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De telescoop van Schopenhauer

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  401 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Het is oorlog, het sneeuwt en het is ijskoud. Vrachtwagens met menselijke lading rijden af en aan. Een eenvoudige dorpsbakker graaft een gat, terwijl een leraar toekijkt. De leraar hoort de bakker uit. Wat weet hij over geschiedenis, wat over filosofie, en wat kan hij hem vertellen over liefde? De leraar lijkt de situatie onder controle te hebben als het graf verder wordt ...more
Paperback, 317 pages
Published September 2010 by Ailantus (first published 2003)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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Dec 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any thinking person
I loved this book, even though it seemed rather opaque at first. After all, how can one man digging a hole while another watches possibly prove to be more than an extended exercise in absurdism. Yet, this book reaches into moral and philosophical corners I could not have envisioned. A great deal of contemporary fiction is so predictable, but even when I could discern the character's path, I could not anticipate fully its import or heft. Take some time to savor it.

Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dit boek zal eindigen in mijn top 10 van dit jaar en zeker ook hoog scoren in mijn boeken top 100 allertijden. Indrukwekkend en uitstekend geschreven. Ik ga snel op zoek naar andere boeken van deze schrijver.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ein Nachmittag in einem Dorf irgendwo im winterlichen Europa. Ein Mann gräbt auf einem Feld ein großes Loch, ein anderer wacht über ihn. Der Schnee fällt, Soldaten marschieren vorbei, Lastwagen karren Dorfbewohner an den Waldrand. Während rings umher ein Bürgerkrieg tobt, beginnen die beiden Männer miteinander zu reden … Der aufsehenerregende Debütroman von Gerard Donovan erzählt von Gut und Böse, von Kälte und Gewalt und von den Abgründen, die sich seit Jahrhunderten zwischen den Menschen auftu ...more
Jun 06, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-booklist
I wanted to give this book a higher score - I felt like I should like it more than I actually did. It was well written, and there were some interesting changes in narrative, but I just wasn't that drawn in by it. I didn't find the philosophical exploration of what evil might be to be that well done. ...more
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
G. Donovan is my new discovery ! His writing is beautiful, intense and profound! Five huge huge stars!
Jan Koster
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
De telescoop van Schopenhauer is mijn kennismaking met Gerard Donovan. Een prachtig, indrukwekkend boek dat naarmate de tijd verstrijkt steeds beter lijkt te worden. Goede wijn moet ook rijpen.
Zie mijn recensie:
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Donovan's debut novel, long-listed for the Booker, is set in a field somewhere in Europe, on a wintry day during a war. One character, identified only as the Teacher, is watching the other character, the Baker, dig a hole the size of a mass grave - a Sisyphean task given the rate at which snow is falling. Over the course of the day, the two have a philosophical dialogue about genocide and war, the nature of evil and the reliability and usefulness of recorded history, and we learn a little more ...more
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una exhibición de absurdismo puro y duro. Tiene capítulos geniales con reflexiones muy interesantes, y capítulos que sobran completamente: aburridos y sin aporte a la novela. El título también me parece mejorable, aunque es lo de menos. Aún así le doy las 5 estrellas porque los capítulos buenos son muy buenos. El final es de lo más crudo que he leído, te hace sentir realmente lo que la guerra es. Novela en general infravalorada.
Jan 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Amateurish mess. I guess the main story is not that bad an idea (althogh a bit too movie-like), but the book just doesn't work; or else I don't get it. The dialogue is an incoherent mix of irrelevant trivia and the characters are so badly drawn they come across as schizophrenic.
I give it two stars because at least it is different, readable, and the chapters are short, which I liked.
Jul 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Story progression/development: 5
Characterization: 5
Conflict: 3.5
Conclusion: 4

Additional Thoughts:
I've never read a book more captivating than this one.
Told only through the two characters of the Baker and the Teacher, it captures the essence of war and its casualties and also the tolls it takes on two very different people who represent two very different outlooks on the value of human life.
I think what I found most striking is the fact that the entire story is centered around the digging of
Theresa Sjoquist
Schopenhauer's Telescope

Gerard Donovan (Scribner)

Schopenhauer's Telescope is Gerard Donovan's first novel. Best keep your own 'scope trained for more of this author's work because it is burgeoning with promise.

Schopenhauer's Telescope presents a conversation between two men. One is digging a large hole in the ground in the frozen Northern European ground. The other is watching him. The cold snow-laced wind intensifies as the afternoon wears on into dusk and the hole grows larger. We learn that
A long philosophical ramble, set somewhere in the former Yugoslavia I would guess, between two men, one digging what we assume is his own grave, the other a teacher. The suspense, such as it is, centers on who will die (almost everyone) and who will survive (surprising), but really the heart of this novel is its search for meaning in an interchange of ideas. The teacher and the baker (no actual names) talk about damned near everything. Schopenhauer's Telescope, by the way, views the present situ ...more
Tyler Jones
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book. Reading the other reviews has me sad that a large majority failed to see the two philosophies at work that were inherently built into the characters of the Teacher and the Baker. The narration jumps from the memories of the Baker and the real time interactions with the Teacher which I found refreshing. Upon reading the book again I found even more depth and meaning and I strongly recommend anyone who owns the book to enjoy a trip from cover to cover again.
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muy buena historia, te intriga desde inicios y con el pasar de las páginas se va desentrañando pequeños guiños de la macabra historia detrás de esos dos personajes y su larga charla.

Aunque siento que se me quedaron muchas cosas en el tintero, merece una segunda relectura para, ahora sabiendo lo que pasó, disfrutar mejor el enfrentamiento intelectual.
Aug 07, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: liked
This was a great book, and featured some of the most interesting dialogue I have ever read. It has been a year since I have read it, but I still think about it often. The Baker character is incredibly apathetic... like Capt Spock only hateful!
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating read. The nail biting back story is about two men in a field in the middle of an unnamed civil war - one digging a hole, the other watching. They begin to talk, and the conversation is in turns personal, in turn historical, and in most cases, philosophical. I was really interested in the back-story, and some of the philosophical turns were incredibly irritating, as they went on for too long. I skipped a lot of the book because of this, but nevertheless enjoyed it somewhat. The feel ...more
Juan Araizaga
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Simon Yorke
An interesting book of philosophical discussion using a generic story as its vehicle. Always a good way into researching figures such as Schopenhauer. Clear prose and clever ideas - worth the read.
Podcast bücherreich
Sehr philosophisch-abschweifend... grausam und zum Nachdenken, aber mir teilweise zu hoch 🤷🏼‍♀️
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didnt do anything for me at all.
Peter Weissman
Another promising book that fell apart before I was thr0ugh, or might have been through had I not given up on it.
Apr 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eerie but very good!
The author is clearly erudite and well read and finds a fascinating way to spin a yarn as well as some philosophy and history well-woven into the mix. It's a book that keeps you on your toes.

My favorite chapter is the one about 'holes' and now that I have finished the book I believe I will return to that one to read again.

Dec 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good. Maybe a bit long in the tooth as the author offers a series of ways to engage, seemingly based on different philosophical lines of inquiry. It turns into a bit of a intellectual dance, which was fun, but I soon tired of all the banter. This is the criticism of the 'teacher' in the book: he was constantly speaking because "silence is failure in the classroom." ...more
May 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing, it's a beautiful chilling and perpetually interesting story with an ending that is entirely satisfying. The plot is deep and often dark it is complex enough to maintain your fascination and yet simple enough not to lose you along the way. With no hesitation at all I wholeheartedly recommend this book. ...more
A novel based mainly on a duologue requires a great effort from the author to keep interested he reader. And although Gerard Donovan managed to keep me interested to read until the end, I admit that I skipped some parts which seemed superfluous. The twist at the end which explains why two men are in a snowy field digging a grave is quite good
Filip Pettersson
An interesting attempt to define what evil is and how to deal with it with out being morally corrupt. It also deals with Schopenhauers statement that the only way to judge actions is to look back trough time and trying to understand their impact.
A thought provoking book. The premise and the nature of the characters leads you to look past right and wrong. You start to consider what is ethical ? What makes a traitor a traitor? Is it wrong to betray others to preserve your own life?
David Scott
Jun 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was going to be a long philosophical take on war and the evil of men, but it was very easy to get into. Gerard Donovan's various methods of storytelling made it a very enjoyable read. ...more
Nick Van linden
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Een kunstwerkje! Een boek dat zwaar lijkt maar dit helemaal niet is . Er is veel lichtvoetigheid en humor die hand in hand gaan met ernst. Een opmerkelijk boek.
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Gerard Donovan is an acclaimed Irish-born novelist, photographer and poet currently living in Plymouth, England, working as a lecturer at the University of Plymouth.

Donovan attracted immediate critical acclaim with his debut novel Schopenhauer's Telescope, which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2003. His subsequent novels include Doctor Salt (2005), Julius Winsome (2006), and, most rece

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Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
100 likes · 17 comments
“The only test, Baker, is how not to erase ourselves from the map. Our history is that things don't last. Every generation creates the right monsters to destroy itself.” 6 likes
“I saw the patterns of history and thought that a human might be eighty per cent chemicals, eighteen per cent his past, and two per cent feeling, creatures of habit. Which makes psychiatrists really pharmacists who have to listen longer.” 1 likes
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