Stephen's Reviews > Leaving the Atocha Station

Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
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's review
Nov 25, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary-fiction
Recommended to Stephen by: erin edmison
Read from November 17 to 25, 2011 , read count: 1

I was initially skeptical, fearing this just might be the story of a Sad Young Literary Man in Spain, but genuine questions and insights, manic humor and surprising images quickly rise up through the presumptive superficiality of our antihero, and soon I was convinced that while Mr. Gessen is a fine journalist, Ben Lerner is a real artist. If the wonderful conceit of how Adam hears Spanish—"I formed several possible stories out of her speech, formed them at once, so it was less like I failed to understand than that I understood in chords, understood in a plurality of worlds"—eventually becomes slightly formulaic, and the ending seems a tad too earnest after so much relentless irony, this thing is thrillingly full of good ideas, most of them in the language itself rather than merely topics of discussion, certainly enough to make me hope this poet has another novel in him.

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