What it is:
A London tube train, with all seats occupied, carries 252 passengers. The driver makes 253. Each one has a secret history, thoughts about themselves and the world. And each one's story takes one page (comprised of exactly 253 words) in this novel.
Meet Estelle, ...more
Although I would like to make it clear that I think the author was, is, and always will be a really nice person.
This book was so grindingly obvious in all its techniques and the "shock ending" was telegraphed so far in advance a person in a deep coma would have sussed it by page three if their loved one had started reading it to them. Actually, it would have cured the person in the deep coma, because they would ...more
4. KEITH PERZ
Keith, a graceless, limp-haired student, lives in Seattle, WA. He is writing a dissertation on 253. His girlfriend, Miranda, had suggested the idea to him a few weeks ago, and he gratefully accepted.
Now Miranda has just left him, and he's stuck. The dissertation is due ...more
The second thing you should know is what you're getting into. The majority of the novel consists of 253 character descriptions, each one 253 words long. If this sounds terribly precious, well, it is, but ...more
1. Although each page of 253 characters makes for a relatively quick read in theory, in practice (for me anyway), trying to remember how the characters from different carriages link together meant that I was constantly tracking back and forth through the pages trying to jog my memory. Very irritating and made ...more
Over the years it has popped into my head on several occasions and I was always intrigued by the premis and concept behind it. So, when I saw it in a local oxfam bookshop it was an impulsive "must buy" and an easy "must finally properl ...more
The conceit is relatively clever, and some of the character descriptions are good--I enjoyed the pigeon, the fanfic writer, and the snuggler--but overall I don't get any sense that these individual moments are leading up to anything. The event of the train crash was pretty boring, despite being foreshadowed. There were so many characters that I couldn't remember any of them we ...more
Ryman gives us a snapshot of each passenger on a seven and a half minute journey on a tube train. Each character is described by their outward appe ...more
253 no es una novela al uso. El planteamiento es simple: en la introducción, leemos que “Un tren de metro consta únicamente de siete vagones. ¿Por qué? El número parece raro. Ocho sería más redondo, más cómodo. Tal vez sea un siete para la buena suerte.
Cada uno de los vagones consta de 36 asientos, lo cual significa que la ocupación ideal de un tren que no estuviera atestado ni perturbadoramente vacío sería de 252 pasajeros, más el conductor. Esto daría un total de 253 personas.”
En una sola pági...more
That's a lot of characters. For the most part they are interesting, and an overarching narrative slowly appears. Not that the narrative is that strong, but it does add a bit.
This book does lose something compared to the hypertext, as many characte ...more
Ryman hones in on the fact that 253 lives have, very temporarily, intersected. Each person is both the main character in their own life, and a supporting actor in the lives of 252 others. For seven minutes, all of their journeys have aligned. It’s an incredi ...more
I think you need to have excellent short term memory to read this book. You have to flick b ...more
I understand the arguments that it's contrived, but I think about this book and how experimental it was quite often. When traveling--on planes or just the subway--my thoughts wander to this book while I make up stories about the people around me.
I passed this book onto a guy I met while traveling in Costa Rica. We still see ...more
The character portraits are pretty amazing because not one of them feels repetitive, predictable, formulaic or lacking in detail - over 253 characters this is quite an imaginative feat.
The story takes on a feeling of the mundane within the epic as the story progresses.
it does feel quite 90s but that doesn't mean it's aged badly.
I'm interested to read Rymans's novel the Child Garden which I ...more
footnotes: 1) 253 is a fascina ...more
253, or Tube Theatre is divided into seven “chapters,” one for each car in the train; each chapter is divided into thirty-six sections, one for each of the passenge ...more
I am one of those people who occasionally looks around in a subway car, or stadium, or traffic jam, and ponders the fact that all these people, who are sharing a moment, are in the middle of their own stories...everyone has a different past...people w ...more
(view spoiler)[London (m)ass transit written around the time in which security theatre became a thing—overarching plot concerns a bomb on the tube. Tube being slang for London's subway, plot being an excuse to end the lives of fictional characters.
Each of the 253 characters (251 passengers, one conductor, and one dog) are given a 253 word description. This is adequate, mostly. Many of the characters are interrelated in some convoluted way. Because of that, this book is best read on ...more
This book is a gift for anyone who has ever sat across from another passenger on public transport, and wondered what their story was. Geoff Ryman gives each of the folks compelling stories that intertwine in surprising and sometimes amusing ways with those of others on the Tube.
I was impressed with there being 253 distinct stories that are separat ...more
His science fiction and fantasy works include The Warrior Who Carried Life (1985), the novella The Unconquered Country (1986) (winner of the British Science Fiction Award and the World Fantasy Award), and The Child Garden (1989) (winner ...more