Love Machine by Clinton Caward

How do you write a book review without using hyperbole when it is the best book you’ve read for a long time? there, I just did it… Should you use tidbits of personal connection to the book’s characters, setting and social milieu to accentuate or perhaps justify one’s affinity to the aforementioned? In short, how do you write a review in the face of such insurmountable greatness? there, I did it again.

I could start by reconstituting the plot and boiling down the characters to their essentials and move them around in this Edit box, simulating in a most finite way what the author has already done. But I can’t.

What I can offer in this book review is my impression of the main character whose name I’ve forgotten (but that is epherema). There is a bit of Jesus about him and like the man himself, he walks amongst us, the depraved of soul with only respect and kind words. Well, except maybe for his ex-girlfriend whose tyres he slashes.

Please read the book and revel in a modern-day Garden of Earthly Delights via Sydney’s Golden Mile.

Have I given anything away?

Review by Myoung


  1. Tiffany Magee · March 2, 2010

    Hi Myoung,

    it’s good to discover I’m not alone in really loving this book! This is what I wrote on my page at I am going to try and write something on it for my Aus lit class…..

    I live in Sydney not far from Kings Cross so I might be a bit biased towards this book. I was attracted to the hot pink cover. And, if all you want is a voyeuristic trip into the daily workings of an underground Kings Cross sex shop full of drug addicts, perverts, schizophrenics, homeless prostitutes, petty criminals and abysmally low paying cash in hand work, then you won’t be disappointed. The main character, Spencer, works the graveyard shift, serves the wide variety of nocturnal customers, and battles boredom by attempting to retell the life of Jesus starring blow up dolls. On the surface the film with the dolls is funny, but it also sets up an intriguing religious subtext. The setting is bleak and realistic. This guy obviously spent a lot of time in these places. Just as we think there’s no hope a young girl selling herself down on William street enters the story. The writing is unexpectedly poetic in its simplicity, with really beautiful imagery. Although, because of the confronting subject matter, I don’t think I’ll be studying it any time soon in my Aus Lit class at Sydney Uni, there is something very moving about this book. It’s got a kind of compassionate glow that I think comes from the authors social realist take on a part of Sydney that’s usually somewhat romantically associated with drugs and criminals, where as this cuts through the mythology to show the harsh reality populated by very real people just trying to make it through their lives. Did I learn anything from this book? I leanrt a lot about the retial sex industry

  2. candelobooks · March 3, 2010

    Hi Tiffany,

    Great review and right on the money (as is the scan code on the book’s jacket). I think you’re right about the warm compassionate glow that seems to emanate from its pages, social realism, sure but also a character who is one of the many noble nobodies that walk the streets everyday. And yes, it is refreshing to read Sydney without its vulgar love handles hanging out.


  3. Warren Butler · March 4, 2010

    Have to agree with you guys…It moves well and it’s hard to put down . I like male authors that combine a kind of bleakness with stark poetic imagery, it gives their work a transcendent quality – like Cormac McCarthy, Michel Houellebecq or even Charles Bukowski. Caward is heading in that direction. The imagery made me think of the photographs of Nan Goldin . I think the blurb on the book is misleading though. It is candid, confronting and funny and all that…. but also a kind of harrowing portrayal of a society that has lost its ability to connect. The power, or the ‘;compassionate glow’ of the book, I reckon, lies in the compassion the author has showed the characters. This book has a lot going for it.

  4. Tiffany Magee · March 26, 2010

    good points Warren 🙂

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