Kate's Book Reviews

[ Authors by Surname - B | C | G | K | L | N | R | S | W | Y ] [ Main Books Page | Kate's Home Page ]

Sam North - The Gifting Programme (Secker & Warburg)

ISBN 0-436-31524-6

First published in Great Britain in 1992.

This is rather an odd one. The storyline is fairly uncomplicated - a lonely insecure billionaire decides to share his riches with the three people in his life who have been nice to him for reasons other than his money. However, this is not an easy book to understand.

Almost everyone in this story has a weird name - the billionaire is Ambelin Sayers; the New Yorker who picked him up hitchhiking is Wik Slavery; Buddy Maze is an old friend; the medical expert Buddy employs to ensure Ambelin lives long enough to complete the handover of his fortune is Sage Tinkler; and the mother of Ambelin's child TJ (known as Hero) is Amie Moss. The choice of the characters' names only enhances the impression that the events in the novel are unfolding in a world which is somewhat different from this one.

The characters' actions don't seem to fit with things that have happened before; for example, at one point when Ambelin is told by an employee something that he wants to know, he reacts by slapping the man's face, and then proceeds as though the man never spoke in the first place. In this scene, it's almost as though sometimes things are happening in two parallel worlds, and we get the description of both of them. Amie's actions in particular seem to be random most of the time.

The development of the relationship between Buddy Maze and Wik Slavery is handled well; I won't spoil it by revealing any more!

I'm not sure if I like this book or not. I didn't really enjoy reading it, but I think I'm glad I did.

15 May 1998
[ Authors by Surname - B | C | G | K | L | N | R | S | W | Y ] [ Main Books Page | Kate's Home Page ]