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3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  106 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A mesmerizing novel of deception and betrayal from the acclaimed author of Wartime Lies and About Schmidt.
John North, a prize-winning American writer, is suddenly beset by dark suspicions about the real value of his work. Over endless hours and bottles of whiskey consumed in a mysterious café called L’Entre Deux Mondes, he recounts, in counterpoint to his doubts, the one s
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 28th 2004 by Ballantine Books (first published 2003)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”The conclusion I reached came down to this: none of my books, neither the new novel nor any I had written before, was very good. Certainly, none possessed the literary merit that critical opinion ascribed to them. Not even my second novel, the one that won all the prizes and was said to confirm my standing as an important novelist. No, they all belonged to the same dreary breed of unneeded books.”

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The trouble with John North, as it is for most of us, is in his head. It is the spectre of self-do
Rich Stoehr
I think I'm going to enjoy writing about Louis Begley's Shipwreck more than I enjoyed reading it. Probably a lot more. There's so many ways to describe why I was so disappointed in this book.

The main character, and essentially the narrator of the story (though it's told through the filter of a mostly-silent third party), is John North. North is a published author of several novels of critical success and a faithful, loving husband to Lydia. Faithful, that is, until he meets young journalist Lea
Jason Edwards
Shipwreck—review on Goodreads

Hawaiian vacation, day 5 of 6, third novel of three. From a stack of books in the rental cottage, all mysteries and spy thrillers. Had picked through what looked interesting or not previously-read. Gazed at the first few paragraphs of Shipwreck. Then the next few pages. Then was a quarter of the way through when the wife reminded me we were due for a sunset boat tour. Put the book down reluctantly.

Back from cruise, back to book. Next day, packed for return trip home,
Devon Francis
I wouldn't give this book a stellar review, but it wasn't terrible either. One of the things that bothered me most was that there were no chapters or breaks in the narrative. It was hard to find a stopping place, and since it wasn't such a quick read that I could finish it in a day, I ended up having to skim back a few paragraphs each time I picked up the book.
The novel reads as if the protagonist is having a conversation with a reporter - it's written in the first person from the point of view
An implausible event attempts to allow the second person narrative structure. While the voice is well enough crafted, the insertions of the listener are awkward. The story bogs down for the last quarter and the denouement is finally not remarkable.
Conrad N.
Intriguing writing style, much like Jack Kerouac's On the Road, but far more intellectually challenging. The work surprises in that a few pages in, you realize it's all dialogue, mostly one sided, and there are no quotation marks. It's almost as if you are eavesdropping on a conversation in a bar…

Even though the ending is not obvious, the book comes to a conclusion that is inevitable which bathes the whole story in a new light when one finishes it. An outstanding performance of the writers' skil
Flowed beautifully, def recommend
Deborah Noel
I couldn't put this one down... Jammed through it in a weekend as it had a sort of stranglehold on me - which, is appropriate given that the narrator is describing an obsession (and subsequent debasement - though for the record, I was *not* debased by said literature). What did I Learn? Well, nothing that I didn't already know but it drove the point home: sex (or any of our God-given instincts for that matter), when misused, can kill.
Unfortunately I do not like books where I find the narrator annoying and arrogant. I know this is what the author intended but it didn't work for me. I also did not like the monologue style because afterall, who knew whether what he was saying was true at all (in the context of the story). So it become rather an exercise in self-indulgence.
I never thought a book about a love affair could be so dull but ... this one is a snoozer. 2/3 of the way through now and I don't know if I'll be able to finish. The attempt at a "2nd-person" narrative structure is weak at best.
I found this novel riveting. A successful writer, happily married, allows himself to get involved with a beautiful young Parisian woman after she interviews him for a magazine. What will happen? A simple, "Fatal Attraction" kind of story told with great suspense and narrative drive.
I thought the main character was pompous and egotistical from the first page. I didn't like the situations he got into or his solutions.
I hated the main character almost from the very first page. But it wasn't torture to read. I made it all the way through.
Protagonist is wretched drunkard, coward and cheater-- and fiendishly good to read.
Carbon: read 243 of 258 pages. Published by Ballantine in New York City.
Nick Baam
Great book, though not sure I like the new cover. Yes I do.
Jul 07, 2008 DERBS R rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
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Louis Begley is an American novelist.

Begley was born Ludwik Begleiter in Stryi at the time part of Poland and now in Ukraine, as the only child of a physician. He is a survivor of the Holocaust due to the multiple purchases of Aryan papers by his mother and constant evasion of the Nazis. They survived by pretending to be Polish Catholic. The family left Poland in the fall of 1946 and settled in N
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