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Best of All Possible Worlds: A Novel

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4.68  ·  Rating details ·  19 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Gary Anderson's highly acclaimed, debut novel, "Animal Magnet," was voted among the "Best Books of the Decade" and "Best Literary Books of All Time" by Goodreads. Join him upon the high seas on a new epic journey with Jacques the Anabaptist in the satiric spirit of "Candide" by Voltaire. "Best of All Possible Worlds" begins with the return of Candide to find his beloved tu ...more
Paperback, First edition, 360 pages
Published May 12th 2012 by WordsworthGreenwich Press
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4.68  · 
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 ·  19 ratings  ·  7 reviews


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Mike Puma
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with a sense of humor
Shelves: 2012

When offered a chance to read Gary Anderson’s Best of All Possible Worlds, I’ll admit to having some cautious skepticism, something along the lines of: Tell me more (actually, exactly along that line). After checking out the synopsis, I realized that to do the book and the author any justice, it was going to require my rereading Candide—something I wasn’t exactly excited about doing. I accepted the opportunity and set about contriving excuses for my inevitable disappointment.

I dutifully reread

...more
s.penkevich
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Saints and sailors
Evil grows spontaneously within men. As with maggots that spontaneously appear in rancid meat, so does evil appear in the rotting souls of men. It is neither created nor destroyed, but it lives like a parasite moving from soul to soul.

Set sail with Gary Anderson as he navigates the corridors of the human heart across the familiar seas of Voltaire’s masterpiece Candide. Best of All Possible Worlds, the title of which is taken from the mantra of Voltaire’s Pangloss, an unflattering caricature of
...more
Richard
Review copy kindly provided by author and GR friend, Gary Anderson.

This novel is a sort of spinoff of Voltaire's Candide. Although the optimistic Candide and his mentor Dr. Pangloss figure in the cast, the book centers on the career of the beneficent
Anabaptist who aids them; here he is given the name Jakob Onderdonk. It also follows the fortunes of his brother, polar opposite and nemesis, Robrecht.

As a literary creation, this book is quite dazzling. The world created is convincing, painted in m
...more
David Lentz
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
“Best of All Possible Worlds" is a literary tour de force of real genius. The narrative voice is one of a kind: witty, shrewd, captivating, hilarious. Its satirical quality as well as the sheer power of the narrative style rival Voltaire in "Candide." Anderson’s brilliant imagination for his story line knows no bounds and signifies his indelible mark as a story teller. This ambitious epic genuinely is the best of all possible literary novels – read this masterpiece.
Robert Delikat
I thought that I would write to the author, for whom I have a high regard, a different review of his book than the one that I offer here. I then thought, if there were a difference in praise or disapproval, that would be tantamount to frank intellectual dishonesty. So, for better or worse, here are my thoughts to everyone.

Firstly, I liked this book because it is of the ilk that I almost always appreciate. I love irony, satire and even sarcasm. I read Candide in preparation for reading BoAPW. I
...more
Terry Bazes
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Reminiscent of John Barth’s Sotweed Factor – and equally accomplished, Gary Anderson’s Best of All Possible Worlds is a sustained comic delight. Masterful, outrageous, teeming with exotic incidents and characters, Anderson’s novel is a richly inventive elaboration of a small detail in Voltaire’s Candide. Candide’s chance encounter with a charitable Anabaptist blossoms, in Anderson’s novel, into the story of the pious Jakob Onderdonk and his family of 18th-century Dutch eccentrics. The two main ...more
Jacqueline Valencia
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Best Of All Possible Worlds is a unique delight to read. Written as a sort of sequel to “Candide,” Anderson recreates Voltaire’s narrative style, but with a conceptualist’s eye. He takes a small fragment from Candide and builds a rich story upon it that is full of comedic turns of phrase and an absurdity reminiscent of Alfred Jarry’s “Ubu Roi."

I continue to be impressed with Gary Anderson’s literary genius and I highly recommend Best Of All Possible Worlds to anyone looking for a critical and fr
...more
Gary
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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After taking an MA in Literature at the University of Victoria, I moved to Korea to work in educational publishing. I now live and work in NJ, with my wife and children.
“Not all was as it seemed, he realized in the simple rendering of a child’s comprehension. Not all was good and honorable in this world. And for young Robrecht, there was something thrilling in this simple fact. For him, it was as if on that morning long ago the colors of the sky and earth—the dirt road, the brick and plaster buildings, the gleaming sea—had suddenly become not just brighter and more vibrant but also richer—the deeper shades of a complex and multifarious world.” 2 likes
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