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  SARAH TIPPER
'Eviscerated Panda – Back In Bamboo' Book Review
(Independent)


Johnny Main

johnny main



Eviscerated Panda

A couple of years ago, a book written by Sarah Tipper arrived here at MetalTalk Towers telling the tale of fictional Reading based band Eviscerated Panda (you can read a review of that book here).

This was her debut novel, and I have to say that I enjoyed the book immensely. The second volume of the book, cunningly titled, 'Back In Bamboo' is available now, and as I had a rather long and tedious train journey to undertake recently, I took the opportunity of reading the book on the journey in the hope that I could lose myself for a few hours.

In case you didn't read the first book (titled simply, 'Eviscerated Panda: A Metal Tale') there is a handy summation of the final chapter at the start of this book – I do, however, recommend you give the first book a read.

Article continues below...





The Pandas (as the band are affectionately referred to throughout the book) consist of front man Nick Hamilton-Davies, elder statesman and lead guitarist Phil Winters, Ian Edwards on rhythm guitar, bass guitarist Dean Matthews and Paul Wright on drums and their respective girlfriends and friends like Cleo, Jenni, Sally and Jez and tells the continuing story of the band as they struggle to get gigs, record and release their music and maintain their following whilst still trying to maintain a normal settled life outside the band with their families, wives and girlfriends.

The second book is good (if not better) than the debut, and Tipper has clearly relished writing it. Her descriptions are in-depth making them clearly defined but it still leaves you with enough room to use your imagination when it comes to clothing or the décor in various establishments frequented by the band.

As in the previous book, a lot of bands get name-checked from AC/DC to Venom right through to arguably less famous (but still equally good) bands like Iron Knights and Cannibal Corpse, which clearly demonstrates her passion for Rock and Metal music. It should be noted, though, that being a fan of a specific genre isn't a pre-requisite for enjoying the book. If you like the lighter side of rock music, for example, there are still band names you'll recognize so you'll never really feel completely out of your depth.

Eviscerated Panda
Photo of Sarah Tipper - (c) Bernie Galewski 2014

Occasionally Tipper sticks up a made up band name into the mix so make sure it's a real band before trying to impress your friends by mentioning them if your knowledge is a bit limited.

The details too are well researched so when the main protagonists are discussing their top five favourite gigs, for example, there are a range of bands name-checked and these very much fit in with each characterisation of the character, showing that Tipper has really thought through the whole sequence before committing it to paper, as opposed simply pulling different band names out of thin air and thinking that will do.

The characters too are fully rounded; it's as if Tipper has mapped out a back story for each one, but you don't get to see it all so any moment an experience or a memory from their past can pop up unexpectedly.

The band's constant struggle to cope with full-time jobs, girlfriends, wives, boyfriends while still trying to book gigs and record demos is also a very plausible one because this is what small bands do week in week out.

Some of the venues where the band play are very real (like the Camden Underworld in London, for example) whereas the band's local, The Green Man, may not be an actual real pub but it certainly seems to be based on one judging by the amount of detail given.

Tipper has even gone to the lengths of creating fictional set lists for the band to play at gigs and an overview of each gig they play as opposed to just saying "the band played a gig at the Edge Bar", which gives you the feeling that some of this might actually be happening now to an undiscovered band somewhere in the world.

Tipper originally envisaged the story to be a trilogy and with the best will in the world it'd be a shame for her to restrict herself to just three volumes. With the third volume recently published, which is at the top of the reading pile, I'm looking forward to the further adventures of Eviscerated Panda!

The book is available now from Amazon.co.uk as a paperback or Kindle edition.

Eviscerated Panda Online:
http://www.facebook.com/EvisceratedPanda


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25.9.2014











 


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