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Clicking Beat on the Brink of Nada

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  203 ratings  ·  30 reviews
By turns funny, romantic, erotic, and sad, this evocative novel brilliantly recreates the landscape of late adolescence, when friendships seem eternal and loves reincarnate. Set in Arkansas but first published in The Netherlands, Clicking Beat on the Brink of Nada quickly won praise from reviewers and readers across Europe and North America. The back cover blurb written by ...more
Kindle Edition, 262 pages
Published 2010 by Watersgreen House (first published January 1st 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 402)
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Roger Kean
I'm surprised at the reviews I've read here, notwithstanding every reader's right to their opinion. There seems to be a consensus that Trotsky, Cody, and their friends are too erudite for seventeen-year-olds in Arkansas in the 1980s. And yet at least half those I called good friends at my school wrote existentialist poetry, could quote whole passages of Sartre, read Hesse (as well as James Bond for light relief), and discussed endlessly the point of life (or lack thereof). So much the the review ...more
Elisa Rolle
Cody, or as its author wanted to title it, and as he did in the reprint edition, Clicking Beat on the Brink of Nada, is at the same time one of the most easy and most difficult novel I have read. Easy because you fall in love for all the characters, Trotsky, Cody, Mark, Freddy, Christian, Flipping, Sarah, all of them so real and simple that they can be your high school mate, your neighbour, your brother; easy because, despite being written in an almost immaculate style (if not perfect at all), i ...more
Dick
This book was definitely not what I expected!

It was a thoughtful and thought provoking novel about a young man who happens to be gay. His life is explained in a mixture of socio-political experiences that were part of what all of his friends and family seemed to be about. The book takes place in Arkansas, but was first published in the Netherlands and I wonder if the Netherlands might be more into teens with very strident political views. . The political views of these teens are communistic or a
...more
Matthew
So, this is a gay coming-of-age story about high schoolers who quote Sartre and discuss politics all day long. I'm relatively young and thought that was ludicrous, but a lot of the other reviewers say that kids during that time -- the early 80s, I guess? -- were a lot better educated than my generation, so whatever. It still felt weird. Also, there's great humor in this book, the dialogue is really fun, and the main character's love interest is so dreamy he's unbelievable... but the ending! The ...more
Benjamin
The narrator, seventeen year old Steven Trottingham Taylor lives with his mother Helen, his father having been killed just before he was born, and his fourteen year old half brother Freddy. His father was an active socialist, and his mother still holds to these ideals, Steven was named Trottingham with the intention he be called Trotsky in homage to these beliefs. Used to moving home frequently and the family has recently moved to Little Rock, Arkansas where Helen Taylor has taken a teaching pos ...more
Avivs
This book is beautifully written. I love the characters and the writing itself is beautiful and simple.
A very moving story that you won't regret reading.

5 stars.
Leslie
I read this book while on vacation. I don't know if it was the vacation high or the book high, but this book made me want more. Glad I read this one!
Michael
Sep 02, 2012 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: who likes coming out, coming of age stories, friendship
Shelves: gay-themed
I am still reeling from the emotional ending of this book. First I have to say that the novel itself was not written in the most correct manner, some sentence structures being artificial and a little distracting at first. Then I got into the rhythms of the story and the characters grew on me with such intense emotions that I continued on regardless of some possible errors or overused speaking language. This book is short but deals with so many themes of weight that it is hard to remember them al ...more
Jon O
Feb 22, 2012 Jon O rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: gay, teen
Clicking Beat on the Brick of Nada is a cleverly written novel, contained some intense dialogues about ideologies, religions and theories. These were discussed between Trotsky and his male crush, Cody, as well as some sharing from Trotsky's mother, an Economics professor. I would have appreciated them if I was prepared for them. I was not because I thought I was sitting down to read about the coming of age experience of a teen guy, falling for his straight friend. I was ready to read about the h ...more
Beth
This novel is thoroughly weird and utterly depressing. Some of the writing really bugged me. Hale is obsessed with this sentence structure: "Blah blah blah, for blah blah blah." Sentence variety is vital to make a novel "sound" good and this book fails on that count.

From what I could tell from historical references, the book is set sometime during the 80s. And unless 18 year old boys in the 80s in Arkansas were a whole hell of a lot more articulate, educated, and informed than they are now (whic
...more
Riley Gardner
Clicking Beat on the Brink of Nada is a fantastic novel, making readers laugh, shake their head, go "oooooh" at things, flip pages dramatically. Once you're done, I'd recommend staring out a window on a weekday afternoon (preferably around noon) and contemplate your life. Very few novels have made me do that.

Following the narrative of Trotsky, a teenager thrown into frightening and frustrating situation, we're detailed how friendly, loss and family severely affect the lives of our youth, and eve
...more
Jeffery
Clicking Beat on the Brink of Nada has layers and a lot of depth. Overall, I love the characters and the author's writing, which is simply masterful. The coming of age story is very powerful, but I find it frustrating that the author tries to fills the novel with politics. Personally, it would've worked much better for me if it had been a simpler, purer story about the beauty of adolescent friendships and love.
Anya
Hale started writing this book when he was 16. The book was first published in the Netherlands before hitting state side. The book is filled with theories, ideology and angst. I caught myself crying a couple times.
The reasons this book gets 3 stars are because the author reveals the final fate of key characters halfway through the book. I hated knowing in advance and thought it would ruin the experience for me when the pivotal moment arrived. By some strange miracle it didn't. The second reason
...more
Lee Brazil
A lot more literary than what I was looking for. Still, a good read. I'm not certain when it's set, I'm leaning toward saying it was the mid eighties at the latest, except I remember the eighties as a lot more frivolous than this narrator saw them.

The narrator...interesting character...reminded me of a lot of intellectually minded guys I met in college, way more erudite and philosophical than most high school boys, and it was a little jarring

Herman Hesse and socialism, typewriters and record pl
...more
Suki Fleet
An interesting enough read but I really didn't like Cody and couldn't understand the obsession with him. The story is about more than that though. (view spoiler)
Craig
The previous coming out /coming of age books I've recently read seemed to have a rather basic style of writing and the stories were very simplistic. "Cody" is a well written story with rich characters. Steve Trottingham Taylor, Trotsky, is the narrator. He has just moved Arkansas with his mother and brother. Almost on sight he falls for the astonishingly good looking Cody. The two of them hit it off right away and even though Cody is straight, the two form a meaningful friendship.

I liked that th
...more
Traci
beautiful, heart-breaking, clever.
Shane
My favorite book. Period. I love the characters. The story tears my heart out, but in a good way. I've read it over and over and over and was so happy to see a revised edition come out. It's even better than ever now. Anyone who read Perks of Being a Wallflower and liked it should read this book.
Patricia O'Sullivan
Too often rambling with no purpose other than to give history and economic lessons, this novel seems like a missed opportunity. The characters and plot were interesting, but buried under too much narrative early on. On the other hand, the climax sequence at the end seemed rushed. An entire novel could have been written about what the townspeople did to Trotsky's family.
Justin
After hearing about this book for years and finding a copy at a book sale I was excited to finally get a chance to read this "masterpiece". While it was not a bad book, it just wasn't an enjoyable read for me. It was too deep (I don't know how else to describe it) and I just couldn't wait to been done so I could at least say I finished it.
Travispug
Reminds you of those lasting memories you make during adolescence. This book depicts a pure, warm honesty that's hard to find in literature sometimes. Not just any honesty but one you can bond with and relate to. The characters are really easy to become attached to. I enjoyed reading this book. It's very well written which I like.
Tony
Perhaps my favorite coming of age novel. I agree with Roger that this is one of the classics of gay literature. No question about that. It's beautiful, profound, and has characters that live in your head long after you've finished the book. It's a very special novel.
Jon Coffee
One of the most fantastic novels I have read in a very long time. Review to come. I need time to process this beautifully complex story.
Traci Halesvass
Sensitive tale of a boy coming of age dealing with rural culture and tragedy. Well written prose.
Eric
A sometimes funny, sometimes tear-producing tale of young friendship, love, and loss.
John Lor
Idyllic (almost to its own detriment); however, often sincere.
Page Crusherz
It's not the best out there, but it is a classic.
Robert L
Really good book, some very sad parts.
Neil Munday
deep depths to soak my brain
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Official bio: Keith Hale succeeded where many had failed when he convinced the Rupert Brooke Trust to allow him to edit a collection of the poet's letters that had been sealed for eighty years due to their homosexual themes. That edition, Friends and Apostles, was published by Yale University Press. Hale's first two books also were groundbreaking: His novel Clicking Beat on the Brink of Nada, firs ...more
More about Keith Hale...
Friends and Apostles: The Correspondence of Rupert Brooke and James Strachey, 1905-1914 Letters to a Shooting Star In the Land of Alexander Ode to Boy: An Anthology of Same-Sex Attraction in Literature from Antiquity Through the First World War Collected Poems and Letters from America with Photographs and a new Introduction

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