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The Lucky Star

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  33 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The National Book Award winning author returns to his original fictional territory--the lives of the dispossessed in San Francisco--with a parable about the limitations of desire and life at the margins of society

In such earlier works of fiction as The Rainbow Stories and The Royal Family, William T. Vollmann wrote memorably of characters living in the seamy underbelly of
Hardcover, 672 pages
Published February 18th 2020 by Viking
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
It is a telling detail that the prevalence of cash routinely caught my attention. I think there's a significance in such. Most of this dreamish novel of the tenderloin occurs in a pub frequented by marginalized women i.e. lesbians, transsexuals' and prostitutes. The cost of drinks and pills assumes an almost liturgical significance. It reflects upon my own experience of relative privilege. I never have cash unless I am going to a book sale. There's a aura of trust around my transactions. There's ...more
UPDATED 2.25.2020:

I have decided against commenting on this book much until more have read it. Yes, I have my perspectives. Yes, there is some greatness. Yes, there is some far from great. This is about all I'll say: were it simple, I wouldn't struggle with the legitimacy of my writing a review right now.

But the reason I abstain is that the book is so new. Who the fuck am I to sway anyone, however slightly, one way or the other when a novel has barely yet had a chance at readership? Like most of
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Jan 28, 2020 marked it as to-read
A Return to the Royal Family

Neva = the Queen of Whores
Richard = Henry Tyler
Judy = Irene (?)

"As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly."

Proverbs 26:11

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Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
how do i describe this sprawling story of the sordid and the sad in a little capsule? as we can expect from vollmann, no one can keep their happiness longer than the chemical half-life of it. the lesbian is maybe supposed to be jesus but she's more of the stranger in the strange land, a strange land that the author has visited before but maybe never with more focus. the story is all unhappiness, the characters all wounded and exposed, and it's still all quite beautiful.
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5
This is a Whitman's sampler of characters and their varying slow burn relationships with Neva, a magical Christ-like figure cursed/blessed with the power to dispense seemingly endless love. But this is delicious, vulgar, beautiful, sick Vollmann. One chump's polished turd is another's oxygenated jewelry. Some sulk in the moonlight as others bask in surplus sunlight bouncing off of a big space rock. However, all of us are users, abusers and addicts of love.
I walked away from this book with a
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is a hard one for me. I love the idea and intention behind this book as described by WTV in the afterward. But the execution of the novel was not my cup of tea. Others may disagree, but I just didnt get much out of this one. ...more
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the perhaps-uncustomarily brief Afterword appending his latest not-at-all-brief novelone of a number of them set primarily in San Franciscos Tenderloin districtWilliam T. Vollmann confesses that THE LUCKY STAR may be my most cynical book. Sexual abuse, street crime, poverty, illness, police violence and addiction saunter through its pages, dressed in the lurid livery of false consciousness. Perhaps you have yourself read some Vollmann and have some idea of how varieties of false consciousness ...more
Kent Winward
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
After finishing the novel, I was finding myself wishing the Afterword had come as a prologue since the title The Lesbian changed the story for me. This is a novel that grows on you.
David M
Feb 25, 2020 marked it as to-read
realizing it's been 20 years since the Royal Family was published... Vollmann already wrote the great novel of the Tenderloin, but he still can't resist going back for more whores?
Christopher Condit
Mar 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
Made it to page 66, at which point I collapsed from exhaustion and the tawdriness.
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
usually vollmann needs a little time to build up steam but here he's batting 100 right from page go, one of his best books
Alex Dimaio
Mar 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Vollman is one of our best living writers. I dont understand why he made this book so long. Much of its meat was repetitive throughout. Not disappointed but a little confused. ...more
David Sweet
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Mar 13, 2020
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Mar 04, 2020
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Mar 29, 2020
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Feb 29, 2020
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Mar 05, 2020
Jesse K
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Feb 22, 2020
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Feb 22, 2020
Dan James
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Mar 24, 2020
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Mar 25, 2020
Rhys Gwyther
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Mar 17, 2020
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William Tanner Vollmann is an American novelist, journalist, short story writer and essayist. He lives in Sacramento, California with his wife and daughter.

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