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The Guard Hardcover – Aug 30 2012

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Hardcover, Aug 30 2012
CDN$ 29.69

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press (Aug. 30 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857050877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857050878
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa77a8e70) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa77acce4) out of 5 stars Good start but spoilt (for me) by enigmatic last third March 30 2014
By Dr John Albiston - Published on
Format: Hardcover
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..."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7789108) out of 5 stars 50 pages too many. Feb. 23 2013
By monica - Published on
Format: Paperback
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
HASH(0xa7789180) out of 5 stars Excellent study about the effects of boredom and paranoia Nov. 5 2013
By Helpful Advice - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"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.
HASH(0xa7789510) out of 5 stars Loved it. Hated it. Feb. 28 2015
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was simultaneously fascinating and infuriating to read. The whole concept is brilliant: two guards in a basement of a building only sort of understand what's happened on the surface in their city. There may have been a disaster of some kind. But their world is the basement, and their task is to guard it, and they're committed to it almost religiously. It doesn't take long before the book is less dystopic than surreal, but always with the hint that something disastrous is on the way. The surreality of it also makes it laugh-out-loud funny at times, some of which are very uncomfortable (think Tarantino and his ability to make you laugh at extreme violence, and you'll get the basic idea).

Up against all that are two serious problems for me. First is the choppiness of it. The book is about 120 chapters and 240 pages. I realize that's part of the feel, but as somebody who really enjoys the rhythm of prose, there isn't much rhythm to enjoy. I found it almost nerve-wracking to read for more than about 5 minutes at a time. Second, and I won't say this in much detail in order to avoid a spoiler, but I guessed the big reveal about 40 pages into it--and I'm usually not very good at that.

All that's to say, I'm glad I read it. It's very well done for what it is. But I can't say I "liked" it or that I'll be lining up to read more of his books.
HASH(0xa7789540) out of 5 stars Decent story loses its way and becomes too confusing in the final act. April 8 2015
By Dr.Gonzo - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I love post-apocalyptic fiction. I am a fan of the theater of the absurd like Waiting for Godot. I thought I would love this book. Turns out I didn't really care for it.

The first act was well done and sets the stage. Act II steers the story in a darker direction. My problem came with act III. Act III was weird and confusing and I didn't enjoy it at all. It left my with an overall negative impression of the story. I don't need a hollywood ending to my books but I expected something more than I got from this book and it felt like the author cheated me after I had invested my time in reading his story.

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