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As Max Saw It

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  88 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
"[A] perfectly constructed novel.... The time is 1974, and Max, who is fleeing from the wreckage of his first marriage, is a summer-house guest on Lake Como, where he encounters the two characters who will shape his life over the next 20 years: Charlie Swan, a Harvard classmate from the 1950s turned famous architect...and Toby, a poised and polymorphous teenager who is soo ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 11th 1995 by Ballantine Books (first published 1994)
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Nov 20, 2015 Bandit rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've read Begley's Memories of a Marriage a couple of years ago and it made enough of a good impression to try another one of his. Had the situation been reversed, I definitely don't think I would have chosen to read more of an author based on this one. Begley has a way with words, an ability to turn out a nice phrase and his succinct storytelling is most admirable, but here it just wasn't enough to save the book and it made for a weirdly reader's digest like version of this tale of love and fri ...more
Tracy Griffin
Mar 05, 2017 Tracy Griffin rated it did not like it
A story of little substance and over zealously presented. One star from me is generous.
Feb 01, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
The lives of two very different men - former classmates at Harvard - converge during a summer reunion at a villa on the shores of Lake Como. Max, a law professor, is fleeing the collapse of his first marriage and has become the ultimate spectator of life. Charlie, a famous architect, is a high-living man of extremes. Max's meeting with Charlie brings him into contact with Toby, Charlie's startlingly beautiful male companion. Both Charlie's and Toby's relationship will ultimately shape Max's life ...more
Jul 17, 2009 Nan rated it really liked it
Intriguing mix of characters in this one, and it took me a while to get into it, but eventually won me over. Max is an art queen who's hugely jaded, and the opening scene reminded me in a bad way of all those insufferable rich Manhattanites that Woody Allen is so fond of. Stick with it, as the story becomes better and better. Max is cruel and petty and addicted to beauty. He's fascinating, and the narrator's observation of him, particularly in the framework of AIDS in the 80s, is acute and power ...more
William Koon
Mar 14, 2014 William Koon rated it really liked it
As Max Saw It by Louis Begley is a careful and skillful reworking of Mann’s Death in Venice. I have always liked Begley’s works, and this is no exception. He is kind of a Marquand with verve. A John Cheever with more attention to details. Read this one when you want a brief, good work that will crawl into your brain spaces and search the crevices.
Aug 08, 2007 Ak rated it really liked it
parts of it are rough going, but lovely style, similar to mcewan
Jan 07, 2009 Abby rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Suspect I ready this in response to a NYTBR review. Remember liking it enough but don't remember anything more.
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Matthew Krichman rated it really liked it
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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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