The Tyrant's Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading The Tyrant's Novel on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Tyrant's Novel [Paperback]

Thomas Keneally
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition --  
Hardcover --  
Paperback CDN $11.96  
Paperback, 2004 --  
MP3 CD, Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged CDN $13.13  

Product Details


Customer Reviews

4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The master restored April 30 2004
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Allan Sheriff, circled by wire in a desolate place, has a story to tell. Actually, he has two stories: one, his own, describing the life of a writer in Hussein's Baghdad and the other with the same theme. The difference is that the first tells the story of the second. Why is Sheriff fenced in at a remote location of almost indescribeable desolation? What abominable crime has put him there? In answering these questions, Thomas Keneally has returned to the top rank of novelists. He excels again with this modern tale of international politics, survival in an oppressive regime, and personal tragedy. This is among the finest of Keneally's works.
Sheriff, a reputable writer, is recruited by Iraq's Great Uncle to post a message to the world. The "sanctions" imposed by the victors of the First Gulf War have brought poverty, lack of food and water and depleted medical facilities to their country. The whims of an arbitrary government, the absolutist nature of the leaders - already a dynasty in the making, and needless casualties from a meaningless war are minimal when contrasted to the universal suffering caused by curtailment of the oil exports. Great Uncle wants Sheriff to expose this injustice through a novel depicting conditions. Sheriff, who might have been willing and able to perform this feat, is afflicted by a more personal crisis - the loss of his wife Sarah.
"Alan"? "Sarah"? This couple is close friends with Matt McBrien and Andrew Kennedy. Are these names typical of a Middle Eastern people? Keneally deftly arabesques away from pigeon-holing these people and their circumstances as "Arabs" or even Muslims.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and Effective March 24 2005
Format:Hardcover
Keneally vividly conjures up the dilemmas that the artist in a repressive regime faces. "The Tyrants Novel" alows the reader to fell the vise closing in on Alan Sheriff as he is forced to work with the regime that is destroying his homeland.
"The Tyrants Novel" avoids the stereotypical scenes of repression - physical abuse, direct threats - in order to spin a web of gnawing anguish. A few scenes in "The Tyrants Novel" will remain with me for years to come - not because they are rendered so graphically, but because they are presented in a plausible manner that makes them even more disturbing.
One thing that Keneally does is to give all of his characters - in what is clearly Iraq - Englich and Irish names. At first, this seems bizarre, but the sad fact is, westertn readers will more readily identify with characters named "McBrien", "Sarah" and "Andrew" than they will with "Abdul" and "Mohammed".
A great novel and one that has sent me serching out Keneally's other books.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars The master restored July 12 2004
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Allan Sheriff, circled by wire in a desolate place, has a story to tell. Actually, he has two stories: one, his own, describing the life of a writer in Hussein's Baghdad and the other with the same theme. The difference is that the first tells the story of the second. Why is Sheriff fenced in at a remote location of almost indescribeable desolation? What abominable crime has put him there? In answering these questions, Thomas Keneally has returned to the top rank of novelists. He excels again with this modern tale of international politics, survival in an oppressive regime, and personal tragedy. This is among the finest of Keneally's works.
Sheriff, a reputable writer, is recruited by Iraq's Great Uncle to post a message to the world. The "sanctions" imposed by the victors of the First Gulf War have brought poverty, lack of food and water and depleted medical facilities to their country. The whims of an arbitrary government, the absolutist nature of the leaders - already a dynasty in the making, and needless casualties from a meaningless war are minimal when contrasted to the universal suffering caused by curtailment of the oil exports. Great Uncle wants Sheriff to expose this injustice through a novel depicting conditions. Sheriff, who might have been willing and able to perform this feat, is afflicted by a more personal crisis - the loss of his wife Sarah.
"Alan"? "Sarah"? This couple is close friends with Matt McBrien and Andrew Kennedy. Are these names typical of a Middle Eastern people? Keneally deftly arabesques away from pigeon-holing these people and their circumstances as "Arabs" or even Muslims.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, Clever and Well-Done Sept. 5 2004
By Elizabeth Hendry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Thomas Keneally's The Tyrant's Novel opens in a refugee holding camp of sorts in a Western nation. The initial narrator tells a brief story of meeting one of the refugees held there, Alan Sheriff, who is seeking political asylum and whose story makes up much of this enjoyable novel. Alan was a very successful novelist, with an American publishing contract, in a fictional country that is a thinly-disguised contemporary Iraq. His life is ideal, or as much as that can be when living under a despot's rule, when it pretty much crumbles in front of his eyes. His beloved wife dies suddenly and he is subsequently 'asked' by the Great Uncle, the tyrant of his country (and a dead ringer for Saddam Hussein) to ghostwrite a novel for him. The request is not just for any novel, but one which is so wonderful and moving, one which so exposes the effects that economic sanctions are having on his country that the world's superpowers will be convinced to removed those sanctions. Part of what makes Keneally's novel so wonderful is that it is both a politcal novel and a novel about writing and the creative process. Keneally masterfully, seamlessly blends these two genres into an enjoyable whole. The novel is at once a politcal allegory and a story of symbolic writer's block. It is an excellent, heart-breaking story, well-done and compelling. Enjoy.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keneally in award-winning form with serious political novel. Oct. 7 2004
By Mary Whipple - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In this novel within a novel, Australian author Thomas Keneally returns to the political themes which won him prizes for The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Voices from the Forest, and Schindler's Ark. Keneally has always been at his best depicting ordinary people facing extraordinary pressures, especially from governments bent on totalitarian rule, and this contemporary allegory is no exception. Taking place in an unnamed oil-rich country in the Middle East ruled by a tyrant who calls himself Great Uncle, the novel centers on a man calling himself "Alan Sheriff," a short story writer given one month to write an "autobiographical novel" for which Great Uncle will take full credit. Sheriff, we learn in the opening chapter, is telling his story to a western journalist from a detention camp in an unnamed desert country, where he has languished for three years.

Keneally increases the impact and universality of the story through his clever use of western names. As Alan Sheriff tells the journalist, it is important for his credibility in the west that he be like a man you'd meet on the street, which is much easier with a name like Alan--"not, God help us, Said and Osama and Saleh. If we had Mac instead of Ibn." Alan believes his "saddest and silliest story" will interest Americans, despite the fact that his country and the US are now enemies.

Through Alan's story, the reader meets Mrs. Douglas, whose nephew, not careful enough of the pH level of Great Uncle's swimming pool, has been shot and hanged from the ramparts; Mrs. Carter, whose son has been missing for six years; Alan's beloved wife, Sarah Manners, an actress who has become unemployable; Matt McBride, another writer who becomes head of the Cultural Commission where he works for Great Uncle; and Louise James, an American who would like to get Sheriff to come to Texas as a visiting professor. All these characters contribute to a stunning conclusion as Sheriff tries to write the required novel.

Easily the best Keneally novel in over a decade, this serious and thoughtful novel has significant political ramifications. The characters are "ordinary people," much like the rest of us, caught in extreme situations, and Keneally builds up enormous suspense as the long tentacles of the tyrant grab everyone in their path. Though most readers will recognize the unnamed country and the tyrant, it is a tribute to Keneally that their specific identities are totally irrelevant to his themes and plot. The author makes it clear that a government's manipulation of the people's perceptions through staged events is not limited to the Third World. Mary Whipple
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The master is restored June 6 2004
By Stephen A. Haines - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Allan Sheriff, circled by wire in a desolate place, has a story to tell. Actually, he has two stories: one, his own, describing the life of a writer in Hussein's Baghdad and the other with the same theme. The difference is that the first tells the story of the second. Why is Sheriff fenced in at a remote location of almost indescribeable desolation? What abominable crime has put him there? In answering these questions, Thomas Keneally has returned to the top rank of novelists. He excels again with this modern tale of international politics, survival in an oppressive regime, and personal tragedy. This is among the finest of Keneally's works.
Sheriff, a reputable writer, is recruited by Iraq's Great Uncle to post a message to the world. The "sanctions" imposed by the victors of the First Gulf War have brought poverty, lack of food and water and depleted medical facilities to their country. The whims of an arbitrary government, the absolutist nature of the leaders - already a dynasty in the making, and needless casualties from a meaningless war are minimal when contrasted to the universal suffering caused by curtailment of the oil exports. Great Uncle wants Sheriff to expose this injustice through a novel depicting conditions. Sheriff, who might have been willing and able to perform this feat, is afflicted by a more personal crisis - the loss of his wife Sarah.
"Alan"? "Sarah"? This couple is close friends with Matt McBrien and Andrew Kennedy. Are these names typical of a Middle Eastern people? Keneally deftly arabesques away from pigeon-holing these people and their circumstances as "Arabs" or even Muslims. In depicting Sheriff's relations with "Mrs Carter", for example, Keneally shows the universality of a mother's grief, the shameful machinations of a government engaged in useless and costly war, and the mixed feelings of soldiers. He doesn't want to distance his characters from the reader - and the use of Anglo-Celtic names in a novel about a suffering people brings us closer to their realities.
With his vivid, expressive style, Keneally uses Sheriff to guide us through the harsh world of a despotic regime. Whatever his faults, Hussein's Iraqi people was the true victim of a higher level of despotism - trade embargoes and external demands by international agencies. Keneally describes a nation living on the edge of survival. The people may have the Great Uncle's Blue Overalls at their doorstep, but they know it wasn't the Great Uncle that cut off their drinking water or intercepted the medicines.
The reader can always rely on Thomas Keneally for stories of intense feeling and wide interest. He surpasses many of his earlier works with this modern story. That the "Coalition of the Willing" have launched a crusade against the Great Uncle doesn't reduce the value of this book. Keneally uses Sheriff to expose many facets of Iraqi life. His wit and sardonic humour are more pointed here than any previous work. Keneally's sense of justice is monumental. It's a sense to be admired - better, to be emulated. He knows there are no simple answers to human questions, and he displays that view in this exemplary book. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A timely fable revealing creativity and innovation. Sept. 7 2004
By S. Calhoun - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
THE TYRANT'S NOVEL is at once ingenious and innovative in its ability to mirror recent world history events without disclosing vital identities. While reading it is difficult to not think of current geopolitical events. When we first meet protagonist Alan Sheriff he is being held as a political prisoner in an undisclosed Western nation. While being interviewed by journalists Sheriff explains his tale of how he ended up in his current predicament and his former life in an anonymous nation suffering from U.S.-led oil embargo and is ruled by a ruthless dictator. As the narrative unfolds the similarities between Sheriff's home country and Saddam Hussein's Iraq is quite uncanny and difficult to overlook.

Sheriff was once a member of the elite middle class largely unaffected by the devasting economic repercussions of the oil embargo. But despite his social standings he has created a reputation for his literary skill he is ordered by the tyrant to write a novel about the chaos that has burdened his country to be published under the tyrants name and released in time for a forthcoming G7 summit. Sheriff's been provided a very short deadline and in order to complete this unthinkable task he must battle personal demons that plague him.

Thomas Keneally performs a superb job in creating this fast-paced thriller that failed to lose steam at any given time. I was immediately hooked by the opening paragraph and couldn't wait to reach the end. Recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keneally in award-winning form with serious political novel. June 19 2006
By Mary Whipple - Published on Amazon.com
In this novel within a novel, Australian author Thomas Keneally returns to the political themes which won him prizes for The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Voices from the Forest, and Schindler's Ark. Keneally has always been at his best depicting ordinary people facing extraordinary pressures, especially from governments bent on totalitarian rule, and this contemporary allegory is no exception. Taking place in an unnamed oil-rich country in the Middle East ruled by a tyrant who calls himself Great Uncle, the novel centers on a man calling himself "Alan Sheriff," a short story writer given one month to write an "autobiographical novel" for which Great Uncle will take full credit. Sheriff, we learn in the opening chapter, is telling his story to a western journalist from a detention camp in an unnamed desert country, where he has languished for three years.

Keneally increases the impact and universality of the story through his clever use of western names. As Alan Sheriff tells the journalist, it is important for his credibility in the west that he be like a man you'd meet on the street, which is much easier with a name like Alan--"not, God help us, Said and Osama and Saleh. If we had Mac instead of Ibn." Alan believes his "saddest and silliest story" will interest Americans, despite the fact that his country and the US are now enemies.

Through Alan's story, the reader meets Mrs. Douglas, whose nephew, not careful enough of the pH level of Great Uncle's swimming pool, has been shot and hanged from the ramparts; Mrs. Carter, whose son has been missing for six years; Alan's beloved wife, Sarah Manners, an actress who has become unemployable; Matt McBride, another writer who becomes head of the Cultural Commission where he works for Great Uncle; and Louise James, an American who would like to get Sheriff to come to Texas as a visiting professor. All these characters contribute to a stunning conclusion as Sheriff tries to write the required novel.

Easily the best Keneally novel in over a decade, this serious and thoughtful novel has significant political ramifications. The characters are "ordinary people," much like the rest of us, caught in extreme situations, and Keneally builds up enormous suspense as the long tentacles of the tyrant grab everyone in their path. Though most readers will recognize the unnamed country and the tyrant, it is a tribute to Keneally that their specific identities are totally irrelevant to his themes and plot. The author makes it clear that a government's manipulation of the people's perceptions through staged events is not limited to the Third World. Mary Whipple
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews
ARRAY(0xa7b80e1c)

Look for similar items by category


Feedback