Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Book Review: "What Precision, Such Restraint" by Phil Jourdan



What Precision, Such Restraint by Phil Jourdan.

Genres: Short Stories, Experimental Literature.




A young man seeking to hack into his own unconscious mind. An academic conference on the metaphysics of flies. An apocalyptic world where punctuation has been outlawed. An eating disorder that produces collectible antiques.

A mix of allegory, satire, randomly generated numbers, spam messages rearranged into haiku form, plagiarism, and bad writing presented in the more sophisticated if still unpalatable guise of literary experimentation, Phil Jourdan's collection of stories is infuriating, challenging and other marketing buzzwords.




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Book Review: "What Precision, Such Restraint." by Phil Jourdan ~ 5 Stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

Wow! What can I say about 'What Precision, Such Restraint'.
First off, this is not the sort of book I would normally choose to read. I'm more of a romance/happily-ever-after girl, so I was both excited and hesitant to read this, knowing that it was a form of literary experimentation, but I'm so glad I did!

'What Precision, Such Restraint' is both genius and mind-boggling, yet even when I didn't understand some of the context, I couldn't bring myself to stop reading. Each of the short-stories, whilst very dramatically painted, were so true to real life and everyday issues and people. Phil Jourdan's writing style was electric and I can't think of any other book where I have been so captivated by the inner thoughts of, quite frankly, unlikeable people.

Although I found it difficult to know whether I'd understood the basic message of each story, as there were many components to them, I liked how I immediately saw how each story represented a real life issue in today's society. I loved the strong metaphor's used throughout the book, with the society repressed by the 'Punctuation Police' almost tragically mirroring many of today's societies where communities are repressed by the government. I think it also gives readers a real wake up call. If regimes and governments continue on in the repressive way they currently are, in addition to further scientific discoveries, it wouldn't be difficult to imagine the simplicity with which they freedom of thought could be taken away.

As I think this book is very individual to each person who reads it, I feel that what people take from each story will be very different. In the story on Bulimia, I felt strongly that the message was about addiction. The woman with Bulimia doesn't want to stop because, through this act, she produces antiques. Why would she want to stop it? It strongly mirrors the thought processes in a Bulimic girl who would wonder why they should stop. If it's making them thinner then something good has come out of it surely? It was sadly tragic how much this represented this issue in everyday life.

A fantastic, enthralling read, which although did confuse me at times, was so inspirational and quite frankly genius that I would grab up any other book by Phil Jourdan in a heartbeat.

(I'll also be recommending to my tutor's at my university that Phil Jourdan write all the textbooks on my course, as I understood more of the unconscious mind from his descriptions in one of these short stories, than I have ever understood in three years as a Psychology undergraduate.)

5 Stars and a definite recommended read.



Phil Jourdan

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