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Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,274 Ratings  ·  582 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...)
Oct 20, 2014 Molly rated it really liked it
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
May 18, 2010 Olivia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
James Barker
I adored this intelligent, quirky book. Yes, it's told from the POV of a rat but this is no 'Secret of Nimh.' The rat in question, Firmin, is the runt of a litter of 13 and, because this mother only has 12 nipples he has to play 'musical teats'.. with little success. Instead he has to sustain himself by nibbling classic books. Birthed by an alcoholic mother in the basement of a bookshop in Boston's Scolloy Square there are, thankfully, enough volumes to keep him full. But, in allowing the words ...more
Mar 06, 2008 Jose rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 09, 2007 Alicia rated it really liked it
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
Farhan Ghazali
Dec 22, 2009 Farhan Ghazali rated it it was amazing
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
Stephanie Griffin
Nov 04, 2008 Stephanie Griffin rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Mar 19, 2016 Susana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um livro que nos vai conquistando à medida que avançamos na sua leitura.

A história de Firmin, contada pelo próprio, mistura a realidade com a fantasia, ou não fosse o protagonista uma ratazana letrada, que trata os clássicos por tu.
Só não gostei que, por vezes, o narrador se dirigisse diretamente aos leitores, nunca gostei disso.

A tradução e a revisão são boas, só achei que faltavam algumas notas de rodapé (não há uma única...) que ajudariam a enquadrar as inúmeras referências históricas, literá
Emre Yalabık
May 18, 2014 Emre Yalabık rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Tempo de Ler
Mar 25, 2015 Tempo de Ler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Todos nós, que gostamos de ler, sabemos bem o respeito que este objecto, o livro, inspira. Também o sabe o pequeno Firmin, uma ratazana que vive numa livraria de livros em segunda mão. Nos seus primeiros tempos de vida Firmin recorre aos livros como alimento físico mas, mais tarde, quando aprende a ler, estes servem-lhe também de alimento intelectual, escapatória, fonte de conhecimento, consolo e até companhia.

No entanto, esta genialidade de Firmin é apenas partilhada com o leitor; a sua paixão
Dec 05, 2008 June rated it it was ok
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
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.
Jul 01, 2012 charta rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abbandonato
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
Sep 10, 2009 Lavinia rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009, fiction
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
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
Jul 27, 2008 edifanob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
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
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
Cinabru Hoffmann
Jan 23, 2015 Cinabru Hoffmann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: varia
Hey Ho, Let’s Go, cum ar fi spus Joey Ramone. Hey Ho cu povestea lui Firmin, poate singurul sobolan din literatura cu care ajungi sa te identifici. Mai ar fi cei din familia Roademult, dar acolo e mai mult decat o chestiune lingvistica daca sunt sobolani sau soareci. E de memorie cu lacune. Dar Firmin, eroul lui Sam Savage (care a publicat romanul foarte, foarte tarziu) este un personaj. Memorabil.

Uneori ti se intampla sa dai peste o carte fantastica absolut si in nestire din intamplare. Pentru
Eva Sanchez
Jun 23, 2014 Eva Sanchez rated it it was amazing
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
Sergio D. Lara
Feb 02, 2016 Sergio D. Lara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Firmin" es un libro conmovedor y divertido. Recomendable si necesitamos recordar 1) por qué amamos a los libros y 2) que el conocimiento es abismalmente distinto a la felicidad, o en todo caso de trata de una felicidad distinta, llena de nostalgias... Muy bueno para leer una tarde lluviosa con un café.
Apr 19, 2014 Gitte rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Dec 20, 2014 lavinia rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is a book about loneliness and curiosity. The two go well together it seems and I was surprised to find myself at times in the tiny rat. I felt sorry for him or was happy for him as the book went on. Beautiful.

I had some time just now to write down my favorite quotes, I usually do this after I write the goodreads thoughts, but here they are:

"I would haul myself up through the hole, and Jerry, sitting at the table, would turn and say something like 'Lo, Ernie, how was your walk?' It broke my
Feb 26, 2014 Leanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
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.
May 08, 2016 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Das Highlight dieses Buches sind tatsächlich die literarischen Streifzüge.

Firmin ist selbst zwar sehr sympathisch, allerdings nicht besonders "rattig". Er hat sehr humane Eigenschaften, so dass ich mich manchmal daran erinnern muss, dass er eine Ratte ist. Es geht ihm selbst wohl kaum anders, denn er identifiziert sich immer stärker mit den literarischen Figuren, dass er teilweise, wenn er von ihnen erzählt, dies in der Ich-Form tut. Auch den Menschen um ihn herum, die er liebt, möchte er am lie
Jun 20, 2014 Yoake rated it liked it
Firmin es una rata de Boston. Nació en un recoveco de una librería y comió libros hasta que aprendió a leerlos. Es una rata inteligente y patética que piensa y sueña como un humano pese a que no puede comunicarse con ellos.

En mi caso, el problema nunca ha estado en los espejos -en ellos sólo habita el de siempre, el tipo de la barbilla hundida-, sino en la imagen de mí mismo que no está en el espejo, la que veo cuando me hallo tendido boca arriba y me miro los dedos y me cuento todas esas histor
Jun 25, 2012 Frank rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scambio
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
Jul 20, 2015 Cristina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

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
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
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2016 Reading Chal...: Firmin by Sam Savage 1 12 Mar 04, 2016 12:59PM  
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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.
More about Sam Savage...

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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” 64 likes
“Unrequited love is bad, but unrequitable love can really get you down.” 18 likes
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