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The Tesseract

3.21  ·  Rating Details ·  4,998 Ratings  ·  229 Reviews
An intricately woven, suspenseful novel of psychological and political intrigue, The Tesseract  follows the interlocking fates of three sets of characters in the Philippines: gangsters in a chase through the streets of Manila; a middle-class mother putting her children to bed in the suburbs and remembering her first love; and a couple of street kids and the wealthy psychia ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 22nd 2000 by Riverhead Books (first published August 11th 1998)
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Apr 08, 2011 Fabian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Tesseract by Alex Garland is a novel that lets the reader wonder at his own insignificance. It is a theme that's already been implanted there, in the modern reader’s sophisticated brain, by Voltaire, and made new again by this generation’s collective and personal psyche, which is quite enormous/ambitious in scope. It’s no travesty to say that the society of 2011 is somewhat the intended dream of our future from way before the millennium--that is, we are living the 2011 version according to 1 ...more
The Tesseract suffers from the case of the infamous sophomore jinx simply because it is in no way like Garland's fabulous debut novel The Beach.
The voice is completely different. The Beach was linear, almost cinematic in scope, a rather conventional novel; The Tesseract is experimental, and the writing dry, sparse and moody. The novel is set in Manila, and through three separate, non-linear narratives it shows the story of three groups of people who would normally never met, but whom fate has co
N.J. Ramsden
Feb 01, 2014 N.J. Ramsden rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Another example of a book smothered with praise from high-profile names, yet totally failing to deliver anything but a kind of intellectual indigestion. And not from richness.

What's wrong with it? We can start with Garland's enormously pretentious* explanation of his title. I won't waste time copying it out. Let's just say it's bullshit. And totally unnecessary. If you have a good narrative and a good title, neither requires justification. Sadly The Tesseract lacks at least the former.

The story
I have just finished this book this morning and I, like many others, picked up this book after thoroughly enjoying his previous novel The Beach. When starting The Tesseract, you can clearly feel the similarities between this book and his previous but The Tesseract quickly becomes its own story. The book follows several different characters and jumps around within the timeline. It starts with Sean in a `roach infested hotel' as he awaits the arrival of local gangster Don Pepe. Next we have a Fili ...more
The Tesseract: a recap

Sean is in a hotel room that is dirty and also hot

Sean is expecting a phone call from a dude

Sean is kind of cRAZy and there is blood on the sheets

blood because someone got murdered and TORTURED TO DEATH PROBABLY or it was a period or something


>we listen to Sean be crazy for 20 pages<

-sean lies down puts a photo of a random girl on his chest and feels calmer (no he does not actually know who this girl is but it makes him feel better but not altog
Sep 12, 2011 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read "The Beach" quite a few years ago and liked it very much. I mostly forgot about Alex Garland for a while until I stumbled across this one and thought I'd give it a try.

It's a very well written book, done up in three main arcs: a young British traveller, a wife and mother in suburban Manilla and a young boy living on the streets. It's peppered with other characters, but these are your three main ones. Each has their story told, and each of their stories all intersect in a well thought out
Nate D
Sep 22, 2007 Nate D rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of those multiple convergent plot threads, deal. What unseen factors lead to life changing events? Pretty good, not as good as the Beach, I thought at the time, though it's been ages now, so who knows.
Dave Ireland
Oct 04, 2016 Dave Ireland rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boring. I lost interest after page 20 and should have applied the 100 pages rule, i.e. if it hasn't grabbed me by then forget it. I wish I had.
“Tesseract” – a four-dimensional hypercube with all equal sides and right angles; the author includes in the definition the “unraveling” of same. This book is three separate tales, taking place over the span of both a few hours and several years. The first involves an emissary for a smuggler who is behind on his protection payments, awaiting the arrival of an unhappy enforcer in a Manila hotel room. The second deals with a young doctor, a happily married mother of two who, nonetheless, mourns a ...more
Alex Garland's The Tesseract is a story of layers. Which I'm sure if you knew the definition of the word "tesseract" [also called an 8-cell or regular octachoron or cubic prism, is the four-dimensional analog of the cube; the tesseract is to the cube as the cube is to the square], you may have already assumed as much. I did not know the definition of this word. Nor did I fully grasp this story until the last 15 pages.

There are many things happening at once…a European man killing for his life, a
Aimee Capinpuyan
Apr 03, 2013 Aimee Capinpuyan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Set in the Philippines, The Tesseract pretends to be some action thriller novel that takes the reader through the lives of various people. It was a largely forgetful book. The protagonist, I think his name was Simon (see? I can't even remember) was bland. Every other character was bland too. Thankfully the Philippines was given some life in this book. Garland nicely described the scenery here, and he doesn't sugar coat it as to make it sound ridiculous.

The plot was really dumb. The climax wasn't
Michael Bohli
Oct 20, 2015 Michael Bohli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Alex Garland hat mit "The Tesseract" ein Buch geschrieben, das sich schnell als mittelmässig bezeichnen lässt. Aber Vorsicht, denn hinter der thrillermässigen Geschichte lauert mehr als man denkt.

Garland erzählt in nicht chronologischer Weise das Aufeinandertreffen von Verbrecher, Arbeiter, Strassenkinder und Familien in den Philippinen. Die Handlungsstränge fügen sich nah und nah zu einem grossen Ganzen zusammen, der Tesserakt entsteht. Dem Leser und den Figuren wird erst mit der Zeit klar, in
Feb 15, 2010 Allie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the fact that almost nothing good happens to any of the characters in the book, I really enjoyed reading "The Tesseract." The intertwined narratives of the mafia, family, street kids, and psychologist aren't exactly subtle, but each one had something powerful. Sometimes all the elements lost a little of that power as Alex Garland pushed them together into one conclusion. However, overall I definitely liked this book and, as it was the first of Garland's that I've read, I'll have to seek ...more
Nov 22, 2008 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alex Garland may be one of the best current authors I have read. I read The Beach twice, and the second time was just as good as the first. The Tesseract takes place in the Philippines. Garland tells three separate stories about life there, and brings them together in the end. Its a little complicated if you don't pay attention closely, but all the more reason to go back and read it again later! If you liked The Beach, this is much different and maybe doesn't have quite the climatic ending, but ...more
Oct 26, 2016 Bita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting story. It starts off slowly. He gives you three separate tales but they all tie in together at the end. I almost abandoned the reading but didn't! I am glad . It was worth the time.
Jennifer Delpit
May 08, 2009 Jennifer Delpit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
why do they keep making such terrible movies out of his terrific books?
Apr 07, 2013 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tarantino meets science geek. Very cool book!
Beth Wilson
May 16, 2017 Beth Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the idea of a tesseract and the collision of each of the characters in the story. A tesseract with its understandable geometry or at least an ordered way of looking at a shape (I suppose the 'easiest' way for us to compute 4d....) puts forward the idea life should have obvious cause and effect: a plan. To then bring in Alfredo's interest in dreams, the metaphysical and space really see-sawed the emotion of nitty gritty real life and the relative pointlessness of our little lives!
Luis Cardenas
A pesar de estar muy bien escrita, la novela se pierde en hilos argumentales que pueden ser innecesarios y le restan valor a la idea principal. Tal vez demasiadas ideas no completamente desarrolladas.
Jun 01, 2017 Venatici rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Fate, myth and survival. Somehow routine and not a patch on The Beach. A disappointment.
Umar Hashmi
May 15, 2017 Umar Hashmi rated it it was ok
Shelves: physically-owned
some science shit meant to explain the absolute zero intersectionality of three different narratives but something something about hypercubes
Dec 04, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ron Charles
Dec 16, 2013 Ron Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As every horror-movie survivor knows, it's not the attack that's so frightening. It's the moment before the attack.

In Alex Garland's new novel, "The Tesseract," the monsters are entirely human, but the tension is out of this world.

Garland is a wizard of time manipulation. His entire novel transpires while some Filipino thugs burst into a hotel room, chase a man down the street, and shoot him. It's the closest you'll ever come to riding a bullet.

But there's nothing linear about this shocking, com
I guess I should quit reading the blurbs and especially the review quotes written on the covers because they lead me astray. Even though The Tesseract is a good novel, it definitely didn’t take my breath away and I didn’t exactly consider the finale shattering, as it was promised on the cover – therefore, because I was naive enough to build my expectations on what I read on the cover, the novel proved to be a bit of a disappointment.

The novel is set in Manila and it is made up of three interconn
Mar 06, 2017 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read for Cinefiction. Definitely deserves a re-read when I have more time.
Sep 08, 2015 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eliza Victoria
Aug 30, 2012 Eliza Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The novel opens like a thriller. A British seaman waits in a seedy Manila hotel for a rich Filipino mafioso. He notices several things almost all at once: the dead phone, the peephole covered from the outside, rusty blood spatters on the bedsheet, a gunshot hole in the ceiling, a room with no exit. The Filipino don is in a car with his crew, weaving through the dark streets of the city, and the seaman takes out his gun, believing that they are coming to kill him.

Gunshots and a chase – the staple
Heather G
Garland is an especially vivid writer with a keen knack for showing vs. telling. That said, the story was challenging to follow as an audio book...and my rating probably doesn't do justice to reading this story as a print version. It would have been helpful if I had been able to flip back to check details or revisit scenes that play out through different perspectives. Still, Garland clearly is an amazing writer and this one may make it to my (very short) list of worthwhile repeat reads.
Nancy Oakes
Set in the Philippines, the story focuses on three very different groups of people from different walks of life, and who probably should never in real life have any reason to meet each other, but do here through a bizarre set of circumstances. Throughout the narrative, I got the feeling that each of these people have no way to understand why these things are happening to them; they just are -- and it's just a matter of timing and circumstance, with no rhyme nor reason -- and that even at the end ...more
Mar 12, 2014 George rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Ο Άλεξ Γκάρλαντ σε ηλικία 26 ετών έγραψε ένα από τα πλέον αγαπημένα μου βιβλία, ανεξαρτήτου είδους, την Παραλία, ένα γεγονός που στάθηκε ικανό από μόνο του για να θέλω πάση θυσία να βρω και να διαβάσω το μοναδικό άλλο βιβλίο του που μεταφράστηκε στα ελληνικά, το The Tesseract - ή ελληνιστί "Μαύρος σκύλος".

Σε καμία περίπτωση ο Μαύρος Σκύλος δεν φτάνει το επίπεδο της Παραλίας, δεν έχει ούτε το ίδιο βάθος στην πλοκή και τους χαρακτήρες που με ξετρέλαναν και αγάπησα, ούτε τις ίδιες φιλοσοφικές προε
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Alex Garland (born 1970) is a British novelist and screenwriter.

Garland is the son of political cartoonist Nick (Nicholas) Garland. He attended the independent University College School, in Hampstead, London, and the University of Manchester, where he studied art history.

His first novel, The Beach, was published in 1996 and drew on his experiences as a backpacker. The novel quickly became a cult c
More about Alex Garland...

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