**spoiler alert** I fell in love with the different Archies and loved how Paul Auster brings the whole book back around, sprinkling the book with coin**spoiler alert** I fell in love with the different Archies and loved how Paul Auster brings the whole book back around, sprinkling the book with coincidences and trademarks of his other books (students at Columbia in the '60s, expanding of the gay crush one of the characters in Sunset Park had).
Adam Walker and Marco Fogg make appearances. Overall, this is a masterful work that outdoes everything Auster has done before in regard to length. I still have my personal favorites.
Auster turned 70 while I was in the middle of reading this book. He gave US the present of 4 3 2 1. Thank you. ...more
More like 2.5 stars. Her writing is clear, but sometimes when she's talking about cutting, I think it's overinventive. It would be interesting to knowMore like 2.5 stars. Her writing is clear, but sometimes when she's talking about cutting, I think it's overinventive. It would be interesting to know if she wrote from personal experience, but it seemed like she hadn't. There's a lot of sexual abuse that is dismissed rather casually. Also, the ending wrapped up rather quickly as opposed to the rest of the book that was rather indulgent. It took me awhile to read. My friend gave me this book and I didn't get around to reading it until, ironically, the day that Gone Girl opened in the theaters in the US. I thought people would think I was reading the book because I was obsessed with the author. Not the case. There were several things about the mother/daughter relationship that I identified with rather eerily (which is why my friend thought of giving the book to me in the first place, which was kind of sad). Anyway, I spent so much time with it. There are a couple twists and those were interesting. Sometimes I think Gillian Flynn tries too hard, but ultimately it is great to see her succeeding in a world with dwindling interest in new authors, and buying and reading new books....more
Read the synopsis years ago and was trying to remember which book this was when I stumbled on it today on book-on-tape and now I'm going to try to reaRead the synopsis years ago and was trying to remember which book this was when I stumbled on it today on book-on-tape and now I'm going to try to read all 8 million hours of it someday soon when I'm in the car. After I read Paul Auster's Winter Journal on book on tape.
A long book that could have had much shorter passages in some parts, it was indeed well-written. The ending was a bit abrupt. Reading about the lovesA long book that could have had much shorter passages in some parts, it was indeed well-written. The ending was a bit abrupt. Reading about the loves of this German Don Juan...Rosza, Diane, Zouzou and her mother was somewhat interesting.
I have been meaning to read Mann's The Magic Mountain. Perhaps I will do so someday. This book was a little bit of a chore to get through, yet Mann's mastery was evident....more
**spoiler alert** THEODORE is a narrative tale about the title character, his doting mother who believes her son is a genius, and a father who must pa**spoiler alert** THEODORE is a narrative tale about the title character, his doting mother who believes her son is a genius, and a father who must pay for his son's expensive tutors and frequent vacations.
The book starts when Theodore is an adolescent. He is disturbed by the death of his two pet hamsters and has night- and daymares of them for years to come. Since he excels in his studies, his attitude toward his younger female cousin and others is that he is superior and he treats most everyone poorly. His mother overlooks this, while retaining tight control on his every move.
The beauty of the book is its immersion into a Greek family. It's filled with explanations of the culture and language. Since the character, Theodore, is fluent in five languages, we also get a taste of his comparing words in different tongues and well as his preference for which language a particular work should be translated into. This approach explores the poetry behind the meanings and was very effective in keeping the reader's interest.
As Theodore grows up, his emotions seem to turn off. Whether it is because of his mother's grip, his father's absence, or the reoccurring horror of his hamsters' deaths, we aren't quite able to pinpoint the origin of his coldness.
Author Sofia Fasos reveals Greece's infestation of crime, as more Albanian immigrants infiltrate the country. Both Theodore and his father are victimized by Albanian criminals. His mother even takes advantage of this: she blames the Albanians for a theft when she realizes she is unable to pay the rent after being foolishly extravagant by giving money she did not have to ungrateful relatives. While I was unfamiliar with the extremity of the situation, I had met an Albanian from Greece while I was living in France. I did not think of this as a coincidence, but rather a confirmation of the situation. However, the Albanian I met was a good, honest person who was working in addition to going to school to learn French. Therefore, I could assume that it was possible that he moved from Greece to France to experience a better life free from prejudice or crime.
The next complexity that book explores is Theodore's sexuality. His first love is a girl with whom he is attached for over ten years. When something tragic happens to Theodore, she does not call and offer her condolences. When he calls to confront her, she dumps him. Assumedly, this is because his cash flow has run out and she has relied on him all this time for monetary purposes only. Theodore's whole life is thrown off track. When a deadbeat hits on him in a bar, Theodore thinks at first that he is crazy. Then he submits to his curiosity. The book is never clear whether Theodore is bi-sexual, curious, or is really gay. After his affair with the grungy man never really takes flight, his interest briefly turns to another beautiful girl.
Finally, he finds his soulmate in a former male teacher who had written his phone number on a copy of a book from over a decade before when Theodore was underage. The love is ill-fated due to his mother's opposing tenacity and homophobia. Their relationship is not approved by society as well. While Fasos never clearly states that homosexuals are still not accepted in Greece completely, that is the feeling one gets. Theodore and his lover are attacked by Albanians. Whether it is a simple theft/murder or a hate crime is not clear. Certainly the Albanians responsible for the crime are turned off by the men, who are lovers. Perhaps Fasos indirectly blames Theodore's mother for her son's death. After all, her name is Medea; she does not really care about anything save for her image. She wants the genius part of Theodore, but rejects his sexual preference. She wants to disown him, yet she is embarrassed by his absence and fears the neighbors will find out about their rift. She cannot accept him completely, but at the same time she is consumed by him.
While the book was interesting, there were a couple things which brought down the overall rating for me.
I had certain expectations after reading the synopsis. I thought the mother would take drastic action and perhaps be the one responsible for Theodore's demise. It also seemed like the mother's smothering behavior could cause Theodore to fly off the handle and start killing people one day. Neither of these things happened. It wasn't the author's fault that I projected some hasty conclusions after reading the teaser for the book.
Since it seemed to be a thriller, I was expecting a more psychoanalytic dissection of the killers; since we are introduced to them at the last minute, the focus is on Theodore, the victim. All his life, he has been trapped by his mother's constraints. Since both he and his father were murdered by Albanians on two separate occasions, it seems a little bit ridiculous. If every family of three were to have two of its members killed by Albanians, Greece would have an even more incredible problem than it already does. Perhaps the reason for this book would be the "what if?" factor of this very rare occurrence happening.
Also, I found some typos in the book. The first: "Her husband of thirty-two years was gone and his soul would be WONDERING the earth…" (page 175). The second: "…you LYE here and do nothing" (page 192). There were also a couple of unexplainable paragraph breaks right in the middle of the sentence. Perhaps the edition wasn't proofread properly or it was published hastily. The errors were temporarily distracting, but not serious enough to warrant serious complaints although I tend to expect more out of published material.
In conclusion, it was gratifying reading this book and to have been able to chose which book from Atropos Press to read [this was for a school assignment]. While I had hoped for slightly better from this novel, it was still an interesting look into a Greek family that was eye-opening. I shall look forward to additional books from Sofia Fasos. It seems like she has the ability to create a real masterpiece someday....more
12/30/11 It gets wild. I love the characterization of the main guy, even though he's so different from me. He's so emotionless, yet lovable. I wish all12/30/11 It gets wild. I love the characterization of the main guy, even though he's so different from me. He's so emotionless, yet lovable. I wish all psychopaths could be this lovable. Camus is brilliant! I want to read his other works someday. Love him!!
12/27/11 Medium pace so far. Loving it so much. It's all about Algeria!!!...more
Apparently, there was a movie version of this that came out in 2010, or perhaps that is just the copyrighted date. I saw the trailer on YouTube afterApparently, there was a movie version of this that came out in 2010, or perhaps that is just the copyrighted date. I saw the trailer on YouTube after reading about half of this book. It looked disappointing. Though I love Hemingway, this book was extraordinarily adult and juicy. Recommended if it sounds like this might appeal to you....more
"Going to another country doesn't make any difference. I've tried all that. You can't get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. Ther"Going to another country doesn't make any difference. I've tried all that. You can't get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There's nothing to that...This is a good town. Why don't you start living your life in Paris?" -Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
This book is great, then it veers and you're like, what? But knowing the history of Ernest Hemingway, I knew a couple things were going to happen before they did, because he infused his life story into the book. It's all about Paris. Being there right now, I just happened to go to a lot of places in the story. In fact, I was traveling in the Raspail area January 9th, and I just happened to read about him taking the same walk that very night. Total coincidence! Even though the "characters" had different names, I could tell it was about stuff that happened with Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, etc. because of A Moveable Feast.
By the end of the book, it was like who cares about these characters almost, but it was still pretty affecting, especially in the beginning of the book....more
Finished this. The ending was really stupid and disappointing. (Spoiler: Annie ended up being duplicitous. Thought she was a nice girl and she pulledFinished this. The ending was really stupid and disappointing. (Spoiler: Annie ended up being duplicitous. Thought she was a nice girl and she pulled something unthinkable) Things were left undefined and that's fine, but it was a crap ending....more
This may be one of the best books Auster has written. Extremely shocking, this book keeps the reader on its toes. This book didn't make me cry like some of his others, but at least it made me laugh!!!!...more
This book wasn't that amazing. I'd give it 2.5 stars out of five. But anyway, it was okay.
SPOILERS: In the movie, Merle was white and Phil Marlowe's loThis book wasn't that amazing. I'd give it 2.5 stars out of five. But anyway, it was okay.
SPOILERS: In the movie, Merle was white and Phil Marlowe's love interest. In the book, Merle was a negro housemaid who is returned to her family at the end. In the book, Leslie had a fiance. His mother blamed the fiance for taking the Brasher Doubloon. In the movie, Leslie has no fiance and acts very suspiciously from day one....more
First status update: 3/14 "Decided to read whichever Paul Auster book happened to be the first one I reached for. It happened to be thi243 pages total.
First status update: 3/14 "Decided to read whichever Paul Auster book happened to be the first one I reached for. It happened to be this one. Cried on page 39."
Rosa Leightman is 28 in the book. I still didn't know if I was going to be into the book so I thought about reading the book when I turned 28 (next year). But no, it got interesting. And the character Richard is 43. A guy named Richard that I dated is 43 this year. So that was a weird coincidence.
The Paper Palace reminded me of Moon Palace and Chang's initials reminded me of MS Fogg.
The guy who felt thoughts were strenuous reminded me of Mr. Vertigo.
The crash in the hotel happened two months before I was born.
I thought what if I died of cancer at age 37.
The book was reminding me of Man in the Dark at first and then I turned to see that the copyright date was recent, around 2003, and thought, oh no he writes like this now. But I am hoping it will be way better than Man in the Dark. So far it seems like it. If I am disappointed, I will have to imagine a different ending.
The guy who saw the future was cool. It was fitting that he committed suicide. - 3/15 - "Thoughts are real," he said. "Words are real. Everything human is real, and sometimes we know things before they happen, even if it we aren't aware of it. We live in the present, but the future is inside us at every moment."
Lastly before his "death", John Trause reminded me of the old man in Moon Palace because of all the arrangements that he made. ...more