ELIZABETH BAINES - REVIEWS

PLAYS: FOR REVIEWS AND COMMENTS PLEASE SEE PLAYS PAGE


TOO MANY MAGPIES (NOVEL): REVIEWS AND COMMENTS

'Moving and compelling' - Sarah Salway

'Terrific... very clever indeed and finally, very moving too' - Adele Geras. Full review here (scroll down to Books)

'Smartly plotted and with not a word wasted, Too Many Magpies is an appealing, bewitching read, one that feels slightly dangerous and a little bit thrilling. It deals with predictable subjects in unpredictable ways, and for that reason alone it marks Baines as a British writer to watch. Highly recommended.' - Reading Matters blog. Whole review here.

'A fantastic achievement from a fresh, noteworthy talent' - Book Scout, Goodreads.

'I read most of this book in one sitting as I could not drag myself away from its eerie storytelling... An accomplished, thoughtful novel that offers us a strange new lens with which to view the world' - Lisa Glass, Vulpes Libris

'A knack of repeatedly picking up moments of life that only while reading you realise you haven’t seen in a novel before but that are true and needed telling. The book freezes our times for future generations in a way that the mammoth, multi-layered uber-novels of Franzens, Safran Foers and Mitchells can only dream of... It is a great book.' - Benjamin Judge

'A powerful and emotional journey for the reader and one that makes this book an easy one to recommend' - William Rycroft

'Bursting with ideas and surprises and humanity. It is touching and the emotional life of the narrator lingers in the memory long after the final sentences have faded. Highly recommended.' - John Baker

'Compelling style that keeps me turning the pages ... sustained menace' - Clare Dudman

'Intense and unsettling. The prose is spartan, but powerful... Despite its physical brevity, Too Many Magpies poses huge questions about life today' - Sally Zigmond

I devoured this book in one sitting: I am a quick reader, but when a book grabs one's attention the way that Too Many Magpies does, I find it extremely hard to put it down.This book was amazing...' - Barbara Smith

'This is a book that made me hold my breath. Baines' gift is to do the literary equivalent of revealing what is on the inside of trouser pockets during laundry, ordinary and sacred things otherwise hidden are carefully revealed... What I found extraordinary as reader and writer was Elzabeth Baine’s ability to convey so skillfully and lightly the nuances of relationships and communication... As a reader it was the kind of book I have longed to read, as a writer, it is the kind of book I would dream of writing.' - Alison Wells


'Precise language and graceful use of time... Glitters with meanings' - Judith Amanthis, Morning Star

'Deceptively simple, a beautifully crafted novel in which every word seems to have multiple layers of meaning' - Debi Alper

'Like her short story collection this is a beautifully-written book' - Jim Murdoch

'A wonderful conceit ... full of really wonderful imagery and a sense of magic and science as equally mysterious forces in our lives' - Jen Michalski, JMWW magazine

'Too Many Magpies is a fantastic short novel, full of mystery, humanity and depth. It is extraordinarily well written - in beautiful prose - and the question at the heart of it kept me hooked till the end. Very enjoyable and highly recommended... Baines deserves a wide readership & critical acclaim' - Caitlin G (Amazon Review)

'A really very good read. I'm not a voracious reader so for me to have read this book quickly is the best compliment I can pay. Elizabeth makes a convincing rope from the fears of modern life from an original perspective but as a side note the interweaving strands of gardening references and particularly the authenticity of the joy of driving and descriptions of open roads and freedom hooked me in ... Great book.' - Peadar O'Donoghue

'Too Many Magpies is an incredibly thoughtful novel and as such will appeal as much to the mind of the reader as to the heart. I definitely recommend it as a book to lose yourself in' - Helen Hunt, Bookersatz

'I finished Too Many Magpies in three bedtime reads (something I rarely do!). Mesmerised from start to finish. As a reader I identified with it to a (sometimes) uncomfortable degree - loved the prose and the way the elements and characters were mirrored/entwined. A unique experience, seldom read anything by a UK writer that has had so marked an effect!' - Dot Seven, Amazon Review.

'Without a doubt the story and the questions Baines poses are compelling, unique even. But her writing is what makes this short book exceptional... It is really well done.' - - Michelle Bailat-Jones. Full review here.




BALANCING ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD
(STORIES): REVIEWS AND COMMENTS

'Quite swept me off my feet ... Nothing would have induced me to interrupt
Balancing on the Edge of the World by Elizabeth Baines until I'd read them all'
- Dovegreyreader. Read a review by Dovegreyreader here.

'One of those books I had to force myself to put down just so the experience
of reading it wouldn't end.' - Tania Hershman

'One of the best short story collections I have ever read' - Jamieson Wolf

'Stunning short stories' - Sally Zigmond. Read whole review here.

'What makes Elizabeth Baines' collection so brilliant ... is that she perfectly plays
with both the page-turning quality of novel's fiction, and a crafted beauty you
usually only associate with verse... They're funny, and moving, and thoughtful -
but above all, they're short stories which celebrate how beguiling short stories
can be. Read and be enchanted.' - Rob Shearman, author World Fantasy Award
winning collection Tiny Deaths. Read the full review here.

'This is storytelling for the 21st century' - Jim Murdoch. Whole review here.

'Every story is meticulously crafted, and I loved how the stories are told with
such a compact grace... There is an emotional honesty to them that is really
raw and intense, and I found them very affecting' - Shelf Life blog. Read the
whole review here.

'Frank, original prose underpins all the stories and the central motif, power…
This is a stunning debut collection by a writer whose prose deliberates its
characters and themes with a keen sense of literary drama'
- Melissa Lee-Houghton, The Short Review. Full review here.

'A terrific collection - luminous, witty and wise' - Livi Michael

'Each story strikes to the heart' - Sue Guiney

'This is the real deal' - Matt Bell on one of the stories in the book,
'Daniel Smith Disappears off the Face of the Earth'. Full appreciation here.

'There’s this great sense of delight in words, in expression, that lends a freshness
to even the most traditional piece here. It feels rather like her characters are
really glad to just be able to tell you about their lives, even when those lives
are not necessarily much fun. The overall effect is like walking down the street
and seeing people in their living room who have forgotten that people outside
can see in, except this time you can hear them, too.' - Bookmunch blog.
Read whole review here.

'Elizabeth Baines' specialty is unpacking relationships ...[She is] wincingly funny
about the creative process and 'The Shooting Script' ought to be required reading
for anyone who fancies themselves writing for television. She's both lyrical and
clear-sighted when she looks at the world through a child's eyes...
Enormous aplomb ...Very well-written' - Adele Geras. Full review here.

'A very high standard of writing indeed and I enjoyed it very much...
I'd definitely read more Baines' - Anne Brooke. Full review here

'Elizabeth Baines is a superb stylist - a latter-day fabulist in fact -
and her writing reminded me of Chekhov's in that it was spare and
paid attention to the subtleties of everyday experience.' - Clare Dudman

'I was moved and impressed by its intelligence, emotional acuity and
sheer variety' - Charles Lambert.

'Impressive collection... She finds and plucks out important and remarkable
moments from the otherwise ordinary. It is quite a skill.' - Scott Pack
. Full review here.

'A description of a mugging that manages to be both beautiful and harrowing,
one of those perfect pieces of short fiction that sticks with you and makes you
see the next puddle you walk past differently' - Katie Rathfelder on 'Daniel Smith
Disappears off the Face of the Earth', Bookmunch. See full review of the collection here.

'Sometimes books are just right, they feel right, and when you read them it's almost as though they're singing to you. And Balancing on the Edge of the World is just one of those' - Nik Perring

'Baines’ characterisations are particularly vivid, ranging from comic to tragic but always retaining their believability' - Claire Marriott on Bookersatz. Full review here.

'I was amazed how Baines handles a moment, that moment, when a young man’s world changes forever' - The Biblio Blogazine on the story 'Daniel Smith Disappears Off the Face of the Earth'. For full review of collection see here.

For Dovegreyreader's comments on the story 'Power' see here.

'Most impressive ... charts the fortunes of three generations in as many pages without any sense of strain or thinness' - Punch Magazine on one of the stories, 'Leaf Memory'.

Amazon reviews.



THE BIRTH MACHINE (NOVEL): REVIEWS AND COMMENTS


Reviews of the new edition:

'Really rather brilliant, deep, dark and moving' - Steve Waling

'A damn good read. It’s a cliché to say this is a must-read, but still, I’m going to urge you all to read it. And I’m talking to you, too, boys: it might have a lot of fairy-tale aspects and it’s undeniably about pregnancy and labour, but it’s got science, too! Seriously. Salt’s done the public a service in bringing this one back. It’s a rock-hard satire and a very, very, very good read. So, you know, read it.' - Valerie O'Riordan on Bookmunch. Full review here.

'I was in awe of the masterful examination of polite cowardice and of the barriers constructed to prevent women from asking questions about their own bodies.
...just like Elizabeth Baines’s other recent novel Too Many Magpies, The Birth Machine leaves an indelible mark on its reader.' - Lisa Glass, Vulpes Libris. Full review here.

'A disturbing and thought-provoking meditation on power, control and the uncertain language of logic' - Carys Bray. Full review here.

'Immediately takes the reader into a world of vivid detail and thought-provoking imagery... I highly recommend this novel both for the intelligent handling of the themes and the pleasure of the reading experience.' - Helen Hunt on Bookersatz. Full review here.

'I enjoyed this book very much.' 'An eye-opener that men should read too' - Jim Murdoch. Read a review by Jim Murdoch here.

'An absorbing novel. I found it very hard to put down and read it in only three sittings, but I am sure I will return to it time and time again' - Angela Topping, Amazon review. Read the whole review here.

'I found this book completely absorbing and read it far too late into the night.
I don't see it as a polemic about hi-tech childbirth, but rather a nightmarish parable about power and secrets ... Baines makes subtle points about intimacy and betrayal... An intriguing back mystery kept me guessing and unsettled to the end. An excellent and unusual story. Highly recommended.' -
Amazon review

'Strange but compelling ... it all comes together in a coherent and powerful way ... I was gripped, especially by the childhood scenes... For me what impressed most was the language, well observed and precise.' - Alan Beard, Goodreads. Full review here.

'This is a short book that needs time and thought; not only to grasp the real behind the satire but also to appreciate the amazing talent that this author has to give you thoughts and feelings without telling you what to think or feel. ...if you want to know how to write well, this book is for you.' - Rachel Carter

'Beautifully written' - Womagwriter

'Highly recommended' - Claire King.

 

From reviews of the first edition:

'The birth myth of our age' - IN DUBLIN

'A gripping story, a pithy book' - Katy Campbell

'An increasingly powerful narrative... Sharp satire - TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

 

Discussions of The Birth Machine can be found in the following publications:

Contemporary Women's Fiction and the Fantastic by Lucy Armitt (Macmillan, 2000)

Feminism After Postmodernism by Marysia Zalewski (Routledge, 2000)

Reproducing the Womb by Alice E Adams (Cornell University Press, 1994)

Women Writing Childbirth by Tess Cosslett (Manchester University Press, 1994)

The Witch in History by Diane Purkiss (Routledge, 1996)

Lost in Space - Probing Feminist Science Fiction & Beyond by Marleen S Barr, The University of North Carolina Press, 1993

ELIZABETH BAINES: | PLAYS | PROSE FICTION | NON-FICTION | OTHER WORK

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