Cover Image: Life is Big

Life is Big

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Member Reviews

I'm a bit torn on this as I don't think I was necessarily the target audience for the book. It s well-written and I read it quite quickly but I did find it just a little too absurd for my taste , which runs a bit darker than Kiki Denis writes. Good if you want to read a light-hearted book dealing with serious issues.
Thanks to Kiki herself for following the fact that I was reading it on Goodreads, and to her and the publishers for the chance to read and review
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I think if I had to summarise this book in one word it would be 'quirky'; its got a real variety of characters. From an 11 year old, who despite being scientifically proven to be the happiest person alive is also highly likely to die young from a rare disease to Albert Einstein who's busing himself in heaven playing Scrabble to Death and his brother Obituary Man (who was my favourite character). I liked the way we moved from character perspectives throughout the book and each narrator is linked in someway but I just couldn't get into it the way I wanted it. Its not badly written, and despite Death being a character its quite uplifting but sadly not for me
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I liked this. It's a little complex and a "thinking" story. I was a bit intimidated by the description, but follow along nicely even though there are a lot of players and a lot going on. This is a talented author with a good imagination. I look forward to her next book.

Thanks very much for the review copy!!
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Kiki Denis gives the reader a unique, winding, often surreal experience. At the heart of this book is a profound sense of character that allows the author (and, consequently, the audience) to ask the big questions that the title suggests. A lovely literary read.
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Kiki Denis's novel 'Life is Big' contains a plethora of bizarre and imaginative concepts that will excite some and puzzle others. It's a fine example of a book in which the whole is so much LESS than the sum of all its parts. It just bounces about in so many disparate directions, introduces ideas that go precisely nowhere, and then sledgehammers together some coincidences with zero subtlety.  When I reached the end I thought "What did I just read?" - but not in a good way.

It starts well with an 11-year-old girl, Alma Jane,  contemplating her inevitable demise from a rare genetic disorder, but just as you're getting your head around that - and the concept of websites to challenge war and death - the book detours off to a strange afterlife in which famous and not so famous people create their own hierarchy of worthiness with differing castes of immortality. Einstein plays Scrabble with the inventor of the game whilst a fictional character from Milan Kundera's 'The Incredible Lightness of Being' gets jealous that Albert is more interested in his new friend than in her.  I've not read TILOB and don't feel I should have to, just to be able to understand Life is Big. Then we're off to meet death and his brother who writes obituaries (I quite liked those two) then back to the sort of real-world to get to know the girl's brother and an extended class of doctors, computer scientists and people with an interest in both death and perfection. 

20% of the way in, I hated it and thought it totally pointless. Around 70% of the way in, when various plotlines started to coalesce and we learned of the genetic breeding of fearless super-mice, I was fairly intrigued, and then it all headed back downhill again.

There's a potentially really good story in here that seems - to me, at least - to have been sacrificed to the gods of 'style' and 'trying too hard to impress'. It's an intellectually snooty attempt to play with the reader's preconceived ideas about death and the need for imperfection in a far from perfect world but for too much of the book, I felt like I was a spectator in somebody else's very strange dream that didn't seem intended to make much sense. 

A brave and worthy attempt to be 'different' but ultimately rather a futile one.

I received a free e-copy from Netgalley in return for an honest review.
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