karen's Reviews > Tony and Susan

Tony and Susan by Austin Wright
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this is the new big hoopla book - previously published in the early nineties, then out of print, then recently republished in england to much acclaim, now revived and reintroduced to america. an exhausting journey for one little book.

fortunately, it is interesting enough to withstand such rough treatment.there is a lot i liked about this book, even though had it been written these days, it would have needed a little updating. a well-placed cellphone would have changed the trajectory of the novel altogether. and i am not usually one to long for technology. but rrrrrr - cellphone, tony!!

this is one of those "check out my unconventional structure, yo" novels. its shape is the novel-within-the novel: susan has received the unpublished manuscript of her former husband, which relationship she ruined by cheating on him with her current husband. she reads portions of the novel and then steps back, ruminating on what she is reading, and rehashing all her old mistakes and trying to discern a hidden meaning in the novel; a message directed at her. it considers the impact of fiction upon the reader, the writer's place within his own narrative, the problematic situation of reading a novel by someone intimately known to the reader, and the process a reader goes through in adapting the experiences in the novel to their own lives in order to make sense of a character's motivations. so, it has a lot going on, and gives me the same little bookish shivers as some of my favorite books: Mr. Peanut, The Seducer, Magnetic Field, The Sea Came in at Midnight; the same snap of realization, and even though there are parts that i think are less well-written than those books, i still have to applaud the intention and the way it all unfolds. it is definitely a fun read.

fun, ha. yeah, the subject matter is not fun, though, it is a good example of discomfort writing. it is mostly about the consequences of hesitation and indecision, the glorious

i have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
and i have seen the eternal footman hold my coat, and snicker,
and in short, i was afraid.

situation.the looking at all the possible outcomes and realizing that in the thinking, the opportunity has been lost.

the manuscript susan is reading is about tony, a man whose life is ruined because he is a man slow to act; a thinker who is at the shallow end of the masculinity pool. a man who does not know what to do with violence when he is confronted with it, but will maybe have to eventually tap into that side of himself.

something like this, maybe:

and susan, reading the tony character's story, begins to question what her own life has meant, and where her decisions have led her, and wonders where, in the edward she knew, this novel has germinated.

it's good stuff. you will probably hate every single character, and want to slap them all around a little bit, but you might as well read it - there is hoopla about it, after all...
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Reading Progress

August 12, 2011 – Started Reading
August 12, 2011 – Shelved
August 14, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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karen hahahhaah soon there will be flashing commercials for it on this website here, and you will not be able to resist!

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Nice Prufrock! Excellent.

karen maybe sometime you can read to me in your t.s. eliot voice...

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I would try. The Minnesota will get in the way of the Fake British accent though.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Check this out! This man is from Missouri!


Of course, this may not work.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Bah. It didn't work. I have cluttered up your thread with broken links. :(

karen that's okay - i will just pretend. i am at work, after all, so i wouldn't have been able to hear it anyway.

Ambar Sahil Chatterjee Wow. Your assessment of the book was pitch perfect. I just finished the book and I pretty much agree with you.

karen yayyy!!! agreement!

message 10: by Buttoncounter (new)

Buttoncounter I can't believe "they" are making this into a movie. oh, wait. Hollywood. Yes, I can. your review is so good, though. It makes me want to read it anyway. so please don't review any horrible books, or I won't be able to look away from those trainwrecks.

karen uh-oh.

hang on, i gotta go delete a ton of reviews...

Eslam Khalil Where can i find an online pdf version of the book ?

karen i don't know - i'm not skilled in that. i just bought mine from the store.

message 14: by Christine (new)

Christine Intrigung review, Karen. May take a look.

karen thanks! now there is even more hoopla with the movie!

message 16: by Eli (new)

Eli Stafford I haven't read the book. I just watched Nocturnal Animals last night.... based on this book. The movie was good but felt like it was sorta missing something. So I had though it may had been based on a book.

karen i saw that trailer and i was like WANT TO SEE and then i found out it was based on this book and my ardor cooled somewhat. is it worth seeing?

message 18: by Leah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leah Chiming in late here but...

The movie's Tony has a cellphone ;) Tom Ford did a beautiful adaptation and I like his ending better than the book's.

Nocturnal Animals was one of my favorite movies of 2016. I didn't know it was based on a book until this year. And I loved the book too. They complement each other. Kinda like Rules of Attraction book and movie.

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