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Author Biography: Patrick McGrath was born in London ...
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Author Biography: Patrick McGrath was born in London and grew up near Broadmoor Hospital, where for many years his father was medical superintendent. He is the author of Blood and Water and Other Tales, The Grotesque, Spider, Dr. Haggard's Disease, and Martha Peake, and he was the co-editor, with Bradford Morrow, of The New York Gothic. He lives in New York City and London, and is married to actress Maria Aitken.
"Brilliant. . . . The sensuous world that McGrath creates is intense in its beauty. . . mesmerizing." —Katherine Dunn, The New York Times Book Review
"Disturbing, wholly absorbing. . . a combination murder mystery/dark-night-of-the-soul. . . touchingly, menacingly brilliant." —Chicago Tribune
"A gorgeous, painful howl of madness, shockingly perfect." —Jonathan Hawkes
"Has the compelling quality of felt reality [that] feels like the inevitable truth. Spider is a thriller of sorts, as well as a psychological case study. . . a gem." —Washington Post Book World
"McGrath especially excels at evoking the latent horro in commonplace sights. . . . [He] has created a manifestly untrustworthy storyteller without sacrificing suspense or sympathy for his characters." —Cleveland Plain Dealer
"[Spider] is as creepy as a fleshy incarnation of an Edward Gorey drawing. . . . McGrath's a shrewd performer. You're fascinated; you're enthralled. . . it's a pleasure to be mesmerized." —Newsday
"Truly outstanding. . . evocative. . . Accomplished in the sinister and macabre, McGrath transcends his already solid reputation with a powerfully realized character who simply won't let you go." —Christian Science Monitor
"The strength of Spider is in the character of the deeply human, if mad, protagonist who emerges as a formidable sufferer among the Gothic trappings. . . . McGrath is a sly literate who. . . has talent—in spades." —Philadelphia Inquirer
Posted November 29, 2003
I call 'Spider' a 'noir disasterpiece' with all respect for the job Mr. McGrath has done with it. 'To be awake is to be available to torment, and this is the full complete meaning of life,' sums up Spider's worldview; and, lo and behold, once you dive into this disasterpiece's cold, murky waters, you will find your self agreeing with Spider--never have I read a tale so well articulated about the loss of innocence...and the beginning of becoming a 'bad boy.' If you are another media-besotted drone, you most likely will become confused by Mr. McGrath's narration, which tends to go back and forth throughout time to tell Spider's horrible story, but if you have a good attention span, and can appreciate a GREAT gothic book, read this book; I promise you won't be disapointed: it is skincrawlingly creepy; thus the title 'Spider,' tee-hee-hee!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 23, 2003
I came to read this book only because I saw the movie, starring Ralph Fiennes, first. The movie was very slow, but towards the end, the climatic result was well worth the wait. I figured the book had to be better. Spider is a well-woven tale of a man recollecting his descent into madness as a child; it is vividly described in intricate detail. However, there are a few confusing factors-in the movie, Spider confused his mother with a fictional 'tart' whom his father met at a local pub. He was schizophranic, and in his mental illness, he imagined his father killing his sweet mother and replacing her with the 'tart' from the pub. Spider, unable to accept this new woman as his mother, begins to plot in her death, but,in reality, it really is his own mother he is seeing, and in the movie, they clarify this. In the book, however, it was never noted which was the real personality of his mother, the 'tarty' woman, or the sweet, innocent woman who used to tell Spider stories as they waited for his father to return home from the local pubs. Though the book held the same melancholy atmosphere as the movie, I think the movie did a better job at clearing up some of the confusing elements of the book. Very well written, just a little too sketchy, but it's definitely a good story; I'm glad it was adapted into a motion picture.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 16, 2002
This is a superb book that is atmospheric almost to the point of being claustrophobic, which suits the narrator and setting perfectly. It is dark and disturbing and vividly described by an extremely sympathetic if not always reliable narrator. Highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 7, 2001
when i first started to read this book, i was immediately hooked on it and i couldnt put it down!i loved the way he described his surroundings; a surreal view on every one of his senses. however, the organization of teh story is pretty confusing. i occasionaly had to read over things over again to know what time period he was talkin about: his childhood, present, etc. overall, i love this book! its my favorite now!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 27, 2008
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