Welcome to Calliope's Coffee House the proprietor of this establishment is Jacquie Reaville better known as The Book Imp.

When I started this place it was primarily for book reviews and thoughts on all things literary. Well the book reviews are still here, but somehow it's grown into a place for me and others to practice short fictional writing and of course a place where I can give my thoughts and opinions on virtually any subject that might take my fancy.

Hope you enjoy your visit.

Just to add that I welcome comments, the more the merrier. They don't even have to be related to books or writing just go wild (not too wild though).

Permissions are set so that even anonymous users can answer - but comment moderation is in effect which means I get to say yes or no to letting them appear here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Book Review for Pandora in the Congo by Albert Sánchez Piñol

ISBN: 978 1 84195 815 6
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Website: www.canongate.net
Copyright © Albert Sánchez Piñol 2005
Translation Copyright © Mara Faye Lethem 2008
Pages 441, Hardcover

(An Early Reviewer Book sent to me by Canongate Books through LibraryThing for my review).

A story in two parts. In fact a story about writing a story, and the actual story. Firstly, the narrative of Tommy Thomson, his life in London as a fledgling ghost writer, the people in his life and his dreams of writing "a great book", and secondly the adventure written from Thomson’s prison visits with Marcus Garvey, a man awaiting trial for double murder.

The plot twists and turns, WWI happens (almost as a slight annoyance), and then the story continues to its not entirely unforeseen climax. Piñol moves the reader seamlessly between Thomson and Garvey’s stories, from London to the Congo, then back again and also through time, without the pause for thought that can sometimes happen with this strategy.

There is a flavour of Jules Verne or Edgar Rice Burroughs to the writing especially those sections relating to the journey through the Congo, which in my opinion is intentional by the author, possibly with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. It worked for me.

I enjoyed this book enormously. It was humorous, puzzling and downright sinister in places, I shall most certainly be buying Piñol’s previous book and probably his next one too.


  1. It does sound good. I have a friend whose girlfriend has an aid job in the Congo so I am sure he would enjoy it too.

  2. Well I hope she never comes across anyone like some of the characters in this book that's for sure. Though it is set in 1914 I guess.

  3. Interesting! I didn't go for that one as it didn't really seem my thing, wish we had more choice in the UK though...

    Keep up the non smoking, fellow Brummie LTer. I know ever such a good hypnotist if you need him.

  4. Yes only three for the UK this month, I wonder if I'll get one, seems like an awful lot of people going for such a few copies.

    If I need a hypnotist I'll let you know, I'm doing pretty well though up to yet.


I welcome comments so please feel free to leave a message, the site allows Anonymous users but comment moderation is in effect. Which means I get to vet what you've written before it appears on the page (Oh the power!).

About Me

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Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom
My name is Jac, Jacquie, Jacquelynn, TheBookImp or just Imp. I live in the UK. I love to read as is probably obvious. I also like to write. Anything else you would like to know just ask.

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