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Full Reviews

Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain
The Memory Artists

Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain
(Press excerpts)
  • "A sparkling first novel by a young writer of whom more will surely be heard. It is a clever book, dense with literary allusions, but also a heart-warming one, with a thoroughly likeable hero, as romantic as he is accident-prone... The extravagance of the plot is matched by the exuberance of the writing." - Max Davidson, Sunday Telegraph (July 21, 2002)
  • "A book full of quirks and quick-turns, wit and erudition. Entertaining and exhausting, it's reminiscent of the early John Irving." - Ian Sansom, The Guardian (July 20, 2002)
  • "The characters are likable, it has no pretensions, and, above all, its tone is confident, amused and amusing..." - Anna Shapiro, The Observer (July 21, 2002)
  • "Jeremy's crumpled and nervous manner lends his odd beliefs on the nature of destiny a certain idiosyncratic charm. Moore evokes his self-deprecation and fecklessness well; almost every assertion Jeremy makes is undermined by his actions in the following paragraph, and the author's dry wit is for the most part well judged." - Chris Power, Times Literary Supplement (July 19, 2002)
  • "Funny and frightening adventures... A style comparable to that of the humorists, including Woody Allen, David Lodge and Kingsley Amis... A clever idea from an author with a gift for writing." - Chris Titley, Yorkshire Evening Press (July 3, 2002)
  • "Exuberant and smart... Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain signals the arrival of a new, sophisticated comic author who combines John Irving's inventive virtuosity with Tom Green's contempt for everything stuffy and comfy in our culture. The architecture of Moore's novel is superb... He casts some surprisingly fresh aspersions upon academe and establishes a voice that's both ornate and deadpan... Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain gleefully rejects its hero's overheated fatalism, and, in the process, creates a new sub-genre in Canadian literature: urban fiction with a smile." - Frank Moher, National Post
  • "The book offers more and greater pleasures, heralding a voice that's both sprightly and erudite, and equally deft with tart ironies or disarming intimacies... A lively, sometimes very funny story of romantic obsession... [with] keen characterizations, some hugely engaging set pieces and a plot that traces a gratifying arc. This tale's rosy ending admirably retains its thorns." - Jim Bartley, The Globe & Mail
  • "A laugh-out-loud romp... There is everything here a comic novel needs-wit, slapstick, wordplay, screwball characters and situations, and a good ear and eye for the silliness inherent in everything from the battle of the sexes to the insufferably pompous world of academia. There is also Jeremy, who is irrepressible and always a treat to listen to." - Joel Yanofsky, The Gazette
  • "In its layering of meaning upon meaning, of endless referential chains that efface all differences between text and world, Moore takes on all the labyrinthian twistings and metaphysical explorations of an Eco or a Borges." -Peter Darbyshire, Quill & Quire
  • "Moore's prose is both sharp and whimsical, and as smooth and addictive as a good martini; there is just no compelling reason to stop swallowing it. Moore hitches us to the coattails of Shakespeare's bastard and we are subsequently pulled at breakneck speed through every nook, cranny, alleyway and basement of his obsessions until we are giddy... Sensual, squalid, playful, comical and mysterious." - Tess Fragoulis, HOUR
  • "Adopting a tone that resembles Jean Genet... Moore penetrates virgin territory, a fictional no man's land, unafraid of the void, pulling strings in an incongruous but very human world. Oscillating between a critical naturalism and a slightly disconcerting and extravagant romanticism, the author establishes a hybrid style in which self-derision and irony are the comic pillars... Jeremy is a romantic anti-hero lost in an amorous and existential maze... a modern young Werther... Moore offers pathways towards finding an answer to this question: 'What is a modern hero?' and is thus among the few contemporary intellectuals who dare to admit the role of weakness as one of man's natural and creative mechanisms." - Catherine Morency, Le Devoir
  • "In reading Jeffrey Moore's Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain, one is easily led to imagine a Montreal school of literature, or at least a literary spirit that transforms the city into a site of fantasy and adventure, of unexpected encounters... We have seen this same spirit with Mordecai Richler... Everything is done with the talents of a Dickensian storyteller, and the ability to infuse a spirit of adventure into everyday events... with characters as rich as they are diverse." -Rémy Charest, Le Soleil (Quebec City)
  • "Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain is a stunningly appropriate romantic comedy for its setting [...] If Jeremy doesn't seem to have much of a gift for marriage, he certainly has a gift for sentences. The tale he narrates is literate and often hilarious, told with both wit and slapstick. Especially in its satire of academic life, it pulls off a complex but entertaining mixture of Umberto Eco, David Lodge and Jerry Seinfeld [...] Jeffrey Moore never entirely punctures the magic that keeps Jeremy precariously floating through life. And even though Jeremy doesn't renounce his magical thinking, to the end the novel retains all the charming ambiguity and mystery of love." - Juliet Waters, Montreal Mirror
  • "A phenomenal book... that catapults him onto the world's literary stage... an incredible literary achievement... If Moore's future works are as enthralling as this one, I think we are witnessing the birth of one of Canada's greatest literary novelists." -T. R. Haniak, Weekly Book Pick, Saskatchewan Publishers Group
  • "In a remarkably witty book, and the wit is remarkable because of the subject matter itself, Jeffrey Moore reads a world in translation, a world at odds with itself... Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain is a book for and about a person who has not given up, a person who knows and experiences lust but yet searches for love, who cheats the system knowing the whole world is crooked and yet looks for salvation... So read this extremely well written book about contemporary society." - G.J.V. Prasad, The Book Review (New Delhi)
  • "A lively, clever, entertaining, heartfelt, emotional rite of passage. Moore's satirical view of academia has real bite. His ability to craft engaging scenes with witty dialogue and solid character work promises well for the future." - Publishers' Weekly
  • "Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain is a wonderfully lively picaresque love story... An artfully spry black-comic campus novel (Lucky Jim rides again) meets street-wise Bad Boy fiction in a most attractively deft intertextual weaving of seventeenth-century drama and modern Canadian urban satire." - Valentine Cunningham, Booker judge
  • "A fully-formed voice rarely found in first books... proving that Quebec is producing English-language writers who should provide cause for optimism as we grope our way through 2000. Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain strikes a balance between reference-heavy postmodern metafiction beloved of academics (Borges and Eco have been cited in reviews) and a good old-fashioned love story, albeit one with a strong '90s twist." - Ian McGillis, MRB Magazine
  • "Marvellously seductive, the innovative writer Jeffrey Moore engages the reader in a rapid-fire story of exaggerated passions, the timelessness of love being expressed by rich echoes from popular myths... The fool, the lover and the lunatic are very difficult to tell apart, as Moore reminds us in this Canadian version of an eternal saga, cleverly using Canada's multiculturalism and postmodernism to an advantage... Canadians are marvellous novelists, or rather fabulists-daring and cunning in designing their imaginary worlds. Moore's new novel holds a special appeal for Indian readers because the strange Milena can set "the heart beating like a tabla," even as we wonder about her sexual and cultural ambiguities, her bindi and bootstraps." - Malashri Lal, Indian Express (New Delhi)
  • "Montreal's answer to Woody Allen.... A dark and ambiguous love story, with riveting sexual energy and classical incantations... a romp destined for both the big screen and university lecture hall... Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain deserves the highest honour I can give to a book. Bravo." - M.J. Stone, Upath.com
  • "Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain is a profound and wit ty portrait of protagonists existing on the fringes of modern society [...] Moore's prose style is wry yet evocative, capturing both the ennui and wonder of modern urban life. He effectively satirizes the illusions of academics and artists and writing itself, creating a dark romance in which love, even when imperfect and corrupt, is worth striving for. With this first novel, Moore has emerged as an original and controversial voice in Commonwealth literature." - Kevin Baldeosingh, Booker and Commonwealth Prize judge
  • "Moore's 395-page comic romance is an engrossing tale of the question of faith in one's destiny... A book without clichés and, instead, full of intriguing links and surprises..." - Anisha Sodhi, Asian Age (New York and New Delhi)
  • "Jeffrey Moore not only tells a great story but he's witty and urbane. He's funny in a cultured and civilized way without being nasty." - Paul Quarrington
  • "Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain left me totally and fully engrossed, enthralled, enamoured and entangled. A fascinating tale told by a new master." - Rebecca's Public Reviews (Tulare County, California)
  • "In Jeremy Davenant we can see that hopeful spirit which resides in even the most skeptical soul. Anything may be possible if we believe in the power of fate... Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain is delightful read, if only to reawaken this childlike wonder in ourselves." - Leslie Parker, The Sheaf (Saskatoon)
  • "A debut triumph... Many laugh-out-loud moments, real depth of emotion, uniformly fine writing... We must all beat collective drum for this book." - John Griffin, Montreal Gazette film critic
  • "With Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain, Jeffrey Moore has pulled off a hilarious if bittersweet debut." - Nilanjana S. Roy, Business Standard (New Delhi)
  • "Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain is to be appreciated not just for its wit, humour and anagrams...but for the absurdity that has almost become the base of our lives... An enjoyable novel." - Financial Express
  • "A youthful exuberance in both plot and language... If you set out to duplicate Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain you'd have to take equal measures of Milorad Pavich, Russel Hoban, David Lodge and Guy Vanderhaeghe..." - Sara O'Leary, Vancouver Sun
  • "Jeffrey Moore's delightful Prisoner in a Red- Rose Chain, a Commonwealth Prize winner, is immensely readable, without any of the mere cleverness of style and form that in contemporary novels is so often the substitute for a good read." - Shobhana Bhattacharji, Frontline (New Delhi)
  • "Readers are treated to hilarious (and withering) satire... Both the dialogue and descriptions can be incredibly witty." - Joanne Peters, CM Magazine (Winnipeg)
  • "Distinguished writer Shashi Deshpande, who lauded the maiden venture of Canadian author Jeffrey Moore for his Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain, said Moore has successfully dealt with the theme of love as enshrined in Sanskrit literature." - Indian Reporter and World News
  • "A wonderful once-upon-a-time quality... The novel evokes a bygone era, a richly rewarding literary tradition... Jeffrey Moore has written a nicely turned-out literary piece. The hero's goofy romanticism and sweet vulnerability make for a highly engaging read." - Weston Blelock, The Book Report, WoodstockArts (New York)
  • "Jeffrey Moore's novel combines a John Irving quality with something of Michael Ende's Neverending Story-but with a life and style all its own." - Bookmark (Christchurch, New Zealand)
  • "Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain heightens the recent energies of North America to find an inroad to the energy of the "Man of the Millennium"-William Shakespeare-while at the same time grabbing readers by the lapels and whisking them into the labyrinth of a quest to understand the ultimate contradictions of love and sentiment, of purpose and futility. Prisoner is a novel of an original "knight-errant" with all the reckless abilities and fated weaknesses that define the contemporary hero. It is a novel with language for the 'middle ear'- the chain of messages that must be translated from the outer world to the inner world. It will remind readers that literature at its best still has the greatest role in explaining the human condition." - Barnes & Noble review, Rating *****
  • BOOK LIST 2000 citation, North Carolina State University Library
  • RECOMMENDED READS 2000, Christchurch City Libraries (New Zealand)
  • La Presse rating **** (Montreal, January 2002, "Le fabuleux destin de Jeffrey Moore")
  • "Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain is satiric, raucous, and wildly inventive. Readers who journey through Jeremy's madcap world of anagrams, astrological signs, cabalistic connections, and ominous portents will be richly rewarded." - M. Wayne Cunningham, CBRA Reviews
  • "In life, one does not persist for months trying to capture the heart of someone who is light years in front of you. But this is precisely what makes this novel so beautiful." - Marie-Paule Villeneuve, Le Droit (Ottawa), Jan. 5, 2002
  • "Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain may well become a cult novel... multicultural, youthful, cultivated and irreverent. This romantic comedy, a satire of our times, will reveal to audiences worldwide a Montreal teeming with high spirits and imagination." - Carole Beaulieu, L'Actualité (Montréal)
  • "Jeffrey Moore's rollicking first novel Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain is teeming with wit and linguistic invention, including bilingual wordplay. Haunted by the ghost of Shakespeare, this comic novel [...] exuberantly crosses the boundaries of language." - Sherry Simon, Le Devoir (Montréal)
  • "Jeffrey Moore may do for Montreal in this century what Mordecai Richler did in the last... Try to find a copy while you still can." - Juliet Waters, Montreal Mirror, January 3, 2002
  • "This first novel has charm, vivacity, tenderness, and wit galore." - Les Notes biographiques (Paris: March, 2002)
  • "With his character of the forger-scholar, a cross between Woody Allen and Nick Hornby's Rob Fleming (High Fidelity), Jeffrey Moore has created a novel of subtle comedy, fortified with some erudite juggling and slight-of-hand, which can also be read as a grotesque fable on life's innumerable trickeries, false appearances and cross-purposes." - 24 Heures, Geneva, January 10, 2002
  • "You sometimes come across an unexpected and unclassifiable book from an unknown author... Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain recalls David Lodge's mocking satires of the university world and, through the psychology of the narrator, André Breton's theories of alchemy, coincidences that are not coincidences, the magnetism of place, love at first sight, the woman-fairy who is your destiny, the trials of the knight in quest of the Holy Grail. These two authors, very roughly, seem to be the godparents of this book... Jeffrey Moore is a writer to be reckoned with-for his unbridled imagination, his colourfulness and subtlety, his zany humour and art of interweaving an Elizabethan or Sanskrit world with that of the modern campus and airport." -Jean-Charles Gateau, Le Temps (Geneva, Feb. 16, 02)