Idea in Stone - Hamish MacDonald (Self-published)

The characters are paper thin, clichéd and unbearable

Book Review by Xavier Toby | 13 Oct 2006
Only in creative writing classes at university have I ever before been subjected to prose of such a poor standard. Under the title on the front cover it reads, "A novel by Hamish MacDonald" – a truly pointless statement, similar to printing "A soft drink by Coca Cola" on every can of coke. This is then followed up by, "this book was printed and hand-bound by the author." Not only couldn't Hamish find a publisher, he was even forced to make the thing himself. In terms of a story it's actually still too painful to discuss, suffice to say the characters are paper thin, clichéd and unbearable; the plot twists are more like slight deviations in an arrow-straight road; and the writing is painfully over-explanatory. There is also a reliance on the supernatural to move the story forward, a tool too often used by writers who lack the skill to come up with believable twists. All that said, the story does chug along and there are some striking insights into the human condition, but hey, if you throw enough shit at a wall some is always going to stick. [Xavier Toby]