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3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  105 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews

There's a war going on between the earth and the sky, but that doesn’t stop Parsifal, a humble fountain-pen repairman, from revisiting the forest where he was raised. On his journey, Parsifal—a wise fool if there ever was one—encounters several librarians, a therapist, numerous blind people, and Misty, a beautiful woman who may well be under the influence of recreational d
Paperback, 264 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Tin House Books
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Jan 30, 2013 Greg rated it really liked it
From an interview:
Meg Storey: The character Parsifal is named after the title character of an epic poem. How similar are their stories? In which ways do they differ?
Jim Krusoe: The poem has knights and the grail from the Last Supper. My novel has fountain pens, blind people, sexy librarians, a burning pre-school, double-entry bookkeeping, possible drug use, and court-ordered therapy. Other than that, they are identical.

Oh, my goodness, this modern iteration of the Parzival story is a keeper. In
Bored to Death book club
“ And then for every thousand people, or ten or a hundred thousand people who had never dated a librarian at all (and didn't know what they were missing!), there had to be someone like him who had dated practically nothing but.”

What is this book about?
The earth and the sky are at war but our hero, Parsifal, is more interested in looking for an old cup in the woods he grew up in. Following Misty, an attractive girl who brought her fountain pen to Parsifal's Fountain Pen repair shop, he walks into
May 03, 2013 Katie rated it it was amazing
There's a song called "Dancing in the dark." It is krusoe's work. You are fumbling, reader, grasping for something to hold you through the thread of a substantial narrative; you know it's important. But why? He provides none. He'll make you laugh. I laughed.
More importantly, he'll dance with you. A writer that comes and goes and comes back again and again...and again.

Parsifal is his book. It's a book he should die happy having written.
I'll die happy having read it.
This gun's for hire, even if w
Matt Miles
Oct 30, 2012 Matt Miles rated it it was amazing
The plot and realistic character development of Parsifal are satisfying enough, but the prose alone, added to the imagery, make for a satisfying read. Parsifal is a pen repairman, and his descriptions of pens provide a concrete example of Jim Krusoe infusing mundane objects and statements with a sort of magic. Even functions have meaning for the main character, and the spare beautiful prose helps the reader to believe it. The use of poetic refrain allows the reader to pause and appreciate the ...more
Aug 19, 2012 Wyndie rated it really liked it
Parisfal, much like his namesake, is searching for the Holy Grail. However, this Parisfal’s Grail is fenjewla a cup given to him by his father. The story winds back and forth between his current life as a repairer of fountain pens, and his unusual childhood in the forest.

Much like his neighbors who are blind, he is also unable to see his world for the strangeness that it is. Quirky is too light of a word to describe Parsival. He has a librarian fetish (maybe not so strange), and grewup with his
Jun 13, 2013 Stephanie rated it liked it
Not as enjoyable as Iceland, but kooky and intellectual. I vaguely knew the Parsifal of Arthurian myth, not in detail, but not knowing the myth didn't hinder my reading.

Reading the myth would help though, I think.

Krusoe keeps plot-lines juggled in mid-air, certain phrases recur, chronology is not unlike the little scrawled drawings that show up every 40 pages or so. I liked being able to put the book down for a week, then come back to it and say to myself, "Oh yes, the librarian fetish book."

Aug 09, 2012 Michael rated it liked it
This re-telling of the chaste and simple-minded Arthurian knight who found the Holy Grail is Jim Krusoe's most lackadaisical novel, following a gently sloping downward trajectory from his brilliant debut, Iceland. I liked the structure of Parsifal, especially in the way that Krusoe returned to themes and storylines, interweaving past, present, isolated ideas, and memory fragments. And some of his patented quirks are enjoyable here: Parsifal's romantic obsession with librarians, his super-casual ...more
John Pappas
Aug 04, 2012 John Pappas rated it liked it
I really enjoyed some of Krusoe's other novels -- Girl Trouble and Erased, for example -- but in this case I found his absurd sensibilities and surrealism not tempered enough with authenticity to provoke a real connection to the title character. Obviously echoing Percival's quest for the grail, Krusoe's Parsifal is raised in the woods away from society, and unable to comprehend an apparent war between the sky and earth. After the death of his father (by his own hands) and his mother (mysterious ...more
Alonna Shaw
Aug 25, 2012 Alonna Shaw rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Someone contemplative, not looking for action-adventure.
Recommended to Alonna by: Heard about it from Andrew Tonkovich via Squaw Writer's Conference
A ponderful journey, slow and steady, this fairy tale's structure is a mixture of the main character's life told in flashes, like glimpses of clear sky flitting behind patches of soothing fog. Pauses, recollections, and moving forward.

Krusoe's odd and entertaining story contrasts nurture(mom) and nature (earth) with civilization (dad) and technology (sky), which combo wins?

Favorite quotes:

"It may be that a monster is simply anyone who does not ask the question as to whether he is a monster or he
Aug 20, 2012 Joshua rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book set a great, dreamy tone. The main character, who spends his life fixing fountain pens and engaging in a steady stream of romances with librarians, leaves the city to return to the woods, where he was raised. Meanwhile, the sky and the earth are at war with one another, with the sky hurling various items down towards the ground and the earth using volcanoes and the like to fight back. But it wasn't really able to do enough with this strange world it set up, and it petered out as it ...more
Nov 03, 2014 John rated it really liked it
Unlike the protagonist - Parsifal in this book, who's search for his grail leads us to this comment: "Parsifal would have settled for any personal item at all to prove that his trip had not been wasted, no matter how pathetic: it was not just Fenjewla that had been his reason for going, it could even be a button, or a bottle, a spoon - anything to prove that his past had been more than a dream. But there was nothing-no plate, no pot, no pan; the whole place had been picked absolutely bare,..." I ...more
Madeline Knight-Dixon
Jan 10, 2013 Madeline Knight-Dixon rated it it was ok
I don’t really have much to say about this book… It’s that kind of post-modern absurdist writing that I don’t really connect with well. There were lots of really beautiful insights, tucked in amongst absolute nonsense.

The plot was fairly intriguing; a boy raised in the forest with his mother who then journeys to the city. But beyond that it’s just a lot of repeating the same small phrases over and over again and watching them evolve, which could be cool if they ever got to a point.

Just not reall
Sarah Stace
Jun 18, 2016 Sarah Stace rated it liked it
The story is very good and the prose is extremely lyrical but the (what I thought) unique writing style used in The Sleep Garden is identical in this novel which is a little disappointing. The end is also extremely open which I normally love but not sure about it being used in a consistently open narrative. I'll keep reading all his works, because they are amazing but I'm probably going to take a break before going onto the next novel..
Aug 20, 2012 Mythili rated it really liked it
I loved how simple and absurd this story was. I loved the turkey fryers, washer-dryers, cutting boards and Chevy Impalas falling out of the sky, and I loved Parsifal's strange affairs with librarians and I especially loved the slow revelation of the truth about his parents' relationship. This is a weird book, though.
Justin Tyner
Nov 05, 2014 Justin Tyner rated it liked it
Shelves: library-books
A really weird book. I though the inner dialogue of Parsifal could have been a poem. A Hank Williams song in between? The battle between the Earth and the Sky was him. His Doctor was his dad? A bit confusing but very creative.
Doug Merry
Doug Merry rated it liked it
Nov 26, 2014
Holly Druckman
Holly Druckman rated it it was amazing
May 01, 2015
Lindsay rated it liked it
Jul 08, 2012
Justin rated it really liked it
Sep 18, 2016
Jul 05, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
review forthcomng
Gail rated it liked it
Jun 25, 2015
Yesenia Palacios
Yesenia Palacios rated it really liked it
May 27, 2014
Paul Jessup
Paul Jessup rated it liked it
May 31, 2016
J rated it really liked it
Mar 20, 2013
Marco Kaye
Marco Kaye rated it really liked it
May 14, 2014
Craig rated it really liked it
Apr 23, 2013
Steph rated it it was amazing
Oct 03, 2013
Wendy rated it really liked it
Jul 10, 2012
Jul 15, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Weird, quirky, and wonderful.
Dedra rated it liked it
Dec 20, 2012
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Jim Krusoe is an American novelist, poet, and short story writer. His stories and poems have appeared in Antioch Review, Denver Quarterly, BOMB, Iowa Review, Field, North American Review, American Poetry Review, and Santa Monica Review, which he founded in 1988. His essays and book reviews have appeared in Manoa, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, and The Washington Post. He is a recipient of fell ...more
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