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Una cuestión de vida o muerte o algo así
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Una cuestión de vida o muerte o algo así

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3.43  ·  Rating details ·  143 ratings  ·  23 reviews
A pesar de tener sólo diez años, Arthur Williams sabe un montón de cosas. Lo sabe todo sobre los trilobites, y que no quiere ser el novio de Victoria Brown, y que al tocar los arces se les provoca un dolor insoportable. También sabe que su verdadero padre está probablemente sobrevolando el Pacífico en un globo aerostático o pavimentando una ciudad con musgo. Y sabe que Sim ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published January 15th 2013 by Espasa (first published February 24th 2012)
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3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  143 ratings  ·  23 reviews


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Nicole Lundrigan
Incredibly touching, bursting with emotion, and chock full of profundity. Several times I had to stop reading, and just be still for a moment. Such a simple and beautiful story. I won't forget Arthur for a long time, if ever.
Wendy
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this a little long. I skimmed over a lot of parts. Good premise though...
Aaron (Typographical Era)
We’re often told that there are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth. In the case of debut novelist Ben Stephenson’s A Matter of Life and Death or Something these three sides are voiced respectively by a precocious ten year-old boy named Arthur Williams, the journal entries of a man known only as Phil, and a forest full of trees that with seemingly endless time on their hands have become masters of impartial observation.

Arthur is a young soul that is wise beyond his years in ma
...more
Ali
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An impressive debut from a young author. Told from three perspectives, this story of growing up and innocence lost has as one of its main characters the extremely endearing Arthur Williams. A 10-year-old boy gifted with both an active imagination and profound logic, Arthur holds the weight of the world on his slight shoulders. When he discovers the abandoned notebook of a young man named Phil, he's confronted on page 43 with information he isn't quite sure he can handle. The reader is allowed to ...more
Lori Bamber
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tender, gripping and wildly imaginative, this book is David Foster Wallace-level brilliant.

To the Quill and Quire writer who reviewed it, I just have to say: Please do some research on clinical depression. First, "disturbed" is an extremely simplistic and derogatory term with which to describe someone who is clinically depressed, and secondly, there is no valid evidence whatsoever that people who are clinically depressed don't experience "moments of crystalline lucidity."

Based on the promise s
...more
Laura
Not quite what I was expecting. The description of this book put me in mind of "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close", which I loved, so perhaps I went into this one with unrealistic expectations. I kept compaing Arthur to Oscar from "Extremely Loud" and found that I didn't enjoy Arthur nearly as much.

I found the excerpts from Phil's journal to be very difficult to read and/or follow, which maybe was the point overall. Ultimately I found Phil's contributions a tough slog, not very enjoyable.

I d
...more
Davytron
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cdn
What a lovely novel - it's about an adopted ten year old boy named Arthur on a quest to find the owner of a notebook he finds on the beach.

I think the author did a wonderful job in capturing the ten year old mentality, especially how Arthur used vocabulary incorrectly at times. Arthur is just so ridiculously cute in his attempts at understanding life and the universe. Such a topic is a bit deep for a youngster so you might be able to guess that the book gets heart wrenching at times. I was sobb
...more
Ann Douglas
Wonderfully quirky. I don't imagine I'll ever read another novel that features trees as characters. (That's just a minor subplot in the book, but it's an indication of the author's creative and unconventional take on novel-writing.) Definitely one to pick up if you're intrigued by what's possible in a novel. Not everything this author attempts works brilliantly, but I admire his writerly courage in attempting bold and unusual things.
Joshua
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really fast read. It's an intriguing mystery written from three perspectives: a 10 year-old boy, the woods behind his house (this is better done than it first sounds), and the diary of a sad man named Phil. The boy finds the diary and discovers the tragedy of Phil. He then takes it upon himself to discover who Phil was and what happened to him. It's a first-rate debut novel.
Blair
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was like rolling out of bed, looking out the window, and capturing that perfect moment when the world looks beautiful. It was an utter joy to experience this book.
Charlene
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. It's well written and the prose is beautiful. Also it's a Canadian author which is always a plus for me. It follows the life of ten year old Arthur Williams as he struggles to make sense of life, deals with the lack of informations regarding his birth parents, and then finds a journal that ends suddenly in such a manner that any reader would be led to believe the writer is no longer living.
Much of the content follows along on his investigation to learn more about the mysterio
...more
Beatrix
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was looking forward to reading this book as I like stories that are presented through different perspectives. Ben Stephenson writes through the eyes of Arthur, a 10-year old boy who finds a diary in the woods. We then get to read the diary of Phil, who’s an adult man. Add to that, most surprisingly, a few chapters written through the perspective of the trees in the wood. These perspectives alternate throughout the book to help Arthur investigate the questions of his life and the mystery behind ...more
Melinda Worfolk
It reminded me a bit of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. I loved the parts narrated by Arthur, a precocious 10 year old who spends lots of time wandering in the woods near his home; one day he finds a journal in the forest and after he reads it, sets out to find the person who wrote it.

Arthur's narrative (which features lovely little line drawings illustrating his extensive fantasy and dream life) is broken up by sections narrated by the trees in the forest (yes, that sounds we
...more
Adrienne
The book is told from the point of view of 10-year-old Arthur Williams, who finds a journal in the woods and begins an investigation of the neighbourhood in an attempt to find out who its author (Phil) was, what happened to him, and how the book came to be in the woods. Along the way, he struggles with his relationship with his (adopted) dad Simon; Simon's budding love interest, Maureen; and the interests of his friend Victoria, who wants him to be her boyfriend.

The book is well-written from the
...more
Sub_zero
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reto-2013
Esta novela me produce sentimientos encontrados, tanto que no tengo ni idea de si la historia me ha gustado o de si he entendido bien el mensaje que pretendía transmitir el autor. Estamos ante una obra deliciosamente narrada, original, apasionada, delirante y por momentos, desgarradora. Sobre las páginas de la novela flotan multitud de ideas bastantes buenas por separado pero que no llegan a cuajar de manera conjunta. Es brillante. O espantosa. O algo así.
Athena
Jan 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting, yet mildly depressing read. I found it slightly underwhelming in the sense that I felt the author was building towards some great climax, but fell a bit short. A few questions and loose ends were left hanging. Overall, it was a very enjoyable read. It is written from the first person perspective (that of 10 year old Arthur); the style is reminiscent of Emma Donaghue's Room. Interesting idea and easy to read.
Tamara Taylor
Meh. I really wanted to love this book but it was a little too "Debbie downer" for me. The story didn't pull me in and compel me to read more. Getting through it felt a lot like work. I loved Arthur's voice as the protagonist. Otherwise, meh.
Jen Gauthier
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough (full disclosure, I work with the publisher) to read an advance readers copy of this book and I absolutely fell in love. The main character, Arthur, is a charmer, and his world view will make you laugh, cry, and transport you back to childhood (in a good way).
Kaleigh
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
An interesting book - not a lot happens outside the main character's mind and that's difficult to do, and I think this was very well done. It's enormously engaging, subtly life affirming, and actually, just a lovely piece of fiction. I'm happy to have picked this up.
Linda
Hard to get into initially..was confused with the 3 different persons..interesting for a first book.
Austen Black
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Funny and charming and thoughtful and all-around-wonderful! This is a special book indeed.
Mark
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Oct 28, 2013
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Ben Stephenson is the author of the novel A Matter of Life and Death or Something (Douglas & McIntyre, 2012). It prompted CBC Books to name him one of ten "Canadian Writers to Watch."

His work has appeared in The Puritan, EVENT, Joyland, King Skateboard Magazine, Best Canadian Stories, and other places. He participated in writing residencies at the Tatamagouche Centre and the Banff Centre. His
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“I was every stack of books, forever shifting and pounding and being pushed and rearranged but remaining essentially the same; I was every book in every stack.” 1 likes
“The trees are a thousand times taller than me, and hundreds of years older, and the rocks and leaves and plants and animals never do anything silly like kill each other or fall in love or grow up.” 1 likes
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