its end will certainly divide readers, but certainly literature work that deserves your attention.
Dr John Albiston
- Published on Amazon.com
Sad to say I didn't enjoy the book. It started well- an interesting exercise in minimalist story telling. At times it it reminded me of Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot' and J G Ballard's 'Highrise' but I never felt it went anywhere. The beginning had me gripped with it's attention to small detail and the way small matters of routine became inflated in importance with repetition. But I can't say I really understood the last 1/3. I would love someone to explain it to me- was he dead? Was he alone the whole time? What was real? What was imaginary? Shades of Golding's 'Pincher Martin' again- so many of these types of enigmatic storylines remind me of that book that I was made to read at school.
I'm totally non-plussed by it winning some European lit award...
It reinforces my wariness of any book that is described as "a modern day fable..."
- Published on Amazon.com
Harry and Michael are security guards working and living in the parking level of an apartment building the tenants have all deserted. Indeed the entire neighbourhood--perhaps the whole city--may have been abandoned. The two have no way of knowing, because apart from a fellow worker who delivers supplies at erratic intervals no one has entered or left the building for what seems a long time.
The Guard is atmospheric, for the most part well-plotted, and written well. The story is presented as a series of vignettes in very short chapters, and the organisation of these and the transitions between them are done with skill. And that the author fails to give answers to the questions a reader will have is for me quite satisfying; one never learns why the guards are treated as they are by their employer, what has happened in the outside world (Terrin might offer a clue on occasion, though I'm not even sure of that), and what will happen after the book's end.
The Guard is divided into three sections. The first section is all but spellbinding and the third one is. The second, which is perhaps one-fifth of the book, feels much longer than that and falls flat. In it a new element is introduced into the story and we learn more about Harry. This part of the book is predictable--anyone who's seen a few Hollywood films knows the outcome--and repetitious: the change in Harry is hammered home in several similar passages. Despite the drama it contains, Part 2 simply isn't very interesting, and I wasn't altogether certain as I read it that I'd bother to finish the book. It isn't that the story suddenly becomes a bad one but it is for a while a rather boring one. Perhaps it's because all that occurs in that section is more clear-cut, nearly heavy-handedly so, and that the atmosphere and mystery are because of that dissipated.
I shall almost certainly re-read this and if I do I hope that I'll then find Part 2 not to be the sticking-point it was first time 'round.
3 1/2 stars