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3.12  ·  Rating Details ·  527 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
Moshe -- young, half-Jewish, hyper -- loves Nana. But love can be difficult. It is especially difficult if you both want to be kind to someone else. And Moshe and Nana want to be kind to Anjali -- a second-generation Indian actress with an ambiguous sex life.

Politics explores crucial domestic problems of sexual etiquette. What should the sleeping arrangements be in a ménag
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 30th 2003 by Harper (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 18, 2013 Jonfaith rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Little Shit Syndrome is normally diagnosed in small children. Cheeky novelists are apparently also susceptible. Hey man, what if I alternate fucking and theory in my rad new novel? Check this one under bong hits to perspicacity. I nearly cringe when I think about this novel. Politics didn't leave me wanting a shower, I wasn't dirty, only bored and annoyed with Thirwell's waste of tender gifts.
Aug 27, 2009 Jasmine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
Yay for england, Yay for england.

I love this book, it reminds me of Milan Kundra not like Florian Zeller is cheating on Milan, but like a man who thinks the same way as milan. the book is full of asides, some are even about Milan.

I'm not honestly positive that this should be a 5 star book. it is certainly a 4 star book but I mean does it have that something I don't know. I give it 5 stars because I read it in a single day on and off for the course of 8 hours I believe, and I think that it is t
Ian Mapp
nteresting style this. The author talks directly to the reader as he introduces characters and concepts.

He starts by telling us how we are going to like two of the main protaganists - Moshe and Nana and then goes on to tell us about a sex scene with them which involves general unlplesantness

Then we are introduced to a third character, Anjali, who is introduced by nana (yes, six foot, blonde, into the unpleasantness but has no real interest in sex) in a menage a trois.

The thing to like about this
Oct 17, 2007 Hunter rated it liked it
Recommends it for: perverts, mostly
Shelves: fiction, sex
This book made me realize I needed a sex shelf. So there's that.

There are many many good lines in this book. The plot is lacking but that's not really the point. It's more of a character/relationship piece. It's also written in the first person, but the narrator isn't one of the main characters. That's interesting. This is really more of a 3.5 star book rather than 3.0. I remember really enjoying it while I read it, but very little sticks in my memory.

Perhaps that is because lines like this...

Sep 27, 2013 Magda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm dropping it.

Started the book after a friend recommended it in a stormy discussion about where are all those well-written books with good sex for grown up women who don't want to read about Lolitas or 80s SM-pretend.

It started promising (the opening scene is well written, explicit and catchy) but then became... boring. Sporadic sex teasers and a lot of naivish leftist politics trying to sound like post-cultural studies. Plus irritating attempts to be oh so clever (throwing sharp phrases abo
Robert Wechsler
Mar 21, 2013 Robert Wechsler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The perfect travel book: light, playful, sometimes even sexy, although for the most part comically so (and comic sex is the best, at least in writing). This very British novel about a ménage à trois among three people who arent really committed to it or even comfortable with sex (except for one) is narrated by an omniscient narrator who has his own opinions and has as much fun sharing them as the reader does reading them (very Kunderian, and yet still refreshing). A short confection, full of pla ...more
Aug 28, 2007 Kena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book deftly deals with sex in a non-sexual way. In fact its discussion of sex, while explicit, is only pornographic for one paragraph. It basically explores the complexities of human interactions and communication and what happiness, sacrifice and love mean.

The biggest selling point of this book for me is the narrator. He's snarky, witty and kind in turns. His voice is omniscient and guides you through the intricacies of the main characters' relationships which could be seen as exotic, yet
Nov 22, 2008 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: College students
I might have liked this book had I read it, say, 15 years ago in my 20s. Because it's cutesy and fun and sweet. Like Pop Rocks.

And a little bit of Pop Rocks goes a long way. So after 30 pages I wanted to tell the author to take some chamomile tea and chill the f**k out.

The book is more character- than plot-driven, which is fine. But the author uses the meta-fiction/narrator-intervention device less skillfully than others (Milan Kundera, Italo Calvino and Vonnegut come to mind)and more self-cons
Brent Legault
Had I never read Martin Amis, then I probably wouldn't think of Adam Thirlwell as third-rate, knock-off Martin Amis. Had I never read Tibor Fischer, then I probably wouldn't think of Adam Thirlwell as second-rate, done-over Tibor Fischer. Had Thirlwell never read Amis or Fischer, Politics would likely imitate some other popular stylist's style instead. Had Adam Thirlwell's been the only novel I'd ever read, I'm sure I'd still find it ever so hashed and rehashed. Somewhere among these conditions ...more
Feb 03, 2008 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Romantics who are not offended by details of Stalin's sex life or peeing.
Despite pink furry handcuffs, attempted anal sex, and golden showers, Adam Thirlwell describes his text as "prude."

And he is kind of right.

Adam Thirlwell is just as funny and at least as smart about sex as Dan Savage while being his complete intellectual opposite. While I lean ever-so-slightly toward the Savage side, Thirlwell has some worthy observations on relationships and on the sex.

I'd love to read a published transcribed conversation between these two. Someone please make that happen.
Nov 26, 2016 H rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, adult
This book was trying to be a witty, sex-themed Calvino novel (see: If on a Winter's Night a Traveler) but failed miserably on all fronts.

Oct 12, 2008 Marius rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanai
Kai pamačiau šią knygą pirmą kartą knygyne, pamaniau, kad reikia būtinai ją perskaityti. Nuo to laiko jau praėjo geri 3 ar daugiau metų... Perskaičiau... Įspūdžio didelio nepaliko... Eilinis romaniūkštis apie seksą... Kiek įdomesnio rašymo būdo, bet turinys tai prastas. Nerekomenduoju :)
Jan 24, 2014 Erika is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This book is like when you see a couple. The girl is extremely good looking (and doesn't know it) and the guy is beyond average it's painful. You curse yourself for bring so shallow, thinking who are you to judge them. They probably know a lot more than you.
May 17, 2015 Neri. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny and perversive. It will make you laugh and cringe all at once.
Yves Gounin
Nov 06, 2011 Yves Gounin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
J'ai détesté chaque page de ce livre
Au risque d'avoir l'air d'un vieux con haineux, son auteur m'a tout l'air d'un jeune con prétentieux
May 09, 2017 Wilbur1 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Uneven. At times exhilarating, funny and thoughtful. At others banal and tedious. I found the idiomatic speech ambitious but missed the mark somehow. Clearly a talented writer with lots of potential.
Lee Kofman
The idea of this novel is clever. Thirlwell draws a parallel between the dynamic of a romantic relationship of a couple-turned-threesome and political intrigues, particularly in the Soviet Union. But the execution isn't that great. The book seems to have a fairly trite message along the lines of ‘insecurities kill even the best relationships’ and 'it’s better not to be nice and try to please everyone if you want to be happy'. But then, we all know that well worn saying that the way to hell is pa ...more
Scott Gates
Jun 25, 2008 Scott Gates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seemed like it was going to be flat/uninspired early on but then worked itself up into something darn good. The obvious comparison is to Kundera, since Thirlwell is also an interventionist author and breaks up the story with little anecdotes (usually with historical personages and often in that breezy way of the Author Who Is Pleased with the Stuff He Knows). With Kundera this always bothered me--his advice on how you should see things, his often-tedious mini-essays (and all his lectures on the ...more
Mark Speed
I find it hard to believe that this debut novel received such praise. Could it be because they're written by the same small stratum of society as the author? It's the kind of pretentious novel that makes people outside London hate the London literati - particularly those from north London who then go on to Oxbridge. They can write of nothing but their own tiny north London world. The rest of us find it tedious. I could see the grotesque characters in Private Eye's Grim up North London cartoon lo ...more
Michael D
Not bad - but the main problem i had with this is that i didn't care enough about the three main characters and their hip London lifestyles. The character of Anna is easily the most rounded but the other two were slight i felt. Lots of sex and anecdotes about communist persecution of artists and writers - the bottom line being - sometimes its better to save yourself than make a grand noble gesture. This is Kundera-lite (who gets talked about quite a bit in the novel itself) but its passes a day ...more
May 07, 2011 Erik rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, literature
Adam Thirlwell werd begin 2003 opgenomen op Granta's lijst van beste jonge Britse auteurs onder de veertig. En dat is geen goed teken. Als Adam namelijk representatief is voor deze lijst en het Britse literaire schrijverschap in het algemeen, staat het triest gesteld met de toekomst van de Britse literatuur.

Lees meer op 8WEEKLY
Amos Martino
Apr 30, 2013 Amos Martino rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ci sono tante scene di sesso spinto. eppure non è un romanzo volgare. si parla d'amore, in fondo, ma non è un romanzo "erotico". si parla di sentimenti e se ne parla senza filtri letterarii. una scrittura decisamente nuda, schietta e dove occorre così familiare. perchè - come scrive l'autore - si tratta di un romanzo "universale". e come tale, destinato ad essere letto cercando frammenti di tutti noi.
Aug 28, 2013 Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written with a strong narrative voice and original structure, I quite enjoyed Adam Thirlwell's debut novel. It's greatest gift being that as much of the story goes on behind your own eyes as takes place upon his page.

If you asked me to sum this book up in one sentence I couldn't, which I consider to be high praise. This book is not without weaknesses though and I look forward reading his more recent work(s) to see if he fulfills his quite obvious potential.
Mar 19, 2011 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved how well this author got into the head of the 3 people in this relationship - all the complicated politics of a sexual relationship, even (especially?) when it's between people who love each other. The interesting 3rd person narrative in the first person just adds another interesting layer.
Jul 31, 2010 Dana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed to find the entire book filled with each sentence rarely more than 8 words. Stop. And he's no Dr. Seuss. I couldn't get through it. It's a shame to discover because I saw Mr. Thirlwell speak on France24 and thought I'd like his writing since I thought he seemed like such a clever, cheeky Brit (my fav). Maybe The Escape or shorts will prove more enjoyable.
Feb 18, 2007 Kitty-Wu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Libro original e innovador en la manera como está escrito; me ha resultadop muy fresco y atractivo. Provocativo sin ser grosero cuando habla de sexo (y habla mucho y muy explicitamente), y divertido y sincero la mayor parte del tiempo. Al final pierde un poco, pero en conjunto me ha parecido magnífico. Ah! Y me he enamorado del autor. :)
An Oxford graduate trying to be oh-so-clever resulted in the most inane, boring book I have ever read. The sex scenes were far from provocative and provoking; they were juvenile and childish and everything Thirlwell does seems like a poor, unsuccessful imitation of Kundera. So utterly pretentious. Shame is, he seems like quite a talented writer.
Yes, this novel is pretty graphic. Okay, it's very graphic. And even though the author insists it isn't about sex, but society and politics, trust me: it's about sex. Still, this young (very young!) writer has a fresh, engaging voice. He puts it to much better use in the short story, "The Cyrillic Alphabet" that appears at book's end.
Oct 07, 2010 Al rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't remember what caused me to want to take this book out of the library. Too bad, because I would like to be sure never in the future to read anything more recommended from the same source. This was just stupid. The only good part is that I didn't waste much time on it. Well, they can't all be good.
David Llewellyn
This is a book that has its moments. There is warmth and humour, and many wry observations from an ever present narrator.
But I can't help but think that there were too many times when Adam Thirlwell wanted to shock the reader rather than engage their attention. And like the protagonists in this menage a trois, I ended up feeling it should have been better.
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Adam Thirlwell was born in 1978 and grew up in North London. He is a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford and assistant editor of Areté magazine.

His first novel, 'Politics', a love story with digressions, was published in 2003, and his second book, 'Miss Herbert: A Book of Novels, Romances & Their Unknown Translators, Containing Ten Languages, Set on Four Continents & Accompanied by Maps, P
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“The problem with breaking up with someone, if you are a little unsure — and so often, people are unsure — is that breaking up involves persuasion. You have to persuade your ex that it is better this way for everyone. And this is difficult if you have not entirely persuaded yourself. It is especially tricky to do this if you are also naked, and making two cups of coffee.” 62 likes
“When a clandestine couple kisses, it is much more likely that sex will immediately follow. This is because there is much more risk. Once you have kissed secretly, it is very difficult not to have sex. It would be impolite not to have sex. You have to show that you are serious about each other.” 21 likes
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