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3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  111 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
A middle-aged man recounts in meticulous detail a gruesome act of violence he committed as a child with the passive consent of his victim, an incident that may have only happened in his imagination.
Paperback, 191 pages
Published February 20th 1997 by Four Walls Eight Windows (first published 1986)
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Dec 26, 2013 Mariel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: we just had the strength of children
Recommended to Mariel by: he couldn't write a sentence to save all of our lives
I never wanted to be the one who I am.

A man cannot go to sleep. He has seen something on television. She says he will have to wait until morning when someone else will be there. Six hours. There were men on a rooftop and they are fighting to the death, living to the death. They are the prisoners or did they become the guards. He didn't understand until now what it was when he was six years old and he murdered the other boy in the sandbox. He couldn't see his own face. What was that on the televi
M. Sarki
Nov 18, 2013 M. Sarki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

wool·gath·er intr.v. wool·gath·ered, wool·gath·er·ing, wool·gath·ers To engage in fanciful daydreaming.

pg. 28 Steven Adinoff was just woolgathering and then caught himself at it...

Was the boy who Gordon killed, Steven Adinoff, just dreaming when he got it?

In the very first paragraph Gordon Lish tells us every character he intends on showing us. The boy he killed in the sandbox Steven Adinoff, Gordon's neighbor Andy Lieblich and his nanny, the "colored" man
David Winters
Apr 08, 2013 David Winters rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peru: difficult, perhaps "disturbing," probably destined to be misunderstood... but its formal complexity makes it compelling. I wrote at length about this book for 3:AM Magazine, here.
Lewis Manalo
From an author with such an eminent reputation and who was such an influential editor, Lish's Peru is a flimsy, shallow book.

A rambling kind of monologue, Peru is told as a fifty-year-old man's recollection of his murder of a child that he committed as a child. Other than that sensationalism of one six-year-old killing another, there is nothing else here except for a half-hearted attempt at style.

If nothing else, this novel shows that not everyone who can edit can write. One can see here why Lis
Dec 08, 2011 Morgan rated it it was amazing
Here Lish is a fantastic postmodern master. His writing style is exquisite. On top of that, he knows how to tell a story. This is a great exploration of guilt and responsibility, the identification and ownership of feelings, and coping.

The story intertwines three events revolving around one character. One foundational (his killing a child as a child), one sentimental (his preparations dropping his own child off for camp), and the last mundane (watching the news of a violent jailbreak in Peru). I
Dec 27, 2008 Andy rated it it was amazing
My first Lish book and boy do I wonder what I was waiting for in not getting to this guy before now. This kind of writing is exactly what pushes all the right literary buttons for me: edgy, brilliantly inventive and virtuosic, witty/amusing, moderately avant garde techniques (as in time shifts, and plot fragmention). Reminds me somewhat of other favorites of mine: Beckett, Thomas Bernhard and Stephen Dixon. Will probably read Zimzum next.
May 02, 2009 Kevin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: weird-stuff
Super good and menacing (like Dear Mr. Capote) but this one has a weird coming of age kind of slant as well.
Francisco H. González
Perú se publicó originalmente en Estados Unidos 1986. En 2009, la Editorial Periférica lo publica en España con traducción de Isabel Centeno.

El libro viene avalado por personalidades como Harold Bloom o DeLillo. A mí me ha gustado bastante poco.

A los seis años un niño americano, pobre, mientras juega en un cajón de arena con un amigo de buena familia y otro niño al que conoce por vez primera, acabará matando a este último. No sabremos ni al principio ni al final si había premeditación en el acto
Brent Legault
Dec 30, 2007 Brent Legault rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: visitors, revisitors
Though it's a short novel, I found it hard to get to the end. I certainly wanted to get to the end. I thought of little else while reading this book. So much so that it became a distraction, a further obstacle (apart from the text itself) preventing me from putting this one down as black and white and read all over.

I did finish it and I was satisfied when I closed it and sealed it up on my bookshelf. It left its thumbprint on me which I've not ever been able to shrug off. (I haven't tried all t
Kobe Bryant
This would have been better if it was half as long, but the last 50 pages or so were pretty good so maybe it was all worth it, I don't know
Geoff Wehmeyer
Aug 01, 2011 Geoff Wehmeyer rated it really liked it
Reminded me of Thomas Bernhard, how the story and language is so barren that it circles around itself until it strangles you, but in a good way.
Jul 26, 2011 Liam rated it it was ok
The narrator of 'Peru' (1986) tells the reader a confused mixture of two stories; one of his murder of a playmate at the age of six, and the other of an accidental injury he sustained aged fifty at the hands of a clumsy taxi driver from Peru, leaving him brain damaged (it is implied). His attitude to his juvenile crime is cold, peripheral and without compunction. He is more interested in the smells and sights that caught his eye that day than he is in the motives or consequences of his part in ...more
Krishna Avendaño
Si hubo un buen momento para declarar la muerte de la novela fue sin duda el día en que se inauguró la posmodernidad. Muerte entendida no como el fin trágico de un género, sino en el sentido de que en algún punto del desarrollo de la literatura el lenguaje y no la historia tomó el papel principal de las narrativas. En no pocos casos, casi todos ellos desafortunados, la sola idea de novela se volvió un pretexto para el artificio, como si los escritores se hubieran dado cuenta de que no bastaba ...more
Cooper Cooper
Jul 22, 2009 Cooper Cooper rated it liked it
This is the obsessive, circling internal monologue of a 54-year-old protagonist (“Gordon Lish”) who at the age of six murdered a playmate in a sandbox. The narrative consists of eight or ten focal themes and the associations they call up (confusedly) in the narrator’s mind. Here’s what Lish sounds like:

She said that we were just temporary, that that was just how some people were, that they were just temporary people, and that you never knew why this was so, but that sometimes it was because pe
Jody Sperling
I enjoyed how Lish wrote this book with such a strong character voice. The rhythm and repetition clearly communicated the mental state of the narrator. I don't know how to feel about the irresolution at the novel's end. I would have enjoyed the slightest bit more help from Lish because I kept drifting away to question how the character, given what he confesses, could be in his present situation as a husband and father. Was the narrator never convicted? I know there is some question as to whether ...more
Rory Macpherson
Aug 21, 2015 Rory Macpherson rated it it was amazing
An exceptional, powerful piece of writing that dissects the human tendency to exaggerate or invent a more exciting past for oneself, even at the expense of ones own public image.
Steve D
Steve D rated it really liked it
Sep 09, 2015
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Nov 01, 2015
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May 14, 2015
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Feb 26, 2008
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Feb 04, 2015
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Jun 08, 2014
Georgina Thynne
Georgina Thynne rated it did not like it
Oct 27, 2011
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Jan 07, 2016
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Anthony Scarzafava
Anthony Scarzafava rated it it was ok
Jan 21, 2012
Robert F. Josey
Robert F. Josey rated it liked it
Aug 28, 2014
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Gordon Jay Lish is an American writer. As a literary editor, he championed many American authors, particularly Raymond Carver, Barry Hannah, Amy Hempel, and Richard Ford.
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“Era a sensação que eu tinha - era o que sentia. Quando eu tinha seis anos, eu tinha a sensação de que eu era aquele que tinha que observar as coisas para as pessoas, que tinha que ver as coisas para as pessoas, que se eu não fizesse isso, então elas não seriam vistas.” 0 likes
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