Imatge de l'autor

Joan Taylor (1)

Autor/a de Kissing Bowie

Per altres autors anomenats Joan Taylor, vegeu la pàgina de desambiguació.

3 obres 46 Membres 19 Ressenyes

Obres de Joan Taylor

Kissing Bowie (2013) 25 exemplars, 17 ressenyes
Conversations With Mr. Prain (2006) 11 exemplars, 2 ressenyes


Coneixement comú

Altres noms
Joan Norlev Taylor
New Zealand
Biografia breu
Joan Taylor is a New Zealander who currently lives in England. She writes in different genres, particularly fiction, historical narrative and memoir, academic and poetry, and has also edited in diverse fields. Her work has been published in the UK and in the US, as well as in her homeland.



3.5 stars

The premise of Conversations with Mr. Prain is very intriguing, and Taylor's verbal wordplay is wonderfully executed here—one would hardly think that this was her first novel as one begins reading. However, this soon devolves and the very witty verbal banter between Stella, a bookseller and writer, and Mr. Prain, a publisher, becomes laden with ejaculatory statements that are somewhat juvenile, especially when considered amid the very fascinating debates about aesthetics, the artist as prophet, the culture of commodity, etc.

About three-quarters of the way through, I felt that Conversations was taking a dangerous route; I even thought I would be reviewing this briefly and calling it some Fifty Shades of Grey for bibliophiles (not that I've read that, but just going on what I've heard). With that said, and without giving anything away, I think that Taylor was wise to end the novel in the way that she did: although I can see how some people might feel differently, I think this was a wise choice on her part. The only thing I wish she had done was to tighten the middle of the novel slightly and make its pace less brooding and more in tune with the very quick and alluringly seductive beginning, complete with its ars poetica. It is when Taylor turns to actual seduction that the seduced reader—at least this one—felt an original work become contrived and fall back into the constraints and perils of genre conventions.
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proustitute | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Apr 2, 2023 |
Ressenya escrita per a Crítics Matiners de LibraryThing .
I wanted to really like this book. I was a teenager in the 80s, and with its 1980s setting, I expected this to be a book I could really relate too. Sadly, I was disappointed.

Kissing Bowie opens with Melbourne-based, New Zealand-born photographer Sam attending the opening of a retrospective of her work at a London art gallery, where she meets a young fan, who reminds Sam of her own younger self, taking her back to her first, and only previous, stay in London.

And so we are taken back to 1980, as modern-day Sam writes down, with the help of her old diary, the story of that previous trip to London, where Sam is torn between her growing feelings for student Stuart, and her loyalty to her Bowie-obsessed best friend Laura, who is showing worrying signs of possible mental health issues.

The underlying story is a good one, and in the right hands could be a good, taut, tense exploration of friendships, love and consequences in the face of coping with one's own history. In Joan Taylor's hand, though, it's a good 300-page novel hidden within a 480-page book. I felt that the book was trying to be too many things. As well as mystery/thriller of Laura's story, and the chick-lit story of Sam's first love, there is commentary on press intrusion - applying the principles of the Leveson to a 1980 setting - and a party political broadcast on behalf of the Labour Party. Taylor is just trying to cram too many elements into this work, and it ends up being less than the sum of its parts.

Added to this was my increasing annoyance at Taylor's constant referencing of the date. We know the story is being told with reference to a diary, but it is not written in a diary style, so constantly seeing "Monday the 20th of October" or whatever date, grated. I first highlighted this tendency when that date was mentioned. By the time we got to "Wednesday the 10th of December" had had enough. Taylor frequently mentions other events that happened on those dates; it feels like she wants to show how clever she is, how much she knows about the year 1980. A little period detail gives a story context, but most of the detail in this book is unnecessary.

I'm not sure who this book is aimed at. In some ways, I felt too young for it - my memories of the 80s differ greatly from Sam's memoirs, probably because I was not yet in my teens in 1980, while Sam is 20. But perhaps I am, in fact, too old for it. Perhaps the historical references gives context to younger readers who remember nothing of the 1980s. I can't see it being of any significance to such an audience, though.

All in all, this book does not deliver on its promise.
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TheEllieMo | Hi ha 16 ressenyes més | Jan 18, 2020 |
Ressenya escrita per a Crítics Matiners de LibraryThing .
Famous photographer, Samantha Newell, returns to London in 2013 after a thirty year absence. She is there because her work is being shown at a gallery. She is asked a question about her work which leads to her documenting her life in London during the 1980's and why she left. In the form of a diary and using vivid detail, the author places the reader in the London of the 1980's. Samantha has come to London to reunite with her friend, Laura. Laura is charismatic and men are easily attracted to her, but she is obsessed with David Bowie. Joan Taylor's novel, kissing Bowie, follows the effect of the obsession on all those involved in Laura's life. Samantha recognizes Laura is not well. However, Samantha is not well, either, and is conflicted as to how to help her friend. She begins to question if she even wants to. Her decisions haunt her.
This is a well written story that takes the reader into minds of the characters. The novel examines the depths of friendship and all that comes with it. I found the book to be engrossing and interesting.
I received this book free of charge through LibraryThing Early Reviewers and I give this review of my own free will.
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SAMANTHA100 | Hi ha 16 ressenyes més | Dec 31, 2013 |
Ressenya escrita per a Crítics Matiners de LibraryThing .
kissing Bowie is a strong effort with a unique structure and pacing. The lives of two young women intersect as they travel to the UK from New Zealand and attempt to find themselves. Samantha, the narrator tells their story through memories and reflections in a diary. It makes use of her adult-self's photographs to set the tone of the action and express her feelings in the past. Laura, Sam's friend, has an obsession with David Bowie that controls both girls' lives. The book tracks where that obsession takes the young women as they forge friendships, relationships, and identities. An abrupt but fitting ending wraps the book up nicely.

The writing is fun though I agree with another reviewer that the memories are incredibly lucid for one recalling the events of 30 years prior. I did enjoy the photograph journal format of the book. While the book is based on Samantha's point of view there are multiple story arcs and developments, some of which dead-end and others that distract from the main story. There are, however, so arcs that essential to understanding the ending and Taylor does a good job of weaving all of them together considering. The ending will not be for everyone as the degree of closure is not to all readers' tastes.

This was an entertaining book that hints at good things to come from Joan Taylor.
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loafhunter13 | Hi ha 16 ressenyes més | Oct 23, 2013 |

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