Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife
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Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  3,243 ratings  ·  478 reviews
"I had always imagined that my life story...would have a great first line: something like Nabokov's 'Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins;' or if I could not do lyric, then something sweeping like Tolstoy's 'All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.'... When it comes to openers, though, the best in my view has to be the first l...more
Paperback, 162 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Coffee House Press
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so i bought this years ago and hadnt read it. and then the new, even cuter edition came out so i had to get it again, but actually read it this time because i am a sucker for cool book design. and im glad, because its not a cute book, despite its illustrations and little ratbite. its more sad than cute, and it is definitely not for kids. and i am a grown up!! (she says, eating all the candy from the basket daddy sent for easter...)
Again, I must be a voice of dissent here. I loved this novella. It is written from the perspective of a rat who was born in a bookstore to an alcoholic-mother in a litter of other rat-like rats. Firmin is of course different from his brothers and sisters: he possesses a yearning for knowledge and a loneliness that he obliquely recognizes as the loneliness of the human condition--particularly among those humans whose lives he vicariously observes. This makes him a liminal figure at home neither i...more
This book really surprised me. When I saw it at Powell's Books, I knew right away I was the target audience. See that white chunk on the right side of the cover? It's a literal chunk taken out of the book. As though a rat had nibbled it. On the back, it said it was a book about Firmin, a rat who begins by consuming literature, but soon finds it consumes him. It's about a rat who loves books. Perfect for me. So I bought it, guessing it would be a fun, cute summer read, with little substance.

It is...more
Profunda decepción. Después de todo lo bueno leído sobre esta novela, de saber que Seix Barral ha apostado fuerte por ella al comprar los derechos mundiales, lo único que puedo decir es que me ha aburrido profundamente. Todos los que hemos leído convulsivamente a lo largo de vida estamos predispuestos a sentirnos identificados con esta rata devoradora, en el sentido literal primero y en el sentido lector después, de libros. Lo peor que me ha pasado a mí durante la lectura es que también me he se...more
Firmin is a story of a rat who lives in a bookstore, eats books (words) and understands the text of the stories he reads. When the bookstore is torn down to make way for urban renewal he goes in search of a new home.

Firmin is, at it's core, an outsider story about someone who never really fits into the world in which he finds himself.

I have a theory about helping people find books. I think all of us are ultimately searching for our story recreated and retold in many different ways, so my person...more
Stephanie Griffin
Nov 04, 2008 Stephanie Griffin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who has a soul.
This amazing book, written by first-time novelist Sam Savage, blew me away with its intelligent writing and perceptive looks into the human condition. Yes, it’s from a rat’s perspective. Don’t let that deter you from reading one of the best books of the past two years.
Firmin discovers that he lives in a bookshop basement in a run-down part of a city. He nibbles on the pages of the books, but also learns to read voraciously. He closely observes the world of the bookshop and ventures out to nearby...more
Emre Yalabık
"Bir kitabın tadı ile edebi değeri arasında sanki önceden belirlenmiş bir benzerlik var. Yemesi güzelse, okuması da güzeldir."

" Dünyada iki çeşit hayvan vardır, dil bilenler ve bilmeyenler. dil bilenler de konuşanlar ve dinleyenler olarak ikiye ayrılır. dinleyenlerin çoğu köpeklerdir. aşırı derecede aptal olan köpekler afazilerini kuyruklarını sallayarak gösterdikleri kölelere özgü bir neşeyle taşırlar. benim için böyle bir durum söz konusu bile değildir, tüm hayatımı sessizlik içinde geçireceğ...more
Farhan Ghazali
A long time back, maybe a couple of years ago, I had come across this book on the Internet, and since it seemed a promising one, I had added it to my wish list, as is my habit. Lately, I saw it in the local bookstore, remembered that it had been on my wish list for a long time, and decided to give it a chance. And, boy, am I glad that I did ! It is such a lovely, lovely piece of work.

Firmin is the name of a rat who was born in a second-hand bookshop in a seedy and sleazy area of Bost...more
Beautiful, tragic, and wildly creative. Firmin is a rat who is born on a shredded copy of Finnigan's Wake in the basement of a bookshop, and consequently falls in love with literature. Stuck in a sea of rats too simpleminded to understand his intellectual depths and humans he cannot communicate with, he struggles to find happiness.

This book made me laugh, cry, and think. But mostly, it spoke to my soul. I would recommend it to anyone who has ever found solace within the pages of a book.
C'è un limite alla decenza. Qui è stato sorpassato.
Conta-me Histórias
Firmin é uma história encantadora.

O patinho feio da família, é como se pode descrever a personagem. É o 13.º filho de uma ratazana gorda e com hábitos alcoólicos. Como a mãe só tem 12 tetas, Firmin fica sempre para o fim das refeições, mamando apenas os restos do leite que os seus irmãos, bem mais robustos, deixaram. Mas até aí, Fírmin vê uma vantagem - apesar de ter de se contentar com restos que apenas enganam a fome que sente, já não mama leite com teor alcoólico.

Para se alimentar Firmin come...more
Living among (and devouring) books, possessing an enormous general knowledge, sipping coffee and wine, going to cinema, eating peanut butter, living in a writer's house, listening to good music and playing piano; tell me who wouldn't like that? Firmin is everything the average man cannot be, that's why we like him. So he's funny, witty, falsely thinking that others understand him (don't we all?) but his bohemian existence ends sadly and beyond Scollay Square's demolition I can see Savage's own d...more
Ich hatte die Gelegenheit, dieses Buch vorab zu lesen.

„Gut essbar gleich gut lesbar“ FIRMIN - EIN RATTENLEBEN aktualisiert

Das ist die Devise von Firmin, einer Ratte.

Er kommt als 13. eines Rattenwurfs in einer Bostoner Buchhandlung zur Welt.
Firmin ist anders als seine Geschwister. Er bekommt nie genug Muttermilch und so wendet er sich den Büchern als Nahrungsquelle zu. So nimmt die Entwicklung zur Leseratte ihren Lauf.
Die Welt der Bücher ist eine Offenbarung für ihn.
Er nimmt sie für sich ein und...more
Helen (Helena/Nell)
It's not an all-time classic, but it has something.

I liked the pictures of the little mousy-looking rats at the bottom of the pages -- the little dears.

I also liked the bite out of the top of the book, which reflects the way Firmin, the first-person narRATor, devours books, both literally and metaphorically.

Where it doesn't quite (sorry) bite is in the character of the narrator, which is not sufficiently distinctive. I like the situation; I like the idea; but the voice reminded me of a number...more
Sam Savage’s wildly original novel, the story of a rat born on a copy of “Finnegan’s Wake” in a Boston bookstore, is a tender, beautiful gift to bibliophiles!

Unlike his siblings who feast on the pages of books in blissful ignorance, Firmin not only consumes the books surrounding him in his birthplace, but also becomes consumed by them – their thoughts, their words, and their ideas. He has the “gift of lexical hypertrophy,” but is, unfortunately, trapped by the physical limitations of being a ra...more
There is some genius behind this story, but unfortunately, it is a genius I do not fully appreciate. What started out as a desire to read a grown-up version of Ratatouille, turned into a much more contemplative Kafka Metamorphosis-esque narrative about literally being a low-life (a rodent) surrounded by humans occupying the same social status. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy parts of it. The author can comment a lot on the true nature of humans by disguising it as natural animal rat instinct - t...more
Eva Sanchez
A letter I wrote to Sam Savage but couldn't figure out where to send it.
To Sam Savage,
I was walking through the aisles of my local library branch with no idea of what book I wanted to read. I bided my time because it was the afternoon and that meant that my house was hot and humid and the library was not. I skimmed the aisles of stacks of rows of books and plucked them one by one off the shelves. I took in title upon title and tried to guess what a cover art had to do with the descriptions. You...more
Apr 19, 2014 Gitte rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who enjoy books about books. And rats.

Shoes: Lola Ramona
The Beginning: I had always imagined that my life story, if and when I wrote it, would have a great first line.

What a pleasant surprise this book turned out to be! It was an adorable read and a wonderful companion on my trip to London. We follow the rat, Firmin, who lives in a bookshop and develops a taste for books. Literally! He reads and eats books:

I had discovered a remarkable relation, a kind of preestablished harmony, between the taste and the literary quality of a book.
A pagina 157 dell’edizione Einaudi Stile libero Big leggo:

“Ero piuttosto avviluppato in qualcosa di simile al tedio. Ero carico di tedio. La vita mi tediava, la letteratura mi tediava, persino la morte.”

Allora alzo gli occhi e penso “ecco, è esattamente quello che sto provando io”.

Subito dopo mi rendo conto che la sensazione che sto provando ha la sua origine nel libro stesso e tutto mi è chiaro.

Lontano dalle mie intenzioni fare il commento del bastian contrario, solamente un’opinione personale...more

Firmin mi-a placut. Mult de tot.
E, aparent, conceput ca un roman simplu, si inca de la primele randuri, pare a te tine in transa, pentru ca povestea personajului principal e realmente captivanta. Firmin nu e un individ ca oricare altul, e un sobolan [imaginat, insa, de mine, ca un soricel, deoarece am refuzat vehement sa mi-l schitez in minte ca fiind gri inchis /negricios, cu o coada de o lungime dezgustatoare, cu niste falci neiertatoare, si cu niste ochi rosii, alaturi de o privire nebuna]. N...more
Quando ci si rapporta ad un bestseller, in genere lo si fa con un atteggiamento scettico e un po’ snobistico, nonché preparati a rimanere delusi, almeno nella maggior parte dei casi.
“Firmino” per me non è stato una delusione, in quanto non ha la pretesa di essere un capolavoro, tuttavia possiede una sua innegabile dignità e suscita molta simpatia.
Questo bizzarro topo, sprovvisto di ogni avvenenza fisica perfino in base ai canoni estetici dei ratti, si nutre di parole ma è condannato al silenzi...more
Ed eccomi qui, infine, a parlare del “topastro”. Da quando Sadako l’ha chiamato così, non riesco a definirlo in altro modo. :-)

... ’azzo ce ne frega a noi se tu parli o no del “topastro”, direte voi. Ellosò che non ve ne frega niente, ma si fa tanto per dire, no? E’ un inizio come un altro. Da qualche parte bisogna pur partire.

Ordunque … a me il “topastro” non è sembrato né un capolavoro, né una schifezza. A me il “topastro” è sembrata una biografia, quella dell’autore. “Firmin c’est moi” dicono...more
Mr Sam Savage sounds like someone out of a Jim Dodge story. His author bio informs us that he has bachelor's and doctoral degrees in Philosophy from Yale University, that he briefly taught at that same venerable institution, and that he has also been a bicycle mechanic, carpenter, commercial fisherman, and letterpress printer. I've just seen his photo now too, and he even looks like someone out of a Jim Dodge story:

But whereas you might expect such a man t...more
This is, without a doubt, one of the most unusual books I've ever read. At first glance, I thought it was a childrens book. It's definitely NOT a childrens book. It's an adult novel about...a rat. This rat, Firmin, identifies with humans more than other rats. This is due to the fact that as a baby, and as the runt of the litter, he had to turn to eating books because he couldn't compete with his bigger, greedier brothers and sisters for food. Ingesting these books caused him to learn how to read...more
Dopo questo libro, ogni animale che non sia uomo, lo guardo e lo immagino come una creatura pensante, capace di sentimenti simili o uguali a quelli umani. Eppure non tutti gli animali hanno la capacità di leggere, non tutti hanno la capacità di parlare, e solitamente vengono considerati come oggetti, o come sostituti per delle pseudo amicizie. Ma potrebbero essere molto di più, sono molto di più, e Firmino lo dimostra! Firmino, seppur gli manca la parola, quando scopre i libri, comincia a divora...more
I really loved this little novel; it spoke to the bibliophile in me. You would think that having a rat as the main character would turn you off but this was such a charming and heartwarming story and I highly recommend it.
Maria Grazia
Graziosa favola che parla di un ratto e di come lo stesso sia diventato un appassionato della lettura, che vorrebbe essere una metafora della condizione del lettore in mezzo a una umanità che della lettura pare non sapere più che cosa farsene.
L'inizio è molto carino, poi il romanzo si disperde un po', e il ratto diventa troppo umano, e si commisera troppo, per essere veramente simaptico.
La scrittura è curata e piacevole, e fa si che il voto sia un po' più alto di quello che competerebbe alla sto...more
Христо Блажев
Фирмин е тъжен книжен плъх в книгата на Сам Савидж:

Сега знам защо плъхчето на корицата е така тъжно. В началото ми се стори странно, мислех, че е лек, забавен роман. Е, не е или поне не точно. “Фирмин” на Сам Савидж е книга само за страстни книголюбители и е малко вероятно да допадне другиму.

Малкото плъхче Фирмин разказва своя живот – от раждането му сред “Бдение за Финеган” на Джойс до разрухата на безкнижието в един храм на книгите. Фирмин е книжен плъ...more
Okay, it's about a rat who reads (and eats) books and has an active fantasy life. Weird as it sounds, I loved this book. If anything, it was just too sad (given the topic, really, that makes sense, but it hit some of my particular buttons right now). I had trouble reading it at times (and it's really short) due to that fact. It's not all dark, though, and while I'm not sure about the ending, but I actually think I'll be thinking about this book for a while and the chacter of Firmin in particular...more
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
I liked this book, but I didn't feel fully engaged by it. This book wasn't what I expected, it was a lot stranger and more adult than I had expected. I found the book rather funny at times and Firmin was quite a charming character, but I was getting less enthralled throughout the book. An interesting book and a good idea, but it's something that wore off on me. Definitely worth it for a quick read and a new reading experience.
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Sam Savage is a native of South Carolina now living in Madison, Wisconsin. He received his bachelor and doctoral degree from Yale University where he taught briefly, and has also worked as a bicycle mechanic, carpenter, commercial fisherman, and letterpress printer.
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“I always think everything is going to last forever, but nothing ever does. In fact nothing exists longer than an instant except the thing that we hold in memory” 37 likes
“Unrequited love is bad, but unrequitable love can really get you down.” 15 likes
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