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3.43  ·  Rating details ·  388 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
This is the story of Ida, whose life consists mainly of resting, because she is always tired; of talking to herself; and of getting married, time after time.
Paperback, 154 pages
Published August 12th 1972 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1971)
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Jan 08, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ida Ida Ida Ida Ida. I like talking to myself, too. This kind of book gets tiring to read pretty fast. Fortunately, this book is very slim. I think of it as the sushi of the book world. With sushi, you don't really feel like you've eaten, but the idea and the aesthetic of it was a pleasant and somewhat transcendent experience. At the same time, you certainly don't want to eat it everyday.
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like repetitive phrases people who like people who like repetitve phrases
Shelves: formative-reads
I got through it. I read it at a time when I was feeling crazy and its verse calmed with predictable waves of ida ida ida over and over again. It's a short, quick and hypnotic read.
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels-novellas
Cubism, as defined by E. H. Gombrich in ART AND ILLUSION, is...

"the most radical attempt to stamp out ambiguity and to enforce one reading of the picture – that of a man-made construction, a coloured canvas." (pg 281)

In the case of painting, the ambiguity of a single perspective is opposed by presenting the subject from all possible perspectives.

In the case of writing, it would be superficial to suggest that a story told from multiple perspectives (as in the case of RASHOMON) it the literay eq
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: american-lit
Because of Stein's stylistic deviations, I'm lead to believe that when explaining a "truth", one must consider the articulation as importantly as the "truth" itself. Despite agreeing with this credo, since a truth, in a way, is simultaneously constructed and conveyed; in the way it is presented and thusly understood, I don't much like Stein's style. I can appreciate it for its purpose, but in separating the quality of the goal and the vehicle, I think even she can admit the possibility of her fa ...more
Oct 21, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Read this on Acid. Acid acid acid.
Amanda L
Simplistic, beautiful sentence structure. Reads like a long continuous poem rather than a novel. You could linger on a sentence to decipher an array of meanings due to the use of ambiguous words that can be construed to have dual meaning or behave as different parts of speech, depending on the context, of which she provides little and of which the reader is at will to create. Her sentences aren't punctuated properly and one often doesn't read into the next. This carries with it the task of const ...more
Jon Frankel
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gertrude Stein is, for me, the most difficult of the High Modernists to like. I have repeatedly failed to get through even a page of her longer works. Tender Buttons was OK, and I would like to give it a try again. But her first novel, Three Lives, I loved, unreservedly. Ida is interesting because it is more radical than Three Lives, more 'typical' of what I expect from Stein and yet it delighted me on every page. Does anything happen? Well, Ida is born, Ida gets married, she has husbands, and s ...more
Sam Lohmann
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Stein at her most fun, and it is a lot of fun. It's full of knockout sentences--"Nature is not natural, and that is natural enough" may be the one everyone remembers. There's a very subtle and persistent examination of marriage and family conventions, as well as amazing comic digressions on dogs, clouds, names, U.S. geography, upper-class social life of Washington, D.C., and a colloquy among "the things anybody has to worry about" (namely spiders, cuckoos, goldfish and dwarfs). Ida is also a qui ...more
Aug 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Alex
I read this over the course of a weekend and had a difficult time getting through it. I had read "Three Lives" and found it quite enjoyable, but this book was more of a challenge. I am not a fan of experimental prose.I was once told that this book is one long diagnosis of a mental illness, but did not come away from it thinking that. At time pretentious, at times just good escapism. I did not hate it but rather felt that I either was missing the point of the story or, maybe, there was no story t ...more
Sarah Hollars
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
It was honestly rather difficult to make it to the end of this book. It is set up as a long poem, but the logic of the poem is intense leaving the moments to feel like polished little pebbles beautifully unique to the point of sameness. The reader bumps along the bottom of a surrealist river of words never quite catching on anything and constantly repeating something over or dodging to a new reality that is quickly usurped by the next. It is a good book and must have been quite strange when it w ...more
Dec 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read it as I also read Stacey Levine's My Horse, a good choice because Ida was less of a spiral into a tale. Levine seems to be influenced by the complex, puzzle-like sentence style.
Nov 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a little joy. I should read this again when I'm 50.
Michelle Lemaster
Jan 09, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crazy people!
Recommended to Michelle by: Took this in a woman's Lit class
Shelves: woman-s-interest
There doesn't seem to be a strong enough rating for me on this one. I truly HATED this experimental, modernist text. I decided it looked like there wasn't a book in this world I didn't like, but, truth be told, there are plenty! I'm just more apt to add the books I loved. In Ida, Stein experiments with language and stream of consciousness in very inventive (nonsensical!) ways. Maybe all these years later I should give it another try. But the very thought of it warps the mind!

Okay... I'm going to
Nov 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok... what a weird book. It was hard to figure out what some of the sentences meant, as their construction is all wonky. (Poetic, one might say?) I couldn't figure out what this book was trying to say. On the first couple pages I thought it might be a book about someone who was a twin, but who was always referred to/treated as one person. But then it wasn't. Then I thought, maybe this is a book about someone with a mental illness? But by the end of the book, there was no conclusion. No hint as t ...more
Mar 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Some say Gertrude Stein's writing can be like cubism but "Ida" feels more like Art Brut to me. With its simple vocabulary and loopy recounting of one beautiful woman's life --from her birth to her final rest (with plenty of resting in between), this novella feels slightly insane, slightly all-knowing. Maybe it's just plain slight. And yet it's impossible to dismiss outright because it so often strikes chords that have the ring of truth, the sound of the undeniable. I can't recommend it and yet I ...more
Aug 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
Normally, when I have read a book I have not particularly enjoyed by a famous author, I give it at least two stars by default, but I can't give this on anymore than one star, I'm sorry. None of it made any sense. There was so story-line or plot. It's as if the book had serious case of OCD. Then the hundreds of time I had to read the name "Ida". This book is annoying and senseless. The worst novel I've read in a long time.
Jul 26, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this, but it was right horrible and I could not. So there. At least it was short.

I am interested in Stein's works, still, and have plans to read more. I think this was more of an intellectual experiment than a novel, an aberration in the corpus. May take me a bi to get back to her, though.

May 30, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know, maybe I didn't "get it." It was a seriously struggle trying to finish this book. It was a quick read, perhaps I should have slowed down a bit. Did not make me want to read more Stein... though perhaps the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas could be worthwhile.
Jul 09, 2007 rated it it was ok
I think I got Getrude Stein and Gloria Steinem mixed up. This lady is the one who said "a rose is a rose is a rose" and while that is a good quote, it does not make for a good book that is written entirely in that style. I didn't get it and I didn't like it.
Neil Bomberg
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A knockout . . . beautifully written, amazingly told, this story of a woman lost in her own very limited world stunned me for its language, its simplicity, and ultimately its modern character. I highly recommend it.
Wow! I feel crazy after reading this book. Stein definitely, made the story believable when she allowed the protagonist to tell the story. 3 stars
Carol Peters
Loved the beginning & became totally bogged down in the middle, gave up.
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What a bizarre little book. Is there any more to say? Im afraid thats about it. It was different. Hypnotic. And yes, yes, yes it was really bizarre. ...more
Some might criticize Gertrude Stein for her repetition and lack of imagery, but I enjoyed it. There is something real in her language and I felt I could relate to the paradoxes and life of Ida.
Conceptually I appreciated the book...but really had to make an effort to finish it...and afterwards felt that I would have the same opinion if I'd stopped halfway through
Oliver St john
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ida was a trip!
Sep 10, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
....what the freak did I just read?....
Oct 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really going to have to try it again in five years, then I'll let you know...
Nov 08, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa
Täysin yli ymmärrykseni mennyt opus. Ei hajuakaan, mistä kertoi tai oli tarkoitus kertoa. Jäljellä on ärtymys ja päätös olla enää toiste tarttumatta tämän matamin teoksiin.
To me this book read like a series of dreams. I began to interpret the narrative according to my life experiences. I couldn't finish it.
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Gertrude Stein was an American writer who spent most of her life in France, and who became a catalyst in the development of modern art and literature. Her life was marked by two primary relationships, the first with her brother Leo Stein, from 1874-1914, and the second with Alice B. Toklas, from 1907 until Stein's death in 1946. Stein shared her salon at 27 rue de Fleurus, Paris, first with Leo an ...more
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