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Adam Thorpe ¾ 3 read

The Standing Pool

The Thomsons start to feel the vulnerability of being aliens in this unpredictable wildness While Sarah frets about the danger of the swimming pool and the night time visits of well tusked boars Johnny is concerned by the locals particularly Jean Luc the gardener Is his taste for hammering tiny nails into dolls collecting arcane rubbish and secretly photographing Sarah than a harmless pastime And how should they rea. Didn t really enjoy it Skipped the violent bits and the intellectual stuff at the end too

free read The Standing Pool

Ct to his eager befriending of their girlsThe novel narrated from several points of view most importantly from Jean Luc’s is about being among strangers and being a stranger oneself Writing as always with linguistic élan imaginative flair and an alert ear for dialogue Adam Thorpe allows the comic to occasionally seep through before returning us to the terrifying mysteries that feed at the heart of this thrilling nov. Most of this book is really rather good but then it s all ruined in the last chapter when Thorpe becomes bored of the whole thing and ends up with one of the lamest endings I ve ever read What a waste

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An idyllic old farmhouse in France is the background to a gripping story suffused with tensionTwo Oxford historians Johnny and Sarah Thomson take a sabbatical with their three small and lively girls in a remote and beautiful old farmhouse in the hills of Languedoc But the farmhouse has its own histories rather fraught and alive than those the Thomsons are used to dealing with on the pageAs the illusion of Eden retreats. Ever since I read Ulverton back in the 90 s Adam Thorpe has been one of my must read authorsStanding pool is the story of a Cambridge intellectual family who are taking a 6 month sabbatical in the Languedoc region of France to research and write up their booksessays on AfricaNick the father of the family is in his fifties and being overtaken by a younger set at University never uite achieving Professorship He is suffering from stress and has polyps on his vocal cordsSarah is mum much younger than Nick and used to be his pupilTammy Alicia and Beans Fulvia are the daughters ranging in age from 8 to 2Mixed up in this are the owners of the farm they rent Alan an entreprenurial American currently dealing in antiuities including some shady dealings in Ira and his English wife LucyJean Luc is the strange gardenergroundsman who unsuccesfully tries to keep the titular Pool clean grow a lawn keep out the wild boars and grow a cherry tree He also has a side line in voyeurism and talking to his dead Oncle FerdinandThrow into the mix Jamie Nick s son by a previous marriage who in his late twenties seems to live a semi hippy existence travelling and living hand to mouthThe story is presented with some humour but there are ominous portents of something terrible about to happen Again and again you are presented with things which could be fatal the standing pool itself often turning opaue so that anything might be down there the slippery tiles on the roof which Jamie seems to like investigating a lethal electric fence Jean Luc erects to keep out the boars and children who seem to find putting themselves in jeapordy the most fun you can have on the farmAdam Thorpe succesfully weaves humour and happy family moments with these dark moments and a look at village life which reminds me of nothing so much as Straw Dogs You begin to feel affection and fear for the family throughout the bookThe ending is totally unexpected for an Adam Thorpe book anyway and if I m honest a little bit of a cop out but it shows Adam Thorpe could out Stephen King Stephen King if he wanted toOverall I was gripped by this book and enjoyed it enormously right up until the ends I m just sorry he didn t choose one or the other


About the Author: Adam Thorpe

Adam Thorpe is a British poet novelist and playwright whose works also include short stories and radio dramasAdam Thorpe was born in Paris and grew up in India Cameroon and England Graduating from Magdalen College Oxford in 1979 he founded a touring theatre company then settled in London to teach drama and English literatureHis first collection of poetry Mornings in the Baltic 1988 w



10 thoughts on “The Standing Pool

  1. says:

    I had some problems deciding how I felt about this one possibly because the author didn't really make his mind up what it was It is the story of a family the Mallinsons who decide to take a six month sabbatical in France Nick is a 50 something university lecturer with a wife Sarah 20 years younger an ex pupil and three

  2. says:

    Thank god Adam Thorpe returns to form with this exuisite novel set in the milieu I know only too well the back country of beloved France It has the usual scenario of a family living in a deserted farmhouse when you just know their peace is about to be shattered But it's the way he has with words There's no showing off in this one Having fo

  3. says:

    Ever since I read Ulverton back in the 90's Adam Thorpe has been one of my must read authorsStanding pool is the story of a Cambridge intellectual family who are taking a 6 month sabbatical in the Languedoc region of France to research and write up their booksessays on AfricaNick the father of the family is in h

  4. says:

    Didn't really enjoy it Skipped the violent bits and the intellectual stuff at the end too

  5. says:

    This novel has a promising start A married couple and their three daughters rent a farmhouse in France to escape the rat race for 6 months It soon becomes apparent to the reader that the gardener Jean Luc is odd in the extreme with a penchant for creating very disturbing sculptures in his bedroom and talking to

  6. says:

    I was really disappointed this book didn't do better To my mind it's a fabulous read and certainly deserved acclaim that

  7. says:

    Found this one hard to rate Bits of it were great especially the menace built up in rural Languedoc but also at times I wanted to strangle the two sets of Brits so maybe that ok too Academics and art collectors but in the end he spoilt it all by his over the top ending I think he maybe got bored

  8. says:

    Most of this book is really rather good but then it's all ruined in the last chapter when Thorpe becomes bored of the whole thing and ends up with one of the lamest endings I've ever read What a waste

  9. says:

    Not sure if to continueuite a slow start and not really catching my imaginationI couldn't complete this Did not even deserve one star

  10. says:

    I am a fan of Adam Thorpe's writing and this book is an excellent example of it I didn't entirely enjoy the direction the book went in but the unsettling effect has certainly stayed with me

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