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Three Delays: A Novel
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Three Delays: A Novel

3.1  ·  Rating Details ·  115 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
“Mind-blowing… This isn’t Smith’s first tale of toxic and nihilistic obsession, but it is his most ravishing, painfully funny, and wildly mythic.” — Booklist (starred review)

“Smith is not only a spectacular stylist but also a visionary.” —Washington Post Book World

From Charlie Smith (Cheap Ticket to Heaven, Chimney Rock, Shine Hawk), author of three New York Times Notable
ebook, 368 pages
Published May 18th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books
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Aug 03, 2010 Mbreaden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charlie Smith’s latest novel, Three Delays, is divided into five parts and each installment serves as a depiction of the narrator Billy Brent and his on-again-off-again pursuit of Alice Stephens, a woman he has known and loved since childhood. Set in Southern Florida—the Keys, the ‘Glades, West Miami—for all but the first and final sections, which occur in Europe and Mexico, respectively, much of the focus of this novel is upon Billy’s drug abuse and his unfathomable Alice.
Charlie Smith, a pr
Jcooper Cooper
Dec 04, 2010 Jcooper Cooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I thought I would not like this book - a male drug addict and his obsessive love affair didn't strike me as interesting enough to spend time on a novel from his point of view, but recommended by a reader friend, I read the first page, and was captivated. Charlie Smith's 'story' is for you if you love language. The author is also a poet, and this is sentence after sentence of stunningly beautiful prose. It's a brilliant and wracked interior animated through and in context of things, and ...more
Michael Shilling
Three Delays is a fine example of how character is plot; the lack of a cohesive narrative is not the problem here, and Smith takes a real and interesting risk by attempting to create a structure that mirrors the fragmented emotional make-up of these characters and their life-long relationship. But it fails terribly, due to the relentless adolescent navel-gazing of the two main characters, Billy and Alice. I lost count of the "Look I said/thought something profound!" moments after the first thirt ...more
Connie Mayo
OK, I'm cheating in that I haven't finished reading it - but I don't think I will. This book really frustrated me - the writing is really just brilliant, poetic, lyrical, creative, visual. But the story is like a spiral to nowhere. I got so frustrated with the main character Billy, and I'm was working my way up to feeling like that about Alice - after a while I just felt like slapping Billy and telling him to grow up, stop whining and for cryin' out loud, stop ingesting drugs like candy.
Jun 25, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was going to say it's like Hunter Thompson with more unrequited love and better writing, but by the end it gets way beyond Thompson's scope.
Sep 25, 2010 Linnet rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Alice and Billy: the best case for never using drugs ever written!
Jan 01, 2017 Pamela marked it as read_partial  ·  review of another edition
Not doing it for me. Best to leave it and move onto something more enjoyable.
I scratched this one very early on, like a couple dozen pages in early on. Really, I'm okay with literary. I can handle it. But there comes a point in literary where it stops being good to read and starts being a showcase of the author's perceived awesomeness and that's where my eyelids start to sag. If I wanted to gaze at a naval I'd pick at my own. Thanks.

Perhaps it was the incessant use of 'waked up' that made me want to murder puppies. Yes, technically it's correct. And technically it makes
Sep 30, 2014 Kasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can appreciate from the reviews why some people just couldn't get into this book - the first two sections are a stream of consciousness drug filled babble, but the language and writing is just gorgeous. Charlie Smith is a poet like I've never read before. I had to reread sentences just to allow the beauty and depth of it to sink in.
For example: "My arms felt hollow, weak from lifting my life, like a man who'd just made love hanging from a tree."
"Beyond a blank grassless hill face a house
Apr 17, 2011 Nina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nina by: Greenlight Bookstore
Charlie Smith's writing is wild and poetic - very hard to describe actually - but it makes reading this book an experience like no other. I could pull out a hundred passages from the book to illustrate what I'm trying to say, but the one that is featured on the back cover is the most accessible at the moment: "If you left me, I would fade out like a dying Indian tribe. I'd disappear like the ivory-billed woodpecker. They'd see me, near the end, standing down on Calle Cinquo wearing one of your n ...more
Nick Duretta
There's no question that Smith's prose is impressive; I found myself marveling at his descriptive powers. But basically this is the story of an unlikeable protagonist, a writer of sorts, and his almost-as-unlikeable girlfriend-wife-lover. They drift through life getting together, breaking up, finding new lovers, coming back together, again and again, all the while getting stoned or high. There is no particular plot or story to speak of, just two aimless people bent on self-destruction. I never d ...more
Maria Olson Goins
I was crazy about this book at first, and then it just dragged on and on, in circles, and I was so tired of the protagonist being such a loser, not being strong enough to get clean, it became tedious & frustrating despite the poetic language. what kind of bullshit love is that. so i'd say i forced myself to finish it, hoping i would get as excited as i was initially, after reading the NYT review and runnning around bookstores trying to find it and devouring the first 50 or so pages in one co ...more
May 23, 2013 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Basically a plotless account of simultaneously the most romantic and destructive relationship you've ever had, multiplied by 100. I give Smith props for keeping me interested the whole way through, and I even shed a little tear at the end, as much as I was sick of these two by the conclusion, too. The book is repetitive and while we've all probably been in passionate, difficult relationships at one time, this particular fictional(?) account of a troubled pairing strains credibility too much to c ...more
Allison Gibson
"Part One" of this book, roughly the first 40 pages, is like an absolutely perfect standalone short story. Five stars. The book could have ended there. Smith's writing is fantastic throughout, but with really no narrative to frame it, it grew tiresome. Or redundant. Still, that Part One is well worth reading. Fans of Denis Johnson will especially love it, and maybe most of the book.
Angela P
Dec 23, 2010 Angela P rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book I have read in a very long time. Similar to William S Burroughs but with a plot, this book explores impossible love that many of us have experienced or have dreamed about. The true love; regardless of faults, that Billy & Alice share. I recommend this to anyone with a love of literature that doesnt take the common path.
Aaron Mcilhenny
Jul 22, 2013 Aaron Mcilhenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I had read this book for a class. That way, someone could have made me analyze all the genius metaphors and symbolism Smith used. As it was, most of them flew straight over my head, and I wasn't interested enough in the plotline to go into analyzing them. So more of a 4 for effort than for actual enjoyment.
Dani O.
Sep 29, 2011 Dani O. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting storyline. Amazing writing! But a less than stellar ending. It's a worthwhile read if for no other reason than to experience the way Charlie Smith puts together a sentence. His observations on the human condition and description of the surroundings are unbelievable.
Apr 27, 2014 Lisette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Overwritten to the point of distraction. Every sentence works so hard to show off that any attempt at story or building engaging characters falls off the rails. This is a book to impress other writers not readers.
Nov 17, 2014 James rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Every so often a book will really make me reconsider my policy of finishing every book I start. Three Delays is one of those books; it can best be summed up with the phrase "word vomit."
Sam Harvey
Jul 30, 2013 Sam Harvey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is more in the same vein as Shinehawk and Lives of the Dead. I have to believe that someday readers will catch up to Charlie Smith. What a talent!
Carmen Kern
You can tell a poet wrote this book. Some great lines with a lyrical slant to the story. The story itself was a little underwhelming but for the language alone, I'd recommend this book.
Jun 05, 2011 June rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not my kind of book--drug induced ramblings. I really have never been interested in this kind of book.
gene rated it liked it
Aug 10, 2010
Kelly rated it liked it
May 04, 2016
Chris Robert
Chris Robert rated it really liked it
Mar 23, 2011
Leslie rated it did not like it
May 18, 2012
Steve Clancy
Steve Clancy rated it really liked it
Sep 11, 2011
David Lee
David Lee rated it it was amazing
Nov 26, 2011
Rebecca rated it it was ok
Nov 17, 2010
SaraBroad rated it liked it
Apr 03, 2016
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