Monday, July 30, 2007

Author Penelope Farmer reviews Out of the Tunnel

Author and publisher Penelope Farmer has written many wonderful books, two of which are old friends. Charlotte Sometimes is a classic children's book, about friendship, sisterhood and loss, and Eve: her Story is what Mrs. Milton might have written secretly whilst her husband laboured over Paradise Lost, a juicy feminist retelling of the oldest story of all.

Penelope has reviewed Out of the Tunnel on bookarazzi and here is her review.

''I managed to get hold of "Out of the Tunnel" while I was in London recently and can confirm everything Clare says. Rachel is a wonderful writer: how anyone can go through all that and end up so sane...It's also a complex story the thread of which she never loses and nor do you, her reader. What is so particularly impressive - and makes it much more interesting than it would be if the story had just stayed with Rachel herself - was the way she got together with other survivers, her emergence as a spokeswoman and campaigner. It's a compulsive read, you can feel the adrenaline - the pain - hammering off the pages; even the occasional repetitions play their part in that. As does the understanding of Islam she already had and uses - that's very important - and still more the intelligence which she brings to the aid of fine writing to knit it alltogether. Add to that a novelist's eye for detail: for conveying what her senses tell and told her, for communicating other people - and animals... Oh I did so like her cat!''

Yay! Thanks so much Penelope! There are now 7 reader reviews on amazon, including two from fellow-passengers, one review on Waterstones, and two on, as well as the reviews in the sidebar from bloggers Netherworld, Rachel, Hendo and authors Clare Sudbery, Sarah Salway and Caroline Smailes . All reviews by readers so far have been extremely positive which is fantastic. I've let the good people of urban 75 know that the book is out as well. Urban 75, a hugely popular London-based website is featured in 5 chapters, and played a key role after the bombings. There is a dedication to urban 75 in the book.

I am extremely grateful to all my reviewers so far, and to anyone who feels like reviewing it on amazon, play, waterstones or their blog. I'm going to see if I can get some blog buttons made as well.

Note: The book is not available in supermarkets or WH Smith, only in book shops, like Borders or Waterstones, or online (although you can order it from stores that don't sell it, including stores abroad). This means it is particularly dependent on word of mouth and reader recommendations. So that's why I am plugging away like mad on my blog. I'll be writing about some othe stuff as well besides the book. But the next four weeks are crucial, and as I am trying to make a career out of writing, this is a nail-biting time.

The book launch party, which was cancelled when the terrible news broke of Mum's stroke on the Monday of the week the book came out, threw all the plans for launch stuff into disarray as all the family rushed to her side. I am very sorry to everyone who was invited and especially sorry to those who did not get to hear of the cancellation in time. It will be reinstated in the diary soon and I will let you know as soon as I can.

I am hoping to get some book shop readings organised as well, although I am still scared about what happened to author, and peace activist Milan Rai, when his national book tour about his book ''7/7, Islam and the Iraq War'' was disgracefully targeted by conspiracy theorists, who barracked and heckled him everywhere he went to speak, demanding a platform to talk about '9/11 was an inside job' and behaving in a way that was not only obnoxiously rude, but intimidating. Yes, really. Here they are discussing how to wreck Milan's 7/7 tour on their forums, the *little charmers.

''I am pleased to say that we were accused by the organisers of wrecking their meeting - that is we heckled him everytime he made an outrageous remark or dismissed something which was of paramount importance''( 'Justin, on the '9/11 Truth forum')

''Good work gents, I hope the London crew put this piece of sh*t straight about things, seems to be 'willfully' ignorant like *team rachil. I beg those in London to hijack this fool's meeting and use it to disseminate what we know.'' ( 'Ally', on the '9/11 Truth forum')

* refers to them thinking I am a team of 'shills', or dis-information agents, funded by M15 to Conceal The Truth

If that happens again with me, and they all turn up again to barrack and heckle and try to hijack the reading, it will be a real problem. But I really don't see why I should be intimidated by them, (although at first I did feel intimidated, and I said to the publishers I couldn't do any store activity. That was before everything went wrong with the launch week. ) So I am now going to see if I can do things after all, at book stores where there are security guards and CCTV who can ask people to leave if they are disruptive or threatening. And maybe we can rescue things a bit.

*Which reminds me, Digital Toast has got a grab of the BBC Radio 4 Jon Ronson show where Jon tells David Shayler, ex. M15 and now conspiracy theorist extraordinaire to 'f*ck off'. Enjoy.

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Blogger Henry North London 2.0 said...

I went to the same University as David Shayler, He was indeed the person who got several of my classmates in the nude plastered over all the tabloids in October 1988.

Something you didn't know about David.....

July 30, 2007 10:51 am  
Blogger Henry North London 2.0 said...

My brief review is up at
On the subject of book pushing I was reading Antony Moore's account of how he was doing it sneaking into book shops and taking his books off the shelf and placing them in the tables on top of other books in the store in the Times Book section on Saturday.

Even leaving one on the train for other people to pick up and read.

Have fun and push the book

July 30, 2007 10:58 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

hi rachel,

i am going to ask my friend who works at borders if i can obtain a copy of your book.

i also saw "the simpsons movie" on friday which was the opening was hysterically funny-a classic.

btw what do you think of britains new prime minister? will he change policy and try to undo the mistakes of the blair administration?

hope all is well and that mum continues to improve.

seth :)

July 30, 2007 4:02 pm  
Blogger granny p said...

I'm glad you liked the review, Rachel. I meant every single word of it, and more.(And thanks for the mention, too...)

July 30, 2007 5:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just remember, love is greater than fear. And if those bloody pains in the arse, zap them with some white light! I'll come if you like. Love Beth xxooxx

August 02, 2007 9:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it's a few weeks late to actually be noticed, but I felt you should know that Jon Ronson's story has just been rebroadcast on American public radio this evening.

Rachel, it took a tremendous amount of guts to actually face those nutjobs in person. I have fought many a flamewar with people online, and in my experience, conspiracy theorists are second only to religious fundamentalists in expressing illogical, insane views. I found their demands about sitting you down and having a rational discussion about the evidence to be hysterical. How can you have a rational discussion with someone that is entirely irrational?

I wish you luck in combatting - or avoiding - those people in the future.

August 11, 2007 3:41 am  

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