Sunday 9 October 2011

"Scathingly witty": Elena Maria Vidal's review of "Popular"

Regular readers of this blog may have read my reviews of Trianon and Madame Royale by American writer, Elena Maria Vidal. Now, Elena has very kindly posted her review of my novel Popular, which you can read in full by clicking HERE.

"Released in July 2011, Popular by Northern Irish writer Gareth Russell, is a scathingly witty and humorous romp dealing with privileged teenagers in Belfast. Now I must admit that before meeting Gareth and reading his novel I had a quite different picture of Belfast than I have now. Most of what I knew about Northern Ireland were the news stories of civil strife and terroristic violence which I heard throughout my life, and which made me resolve never to go there.
... It would be a mistake to classify Popular as another piece of trite teen fiction or chick-lit; it is much more. Popular, although it is a novel, has much in common with a comedy of manners, a drama which satirizes the manners and affectations of a particular social class with the emphasis on comic and witty dialog. It follows in the tradition of Molière's Le Misanthrope, Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer, Sheridan's School for Scandal and even the novels of Jane Austen. Most especially, Popular reminded me of such works of Oscar Wilde as The Importance of Being Earnest for its sheer entertainment quality and unapologetic aristocratic flair. Not surprisingly, Popular has already made the transition from book to stage play." 


  1. It's a wonderful review and makes me want to read the book even more. It also makes me wish I had a novel of my own for EMV to review;-)


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