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The End of the World Book

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  51 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
This is no ordinary novel. An encyclopedia of memory—from A to Z—The End of the World Book deftly intertwines fiction, memoir, and cultural history, reimagining the story of the world and one man’s life as they both hurtle toward a frightening future. Alistair McCartney’s alphabetical guide to the apocalypse layers images like a prose poem, building from Aristotle to da Vi ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 13th 2008 by University of Wisconsin Press (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30)
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Christopher
Mar 28, 2008 Christopher rated it really liked it
Alternately felt love, exasperation, and then love again for this book. Not perfect but the good parts I loved, the great parts dazzled me and filled me with joy, reminding me how wonderful it is to have creative thoughts about the everyday world we live in that skew it in fantastic ways.
Jesse
Oct 11, 2009 Jesse rated it liked it
The concept is irresistible: an encyclopedia of the self. A childhood obsession with the World Book Encyclopedia is here transformed into a "novel" (which it is only in the loosest sense of the term) filled with whimsical entries which range from autobiographical sketches, memories, musings, odes, conjectures and "histories" all neatly arranged, encyclopedia style, by key terms. Searching for a "hidden" narrative will be in vain (and it doesn't all lead up to an "aha!" moment), but common themes ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Oct 28, 2009 Kasa Cotugno rated it liked it
I bought this book intrigued by the premise and its audacious structure. Yes, it is a memoir/novel arranged alphabetically, with musings on everything from daVinci to Brittney Spears (whose entry is right next to that of Spinoza, probably the only place where those 2 entities could have met), and for the most part, found it funny and informative. But I also admit buying it based on the fact that it had no less than 4 or 5 stars from numerous readers, and didn't really pay attention to the ...more
Yasmin
Jun 18, 2011 Yasmin rated it it was ok
"This is an inventive and experimental book, and a clever book. But it’s not a compelling book. There are interesting characters and subplots, but none are allowed to develop over and above the narrator’s presence. There’s an entry titled “Stories, Absence of,” under which McCartney writes, “take me seriously when I say I have no stories. I couldn’t tell a story to tell my life…” In a book that mixes fiction and fact, that may be the truest statement of all."
Read the rest of my review here:
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...more
Jenn
Sep 22, 2011 Jenn rated it it was amazing
With a gorgeous, stream of consciousness writing style, Alistair McCartney's The End of the World Book takes us on an encyclopedic journey through the author's musings and life's experiences, both real and imagined. With wry humor and poetic edge, The End of the World Book combines both reality and daydream into a beautiful exploration of language itself, encouraging readers to explore their own relationship to the words which help shape their daily lives.
MJ Nicholls
Oct 03, 2016 MJ Nicholls marked it as steven-moore-sez
Nikku
Dec 05, 2008 Nikku rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book that is a memoir/essay written as a series of entries in an encyclopedia. Falsities and insights abound, though if you are wary of the beauty of men's thighs and all that entails, this might not be for you.
Ritsky
Still reading.
So far, what strikes me the most is the uniqueness: The idea of writing in encyclopedia-styled writing. But after several chapter, I kind of loosing interest... -_-;;
John Treat
Apr 15, 2014 John Treat rated it did not like it
Wait for the movie, unless you're obsessed with buttocks as much as the author is and then, well, you will have already read the book.
Jeremy
This book reminded me of a 50's-era Reader's Digest thematic joke book, if the theme was philosophy and queer theory. Unceasingly clever and occasionally profound. Highly recommended.
Abigail Moncrieff
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Mar 25, 2013
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Alistair McCartney is the author of The End of the World Book: a Novel (University of Wisconsin Press, 2008). An encyclopedia of memory–from A to Z–The End of the World Book was a finalist for both the PEN USA Fiction Award 2009 and the Publishing Triangle Edmund White Debut Fiction Award 2009, and was in Seattle Times Best Ten Books of 2008. Born in Perth, Western Australia in 1971, McCartney's w ...more
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