Tara's Reviews > The Convalescent

The Convalescent by Jessica Anthony
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's review
Jun 29, 2012

it was amazing
Recommended for: readers who've been exposed to the classics
Read from June 29 to July 11, 2012 — I own a copy

This is the most inventive novel by a female writer that I have ever read. Huge kudos to Anthony for breaking the mold on what a woman should write about. Here, we have the story of the Hungarian small person Rovar Pfliegman, an outcast that lives in a bus along a highway in Virgina, selling meat. Woven into his sad story is the sardonic history of the Pfliegman's, from just after the death of Christ. Add an unlikely attraction, the impending cresting of the river Rovar lives next to, the certain doom that hangs over him, a pet beetle? cockroach? and blade of grass, and the diverse voices of Darwin, Carly Simon, and Isaac Asimov in the background; if you are not completely frustrated with this novel, you will fall in love with it, as I did. Despite some rather Rabelaisian details, a Kafkaesque ending that seemed rushed, I still give this a 5. I don't know any other writer who could have pulled this all off. Still in awe...reminded me a bit of the character in Pam Erens's Understory, another brilliant (much shorter) novel.
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08/12/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Lisa Looking forward to seeing what you think of this strange book. I really enjoyed it.

Tara Strange indeed, but so far, LOVE it.

Lisa Tara wrote: "Strange indeed, but so far, LOVE it."

Ha ha - wait till you get to the end. I was very impressed with the way the whole thing unfolded and the book was so refreshingly different that I can't wait to read another of her novels. I also recommend Doghead as a weird read (see my list for the author) ...if you're looking for strange but exhilarating.

Tara OK, will try not to speed ahead now and keep savoring it :-).

Lisa Tara wrote: "OK, will try not to speed ahead now and keep savoring it :-)."

Yes that is an issue I have too. The book is so well written that you rush it through and miss the beauty of the prose. I really enjoyed The Sister Brothers recently but I got through it way too quickly and I think I did it an injustice. A good thing that came out of it though was I used his style and some of language in a story I wrote for my year sevens to encourage them to look more closely at characters and how their actions, words, dress and how people react to them can tell you, the reader, what sort of person they are. The kids loved it and I had to keep writing another chapter. In the end the children themselves wrote the last installment and many of them kept very closely to the western genre and even wrote the characters how I started them. Very useful learning and teaching experience...

Tara Done :-).

Lisa Tara wrote: "Done :-)."


Lisa Lisa wrote: "Tara wrote: "Done :-)."


haha...sorry I just read your review....glad you enjoyed it. I might check out The Understorey now.

Tara Yes, if you liked this book, you'll like Understory too. I tried to find Dogheads, but there are several books by that title. What is author?

message 10: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Tara wrote: "Yes, if you liked this book, you'll like Understory too. I tried to find Dogheads, but there are several books by that title. What is author?"

Morten Ramsland wrote Doghead and I read it in like 2 days. It is so well written, so funny, such a wonderful group of dysfunctional characters. Sadly he has only written one book but I awaiting another. I would also recommend the following books for their excellent prose and offbeat narratives:
Let the Great World Spin - Colum McCann
Waiting for the Evening News – Tim Gautreaux
The Last Novel – David Markson
Electric Michelangelo - Sarah Hall
Ransom – David Malouf
We, The Drowned – Carsten Jensen
The Painted Drum – Louise Erdrich
The Spectator Bird – Wallace Stegner
Supermarket – Satoshi Azuchi

message 11: by Tara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara Thanks, Lisa, I'm hopelessly behind in contemporary works. I think I also mentioned this to you before, but you should for sure check out your own contrywoman's book, Snake, by Kate Jennings.

message 12: by Sue (new)

Sue Tara--another interesting-sounding book to consider. Thanks.

Lisa--thanks for that list. I've added Tim Gautreaux' book of short stories. That sounds good. I think I already have the Erdrich and Stegner on my list and I'll be thinking about the others.

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