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Boxer, Beetle

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  2,052 ratings  ·  226 reviews
Action and misadventure in a novel about control that is fizzing with ideas.

Only people with the right genes and the wrong impulses will find its marriage of bold ideas and deplorable characters irresistible. It is a novel that engages the mind while satisfying those that crave the thrill of a chase.

There are riots and sex. There is love and murder. There is Darwinism and
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 5th 2010 by Sceptre (first published January 1st 2010)
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3.53  · 
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 ·  2,052 ratings  ·  226 reviews

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Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A poor unfortunate soul suffering from several unsavory though non-terminal maladies makes a meager living collecting and selling war memorabilia. One night he stumbles upon a murder scene, and an astonishing letter from one Adolph Hitler. This leads us to London in the thirties, and Philip Erskine, a Nazi sympathizer and entomologist, who has become obsessed with a short, nasty Jewish boxer, and this new movement for improving mankind known as eugenics.

What a strange book, peopled with odd, and
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: filthy people who love boxing
This book is dirty. I mean, Beauman's sentences are filled with words that make you feel scummy and grimy and all kinds of disgusting. Like you have to clean your ears out. That's a compliment. This book has things that interest me - WWII Nazi memorabilia collecting, science, boxing, crazy hijinks - and it's pretty damn good writing for Beauman's first time around.
Richard Derus
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.25* of five

Come have a look at my warble of joy about Beauman's first novel! I loved THE TELEPORTATION ACCIDENT (unlike the rest of the world, seemingly), so take that into account....
One of the great things about going to the library is that sometimes, completely by chance, you spot books you've previously read or heard about, added to a mental wishlist and then completely forgotten. This is exactly what happened with Boxer, Beetle. It caught my eye and I immediately recalled having heard something good about it on TV (I think on The Culture Show or something), and the rapturous reviews quoted all over the jacket helped me to decide to borrow it. But I probably wouldn't have ...more
Bülent Özgün

Hızlı okunan ilginç bir kitaptı. Güzel benzetmeler vardı. Komik bir üslupla yazılmış. Bazı kısımları birinci tekil şahıs bazıları ise üçüncü tekil şahıs anlatıcı ile anlatılmıştı. Çevirisi iyiydi. Aceleye getirilmiş bir sonu vardı diyebilirim ama zevkle okudum.

Güzel cümlelerin bazıları:

"..., Pock geri geri gidip ipin üzerinden yuvarlandı ve yoksul bir ülkeye giren kötü bir fikir gibi bahisçilerin üzerine düştü." (s. 14)

"Adamın boynunda üzerinde altı tane uzun, eğri büğrü kıl çıkan bir ben
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really 3.5

When I was about the same age as Ned Beauman was when he wrote this book, I read a lot of Vonnegut. I bring his up, not to compare Beaumann to Vonnegut, but to discuss how times have changed. Slaughterhouse Five (Vonnegut's take on the Dresden bombing) was a creative tour de force that, in my opinion, is still unparalleled. It had strong appeal to young radical minds of the times. Boxer, Beetle has that same appeal. But this would undoubtedly have been considered too offensive for any
Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Collectors
Recommended to Alan by: Subsequent work
I did it backward, coming at Boxer, Beetle after reading Ned Beauman's newer novel, The Teleportation Accident. This is a briefer and less polished work, not nearly as entertaining as its successor. But still, it has its appeal.

That's not due to its characters, though, who are almost without exception repellent individuals. Kevin Broom, the collector and reseller of Nazi memorabilia whom we meet first, actually turns out to be one of the less reprehensible members of Beauman's crew of dissolute
Dec 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I started off enjoying this novel as the first few chapters introduced a really strange and intriguing brew of lead characters.

In the present day, Fishy - a determined collector of Nazi memorabilia and so named for his medical condition that makes him smell of rotting fish. Then back in the 1930's, Sinner - a brutal, gay Jewish boxer who is but 4ft tall and has only nine toes. Then also in the 1930's, there is Erskine - an emotionally and sexually repressed upper class scientist who is an avid
Angus McKeogh
Aug 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
I just can't. I had such high hopes for this book. I was completely in after the first couple of chapters. However, the interesting storylines devolve into 6 page chapters and the boring storylines open up into longer chapters. I've read half and I just can't go further. It's just not that interesting.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a fun global cabal romp.
I read a couple Beauman's works in reverse chronology, which probably isn't the best way to approach this author. It's evident midway through Boxer that Beauman's ideas and prose are much sharper in his latter work, Glow.
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kniha je debutem spisovatele, který se narodil v Londýně a v současnosti žije v New Yorku a byla ve výběru na Guardian Best First Bok Award a Desmond Elliot Price. U nás kniha vyšla ve světové knihovně Odeonu.
— Děj knihy se odehrává ve dvou časových rovinách. Jedna (ta ze současnosti) nás zavede do podivného světa sběratelů relikvií Třetí říše a ta druhá nás zavede do časů, kdy byl nacismus teprve na počátku svého vzestupu a my se budeme pohybovat mezi jeho stoupenci z řad britské aristokracie i
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Morrissey's wet dream - East End boxers of the '30s, man on man action, Nazis, eugenics. IT'S ALL HERE STEPHEN. And it's written by a twenty six year old, which would usually put me off, but luckily I'd already read the most excellent first paragraph (see below) before I discovered this. You can tell that it's his first novel - just a few bits of over-writing here and there, and the self-conscious similes that litter sections of it. If only his editor had removed these or said something. I think ...more
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: genre-historical
When I'm browsing in a bookstore, I give a book approximately one paragraph to capture my interest before I move on. This book passed that test with flying colors.

In idle moments I sometimes like to close my eyes and imagine Joseph Goebbels' forty-third birthday party. I like to think that even in the busy autumn of 1940, Hitler might have found time to oragnise a surprise party for his close friend - pretending for weeks that the date had slipped his mind, deliberately ignoring the Propaganda M
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
A witty and accomplished first novel from a disgustingly young British author – I groaned when I saw he was born in 1985. Ultimately I thought he didn’t join the various elements of the plot expertly enough, such that the book really did have two separate fixations, as its title suggests.

Beauman attempts to bring things together through the main characters of Seth Roach (“Sinner”), a short, nine-toed Jewish boxer, and Philip Erskine, an entomologist and budding Nazi eugenicist who wishes to stud
Mar 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, europe
Eh. I guess reading the rave reviews & the initial dark humor/strange premise pulled me in, but the book did not sustain the pace, imo. So, it was ok overall but not quite what I had hoped for.

The initial tone of the story, the Mel Brooks-esqe style of telling horrible history with a wicked grin, a cheeky remark, and a blade between the ribs, pulled me in. But, the story got more somber (& a bit more brutal & more gross) as it moved along (no surprise, I suppose), but I found the en
Feb 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is a very strange novel. Entertaining and compelling, but strange. There's a gay Jewish boxer, a variety of incompetent fascists, and an obsessive collector of Nazi memorabilia. The pacing was a bit odd, sometimes rushing, sometimes languorously tangential, and the plot seemed to enjoy dancing around the line of being totally offensive. I also wouldn't recommend it to anyone with even a slight phobia of beetles. Nonetheless, I was diverted. Some more female characters would have been nice, ...more
Kitabın konusu oldukça ilginç. Yazar bahsettiği konularda iyi araştırmalar yapmış ve popüler kitaplara nazaran farklı bir konuya sahip olması da kitabın adının duyulması için yeterli olmuş. Hitler'in adının verildiği bir böcek, yahudi bir boksör. Kitap hakkında baktığım birkaç yerde gördüm ki yazar wikipedia'da dolaşırken Anophthalamus hitleri'yi ve Jim Hall'ı görmesi sonucunda bu kitabı yazmaya karar verdiğini belirtmiş. Hatta başta iki ayrı roman düşünürken sonra bu konuları birleştirmeye kara ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Although I am a fan of Ned Beauman's novels, I do acknowledge the fact that although his ideas and writing style are excellent, there are dull moments within his books. This is usually when his characters launch into monologues about a topic. I encountered this in his second novel, The Teleportation Accident and the same thing occurs in his debut novel Boxer, Beetle. However I have Glow at home and I pre-ordered his latest novel, Madness is better than Defeat. I know he has an amazing novel in
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Na prvotinu výborné. Vypěstěný brouk se svastikou na křídlech, sběratel náckovských propriet, židovský homosexuální boxer, prolínání časových rovin. Svěží a šťavnatý jazyk.
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
You can also find my review of Boxer, Beetle on my book blog.

"Boxer, Beetle" is a novel taking place in two different times: the present day, and the mid 1930s.

In the present day, our first person narrator is a Nazi memorablia collector and odd jobs man for a much richer collector. He's suffering from a genetic condition that makes him smell bad, so he lives most of his life on the internet, except, very little of that is in the novel: we join him as he finds himself tasked with resolving a myst
May 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you like Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and The Yiddish Policemen's Union) or Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction (see clip below) among others), you'll enjoy the debut novel by Ned Beauman, Boxer Beetle (available in the US in August 2011; available from the UK now). It is a fun, eccentric and well-executed novel with a wild cast of characters.

First, there is Kevin "Fishy" Broom, a modern day dealer in Nazi memorabilia, who suffers from from trimethylaminuria: a ra
Mar 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Beauman has a thorough command of the English language and a verbose vocabulary. Words do not make a good book; however, stories make good books. And when it comes down to it, the story in Boxer, Beetle is only remotely entertaining. Amidst sexual deviation and remotely connected subplots that made me think Beauman was poorly attempting to emulate Neal Stephenson, the story revolves around a Nazi memorabilia collector who lacks the financial ability to make a true impact or establish a financial ...more
Lukáš Palán
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: british
Boxera, brouka jsem si koupil před lety, jenže pak se moje tehdejší buchtička stěhovala z bytu, páč jsme se neshodli na tom, jak často hrát playstation a kolik mít dětí, takže jsem o knihu logicky přišel, protože buchtičky mají nezměrnou touhu odnášet z bytu víc věcí než kolik do něj přinesly. Zajímavý je, že vždycky vytrejdujou knížky za odličovací tampóny, který mi nechaj v koupelně. Teďka byl Boxer, brouk ve slevě tak velký, že by pro něj důchodci jeli až do Tanvaldu, takže jsem knihu opět za ...more
Trixie Fontaine
Entertaining & unique. I picked it up because the word "HILARIOUS" is on the cover. Plus I like boxing, AND I, too, spent time raising/breeding beetles (warning: that link is to a post about my beetles on my NOT WORK SAFE blog)!

I did LOL a few times at the beginning, but kept reading it for the story and characters and wanting it to just turn into Seth Roach Fucks The World With His Fingers In Its Butthole. I think I loved him the way Evelyn did.

The book feels incomplete to me without Kevin
Brent Legault
Mar 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
Like a certain reviewer from the Daily Mail, I too could "only gape" at this "new writing force." However, my gaping came about not from "admiration" but from plain old horror. And like another reviewer my "gob" was "smack[ed]," but not because it was "smutty," though it was smutty, verging on pornagraphic (and not good pornography, either; more like the stuff that people write for free), but because it was so damnably stupid. I haven't read something as bad as this in quite awhile: absurd (agai ...more
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Once again I am completely at a loss how to rate this book. A 2.5 maybe? I'm unclear as to the author's thesis and/or purpose, but it contains an odd mix of Nazi memorabilia, boxing, flesh eating beetles, and a fair amount of gay sex. It was not, as the cover blurb advertised, "hilarious." Or "gripping." I did, however, stick with it to the end because I could not for the life of me figure out where it was headed. At least it did eventually reach a conclusion. From here on out I faithfully promi ...more
Nov 29, 2010 rated it liked it

Better in concept than in actuality. Beauman writes wittily and well, and the mash-up of ideas--eugenics and sundry other pathologies physical, intellectual, and political; entomology, urban planning, language, boxing--is piquant, but as a whole the thing doesn't hold up. It reminds me a bit of Tom McCarthy's recent novel C: it's so busy with its own ideas that it forgets about structure and character. (And speaking of characters, the ones here run the gamut from unattractive to repellent.) are
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very clever and highly entertaining! I have much admiration for people who can weave together such seemingly disparate elements into a cohesive narrative with though-provoking characters and humor.
Kate Sherrod
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Nazis! Nazi memorabilia collectors! Boxers! Boxing promoters! Insects! Entomologists! Sufferers of trimethylaminuria! People who have to work with and smell them!The ecosystem of Ned Beauman's Boxer, Beetle is complicated and repulsive, but wound up not being quite as compelling as other reviewers have made it sound.

The novel intertwines two narratives and two timelines in the now-classic format of a historical narrative being chased down by a modern explorer. In the 21st century, we have a youn
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: english, literature
Neil Gaiman + Tom Stoppard + Marquis de Sade
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Goodreads Librari...: description in turkish 2 15 Jan 24, 2016 07:39PM  
a couple of questions about ending 1 28 May 21, 2011 02:41PM  

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“You are right that a man needs light like he needs bread, but a man needs a little
darkness, too, if only so that he can sleep, and dream.”
“That was how Sinner got his first taste of anything other than the froth on his father's ale. It made you grimace, but if you drank enough it felt like discovering an entire hidden room in your own house that you'd never even known about. You wanted to do more than poke your head through the doorway. You wanted to take its dimensions.” 3 likes
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