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Tales Out of School: A Novel
by Benjamin Taylor (Goodreads Author)
The strange hothouse world of Galveston Island, Texas, has been good to the Mehmels, German Jewish immigrants who prosper there in the late nineteenth century, and whose second generation is still flush as the century turns. But destruction – moral and natural, including the great hurricane that nearly destroyed the city – is not far off, and for bookish, fourteen-year-old...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by Steerforth
(first published October 1995)
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Benjamin Taylor is a writer in full control of the tools available to a practitioner of the language arts. His prose is elegant, his language intoxicating; the stories he tells are rich in detail, full of import, and of intricate disposition. His techniques have been assembled over a lifetime of reading: Nabokov, Bellow, Hemingway, Cather, Isherwood, Woolf. From these and others he has learned unconventional dialog, the trick of presenting action by catalog, the appropriation of history and scie...more
The premise promised more than the novel actually delivered. I couldn't find myself really caring about any of the characters, and I set it down when I was done with a "So what?" I will say, though, that the lyrical writing style worked quite well in some places - but unfortunately it was more often irritating than not.
Benjamin Taylor is the author of a book of essays, Into the Open, and two novels, Tales Out of School, winner of the Harold Ribalow Prize, and The Book of Getting Even, a 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Award Finalist, a 2008 Los Angeles Times Favorite Book of the Year, and a Ferro-Grumley Prize Finalist. In October 2009, The Book of Getting Even appeared as El Libro de la Venganza in Spain, wher...moreMore about Benjamin Taylor...