Trance: A Novel
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Trance: A Novel

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  119 ratings  ·  18 reviews
1974: A tiny band of self-styled urban guerrillas, calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army, abducts a newspaper heiress, who then abruptly announces that she has adopted the guerrilla name "Tania" and chosen to remain with her former captors. Has she been brainwashed? Coerced? Could she be sincere? Why would such a nice girl disavow her loving parents, her adoring fi...more
ebook, 528 pages
Published April 18th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2005)
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One of the real literary masterpieces of the last decade, Trance singlehandedly gives the lie to anyone who would call the novel dead. No one would ever mistake Christopher Sorrentino's career for that of Don DeLillo, Denis Johnson, or Philip Roth, but Trance is every bit as strong a novel as Libra, Tree of Smoke, or American Pastoral.
I had a complicated reaction to this book. I liked the historical fiction part of it, in the same way that I liked American Pastoral and Libra, but it was kind of a mash up of those two books. It took a pretty similar kind of experience as Roth's book (or to be fair this was about Patty Hearst / SLA while Roth's book was about a similar kind of experience but from a more middle class stand-point, like from the parents view of one of the other kids involved in the SLA), and like Delilo's book it...more
Lynne Wright
the review sounded great... a gripping portrait-of-America fictionalized imagining of the Patty Hearst kidnapping of the late 70s.

Don DeLilloesque in scope, with snide little dashes of humour throughout.

And yet... I just. couldn't. get. into. it.

Forced myself rather grumpily through all 500+ pages.

oh well.

Sean Owen
This is a big book both in physical heft and in scope. On the first count it turns out to be bigger than it should have been, but the second count is where Sorrentino succeeds. Those looking here for a fairly straight forward fictionalization of the Hearst kidnapping scandal will be disappointed. The Hearst stand in character is there, but there's so much else going on she often recedes to the periphery. The focus of the book is the failure and hollowness of radical politics and the place Americ...more
Sorrentino fictionalizes the story of Patty Hearst, exploring the aftermath of her kidnapping. The central mystery in Patty Hearst's life, of course, is why she chose to identify with her kidnappers and become an armed revolutionary. Sorrentino dances around this question, implying that Patty, here called Tania most of the time, doesn't even really know herself. I think the unknowability of that transformation is part of his point, but I wanted him to offer some sort of answer of why she does wh...more
Sorrentino has given us a novel that evokes the surreal and trance-like aspects of the early work of DeLillo, creating a masterpiece that evokes the time, place, and mood of a country that was on the brink of a disaster. He fleshes out the details of an event that was both well and poorly documented at the time--the media and the country were obsessed, though lacking in information--and is wholly sympathetic to radical causes and beliefs (despite the many erroneous reviews that believe the oppos...more
An interesting, if long-winded novel. Huge, deep themes combine with some dark humor. I liked it but found some sections to be unnecessary. Lots of loose ends and a large amount of side characters. The focus is sprawling, which both helps and hinders the book. It's definitely not for everybody, but I think many readers can appreciate it.
This book was SUPER SUPER SUPER long. And while I thought the story would be interesting (and it was at times) it was SUPER SUPER SUPER long. I skipped about 100 pages in the middle and didn't feel like I missed anything and had no problem with following the story lines. Could have been 200 pages shorter...
I don't really do reviews anymore, and I don't feel like doing a full review of this one. And while there are good parts of this book, it got really annoying that every single female character gets into radical politics because of some boy she liked.
Caroline Wooldridge
Boring is what I thought of this book. So much so I didn't make it past page 50. I thought it would be really interesting to read a novel dealing with Patty Hearst but this novel seemed uninterested in her. Oh well.
Eh... Just couldn't get into this. Drawing on real-life evidence from the Hearst kidnapping case, the author riffs on the SLA's interior lives and makes them deadly dull in the process.
Jennifer Chin
I had to read this book for a class. It was sooo long. I don't think any of us actually got through it. It gets two stars for being so detailed and clearly deeply-researched.
Patty Hearst should be thanking Sorrentino daily. This book elevated her to new heights. A whopper of a book, a doorstop, and worth every second you spend on it.
"Fictionalized" Patty Hearst, SLA, novel. Quite true to the facts, but one still doesn't understand Patty.
Not sure how this got nominated for an NBA.
Eugenia Williamson
Wuzza! This one blew my gasket.
Richard Greenwald
one smart read......
admirable and disappointing
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Christopher Sorrentino (born May 20, 1963) is an American novelist and short story writer of Puerto Rican descent. He is the son of novelist Gilbert Sorrentino and Victoria Ortiz. His first published novel, Sound on Sound (1995), draws upon innovations pioneered in the work of his father, but also contains echoes of many other modernist and postmodernist writers. The book is structured according t...more
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Death Wish Tin House: Winter Reading Sound on Sound Transes Trance. Christopher Sorrentino

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