When Jackie travels to the South Downs in search of her childhood home, she uncovers a sinister secret lurking in the family closet. Her estranged brother, Chris, is her last remaining relative, but he has been transformed into something unrecognisable by the ghosts of the past. In her journey to discover the truth, Jackie enters a strange world of free-loving heathens, enWhen Jackie travels to the South Downs in search of her childhood home, she uncovers a sinister secret lurking in the family closet. Her estranged brother, Chris, is her last remaining relative, but he has been transformed into something unrecognisable by the ghosts of the past. In her journey to discover the truth, Jackie enters a strange world of free-loving heathens, environmental warriors and sadistic priests, where dragons dwell beneath the streets of northern towns and demons prowl on the edge of Avebury’s stone circle. A gothic tale of love, revenge and atonement, Of Bodies Changed is an odyssey through the ancient myths that echo the human experience....
|Title||:||Of Bodies Changed|
|Number of Pages||:||323 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Of Bodies Changed Reviews
It's strange how you can read a book once and get nothing from it because of your situation and interests and then you read it some other time and it all makes sense and speaks to you. My second reading of 'Of Bodies Changed' was charged in a way that my first reading utterly failed to register.This novel has a richly complex structure and narrative. The author's choice of myths and symbols interweave the pagan (including the incessant and pervasive weather and environment, which is also a very gothic feature) and the (Greek) classical within that structure and narrative for dramatic effect and as tools to explicate the characters and themes. At some points this seems overly ambitious, but there is something very new in the reverberations of James’ combinations that, while they don't always coalesce in certain respects, make the book an exciting and compelling read.As a gothic tale, 'Of Bodies Changed' retains the traditional romanticism of the genre through the imagery and description, but I also found it very contemporary, perhaps because I felt there were also some magic-realist qualities to it. These qualities are likely also a consequence of the interest in pagan magic that flows throughout the text as a counter to and protest against conservative, organised religion. On that note, the themes and issues James takes us to include the damage of family violence, sexual repression and the perversion of nature this causes, particularly as done by organised religion. On the other hand, he looks at the individual's capacity for giving and making choice, self-fulfilment and perhaps knowing when something is finished and acting upon that.To pick a couple of bits to the story that struck me without spoiling anything (dear reader), I would highlight (apart from the many beautiful descriptive passage that fill the book) the following: The Old Woman was hideous and utterly terrifying (as all demons must be) and so a highly successful creature; I felt great sympathy for the character of Jake; and I loved how Day’s sculpture of David was the headstone for the grave for the piano, one example of an element constituting the very satisfying symmetry of this book.Thank you, Cliff James!
The story of a young woman in search of a brother who is only a childhood memory, Of Bodies Changed quickly becomes a harrowing love story told within the context of Greek myth and, like the myths, tied equally to both magic and stark realism. Chris, the brother being sought, has suffered physically and psychically in a home dominated by a deeply disturbed and abusive father. Having left his mother and sister to rejoin this estranged father, Chris is embroiled in a battle that rages throughout the book and is convincingly terrifying.I started out wanting to read Of Bodies Changed quickly. Often for me, the less sittings to finish a book, the better. This is not a book for that. It is a thoughtful and thought-provoking book and one that deserves to be mulled over, partly the result of a plot that is doing many things at once – telling stories within stories. The author handles his complicated material well, and I was willingly drawn into every layer.This book is many things, among them an able indictment of intolerance and power misused. Two quick quotes:“Money is the new magic, bankers the new priests, debt the new bondage.” “Fuck them all: money men, monarchs, military and monks.” Pure poetry.Sexual liberation, a theme of the book, is explored with a careful avoidance of what might be seen as exploitative. Instead, love scenes are tenderly and touchingly described. Friendships and love affairs are believable and draw the reader into the hearts of characters that are worth caring about.The voice of the storyteller is one of authority, whether delving into the myths, for which chapters are named, or simply retelling events in the well-drawn characters' lives, the story moves effortlessly between magic and the mundane. I underlined many passages that struck me, but this one in particular dances between the two worlds so adeptly, a lament for what is past, but also for the death of enchantment in our modern world, or so it seemed to me:“I heard that Diana's Bar closed down. I heard that the builders had blasted through the face of the cliff and fitted uPVC windows where the shields of lost warriors used to hang. As the wrecking ball broke through, the centaurs must have cowered into deeper crevices and the last of the dragons turned to dust, for such creatures cannot survive in daylight. I heard that the limestone walls were smoothed and plastered and painted magnolia. I heard that the marble chessboard was torn up and the floor laminated for the polished brogues of lunchtime diners. I heard that the splintered shards of the mirrored bar glittered for weeks in a moonlit skip...”This is a book that will stay with me.
Beautifully written, I was hooked from the beginning. The natural imagery creates a brooding atmosphere which is a fitting backdrop to the internal drama of the main protagonist, Chris (whom I loathed). Like Heathcliff, his dark, internalised passion leads ultimately to self destruction, creating a lot of carnage on the way (no hero of mine). I was far more interested in some of the other characters, crafted with real tenderness and depth, and maybe a touch of wisdom... only those who evolve and adapt survive. I wanted to meet them and walk with them in their wonderfully strange world. I wanted to sample some of Catriona's herbal remedies and learn her secrets. I wanted to sit down with Day and ask him what he thought about everything that was going on. The characters were so convincingly real I almost miss them now. Yet at times the narrative played with my expectations. What is happening here? Is this supernatural, or psychological? My interest was piqued throughout! As in Wuthering Heights different characters lead the narrative, and at times I found this confusing (hang on -who is the first person here again?) but that's because it's an intelligent read which makes me do some work as a reader and gets me out of my lazy chic lit habit, which isn't a bad thing,ha! In summary, a stimulating and satisfying read, and a triumph of a debut novel.
Brilliant, I was totally hooked and found it hard to put down. The characters and story are compelling with an interesting grey area in the mystical side of the story - I wasn't too sure what to believe as true or real.It's really well written with beautiful descriptive prose. I could clearly picture the settings and locations (Calliope's garden and her garlic wall; the oast-house with it's vast, imposing iron gates) and the complex characters and their interactions with one another that made me drawn to them - from Day cooking bacon in the kitchen to Jake's white streak and striking smile.For parts of the book (& without giving anything away) a sadness and longing came across with great depth of feeling.Well worth a read.
An epic book of roads travelled by lost souls – and some found. An epic, entertaining and captivating story with exceptionally well build characters. Even when forced to put the book aside for a week or so – picking it up again -and the memory of the characters and their personality return within the blink of an eye and they quickly become like well-known old friends – for better and worse. It’s a story about a group of people and their lives, their quirks and habits and how their lives have an effect on their surroundings and each other – intended or not. It’s a story of the madness of youth, the "infection" of getting older and wiser and how that transcends their relationships – a very well written book. Furthermore I was left with the odd, but pleasant feeling that if I were to read the book again several levels would easily appear. This was especially due to the Greek Mythology mixed in with the lives of the characters. I read a lot and this is one of the best books I have picked up in a very long time!
Sorry. Feel like I was reading a different book to those who called it brilliant or a hothic novel. The book I started but couldnt finish was more an excuse for writing about gay flirting. Not for me.
This is the first time I have read a gothic novel, and found it interesting and exciting.
So Wed 18th October was my mum's birthday and I finished 'Of Bodies Changed' by my beloved Cliff who sent me his debut novel as a present.Just like #Calliope, Chris and Jackie's mother who saved them from their abusive priest father leading them to a safer place (#Whitby from the #SouthDowns) following #Venus, the morning and evening star, my mother Luisa took, my sister Francisca and I, back to #Santiago (from #Purranque in southern Chile) to rescue us from a life of misery.This book is full of #myths and #metaphors related to #love which I know very well for I spent my childhood and adolescence reading Greek legends as a refuge to escape bullying at school.Each of the 17 chapters has a special message to deliver. I read this book for 17 days while commuting back home from work and it turned out being an otherworldly experience since there were some things I spoke in class with my students and later they were mysteriously mentioned in every chapter I started to read. Coincidence? Law of Attraction? Who knows. I've decided that on my coming journey I shall visit the places mentioned in this wonderful tale of love, revenge, and atonement as a personal closure.#ChristopherMavrocordatos #JakeEdlestone #Catriona #Lionheart #oasthouse #YellowRoom #morningstar #eveningstar #Greeklegends #TheMetamorphoses #atheists #agnostics #heathens #ghosts #dragons #cliffs #English #Literature #Fiction #MagicalRealism