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The English Disease

3.2  ·  Rating Details ·  35 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
THE ENGLISH DISEASE is a remarkable feat, a story that mixes the Marx brothers and Maimonides, pornographic yoga with Polish paranoia, and the brutality of kindergarten with the beauty of the Kiddush. It's the tale of Charles Belski, an expert in the works of Gustav Mahler, who, like Mahler himself, is talented and neurotic, and a nonpracticing Jew. Belski suffers guilt ov ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published September 15th 2012 by Algonquin Books (first published May 23rd 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Marc
May 20, 2013 Marc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
After I re-read Skibell's 'A Blessing On The Moon' - a work bordering on classic in quality and demonstrating creative genius with aplomb - I went straight out and ordered his two other novels available at the time. The English Disease was in comparison, a great disappointment. Introverted, self-referential, a novel about narrative and voice, an exercise in sub-Woody Allen American angst, but sadly a different kettle of (gefilte) fish...

The protagonist is a weak and frustrating character, dwarfe
...more
Michael Lewyn
Apr 01, 2012 Michael Lewyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
his little book describes the adventures of a somewhat assimilated secular Jewish intellectual: first his discontentment with his non-Jewish wife, then his journey to Poland with an obnoxious Jewish colleague, and then the wife's turn to Judaism. It is a quick and pleasant read; I felt like it gave me a sense of what an unhappy-but-not-too-unhappy marriage can be like.
Marvin
Aug 06, 2009 Marvin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Obsessed to a fault with the interior life of an unlikeable character, far more self-absorbed than the gold miner in The Colour, embedded in a nearly plotless narrative preoccupied with the plight of the Jews. The author tries to express himself with the sort of intellectual virtuosity & humor that characterizes Tom Robbins's novels, but his ponderous, self-absorbed prose gets tiresome pretty quickly.
Betsy
Nov 14, 2013 Betsy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought that this was an interesting experiment and well-done in places. I liked its intellectual breadth, and it very adequately communicated the emotional and other challenges of the main character. Although I did not always like this novel, I liked the effort.
Julia
It's a little like watching a moving starring Woody Allen. Unfortunately, I only like the Woody Allen movies in which he doesn't appear.

Still, I ultimately liked this, and I think anyone who enjoys Woody Allen will enjoy this!
Ruth
Oct 30, 2007 Ruth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dof-didnotfinish
I loved Skibell's first book, A Blessing on the Moon, so I was really looking forward to reading this. Pfah. I didn't get very far into it before I threw in the towel.
Madeleine McLaughlin
Not as good as Joseph Skibells other works. It was the story itself that I didn't find engaging, kind of boring, in fact.
Karen
Feb 04, 2013 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Another book I left half-read. And by the middle, I still wasn't exactly sure what the story was supposed to be about.
Ludmirska
Aug 11, 2011 Ludmirska rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
bored to death!
Diane
I read this a while ago, but I don't remember liking it as much as his other two books. but this does contain a mention of my husband's klezmer band, Yid Vicious.
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