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Savage Theories
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2018 TOB Shortlist Books > Savage Theories

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message 1: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments so let's talk about it....


message 2: by Sara G (new) - added it

Sara G Another book that initially really appealed to me that I ended up not finishing. The ToB is really going to make me work for it this year.


message 3: by Margot (last edited Jan 06, 2018 10:17AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Margot (goodreadscommerelybookish) | 11 comments I just tried to read this and gave up. I usually like weird books and I think I'm fairly intelligent -- but I could NOT figure out what was going on in this book. A lot of overblown academic language - which maybe the book was trying to parody? And an intense focus on sex and unattractiveness that made me cringe. (When someone describes anal sex as "a new Neverland within the border of her backside" I'm pretty much done.) I didn't care about anything, so I bailed around chapter 6. Not for me.

But if someone reads it and gets it, I'd love to hear what it's about!


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you for the quote, Margot! I wasn't planning to read this one, and you just confirmed that I made the right decision.


message 5: by Rosie (new) - added it

Rosie Morley (rosiemorley) | 40 comments I just bailed on this one after giving it a shot on the weekend. Tough read!


Gwendolyn | 186 comments I’m slogging through this one too. It was the first to come up on my library hold list, and now I know why. I’m on page 90, so about one-third through. I’ll keep going just because I’m compulsive like that, but I’m really pretty lost in the book. I think I generally understand who the main characters are, but I can’t say I understand much beyond that. I’m generally up for tackling “hard” books, and some of my favorites are considered challenging, but this is a whole new level of hard. The language is very difficult to parse, and it’s loaded with cultural references I’m missing. I wish I could understand this better...


message 7: by Beverly (new) - added it

Beverly | 299 comments Count me in on the bail list.

At page 79 - I just shook my head and put it down!


message 8: by lark (last edited Jan 08, 2018 09:10PM) (new) - added it

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments wait has no one read this book to the end?


message 9: by Roxy (new)

Roxy Reno | 4 comments I knocked it out this summer, I remember it being "out there" but I'm tenacious to a fault. What I took away from it was that the weirdness was worth it. I remember liking it way more at the end than the beginning, or middle for that matter.


Isabella Kratynski | 3 comments I read it last February for book club. I was very intimidated by it, but finally gave myself over it. Frankly, I don't remember much about it, but like Roxy, I felt it was worth it in the end. Edgy and frenetic.

I felt that more background on the Dirty War would've helped me appreciate this better. But I am looking forward to revisiting this book during the tournament.

There's an essay "Satire as Hacking" by the author here: http://melpomenemag.blogspot.ca/2010/...
-- which may provide some insight into what she's trying to accomplish.


Kristin-Leigh (okrysmastree) | 58 comments I finished it and also wish I had more context on the history - I got the sense that there were a lot of references going over my head, and a lot of the 5 star reviews I've seen for it discuss how aptly it captured the effects of the Dirty War on the next generation. it was definitely an interesting read, though I'm looking forward into diving into something else next.


message 12: by Susanw (new)

Susanw | 21 comments Thank you all. I will now not be read the entire short list. I don’t have the time or wear with all to read another book I don’t get or have to struggle through.


Gwendolyn | 186 comments Finally finished this one. I can’t say I enjoyed any part of it. In fact, it was a fairly miserable reading experience from start to finish for me. I can say that I respect the book...its density, its unique voice, its willingness to challenge conventions. I’m glad the book exists, and it probably did me some good to read it, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.


message 14: by Michelle (last edited Jan 14, 2018 09:45AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Michelle | 155 comments Just finished this one. I have to say that there is alot to this book. Satire, philosophy, anthropology, history and all things academic. There is alot of depth and nuance. Many of the sentences take on multiple meanings. If you can get the puns it is at times humorous. But at certain points this book was above my head. Oloixirac has obviously put in alot of work here and it shows. This is a solid debut. For someone who is familiar with the Dirty War or can read this in its native tongue this book would easily fetch a 5 star rating.


message 15: by becka (new) - rated it 1 star

becka | 6 comments Gwendolyn wrote: "Finally finished this one. I can’t say I enjoyed any part of it. In fact, it was a fairly miserable reading experience from start to finish for me. I can say that I respect the book...its density, ..."

Ditto this.

My favorite parts of the audiobook were the sections in Spanish. Not because I speak Spanish -- but because it sounded cool and I had no less of an idea of what exactly was happening.


Michelle | 155 comments Just finished my review for this book. For anyone who is interested the link is here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 17: by Jan (new)

Jan (janrowell) | 1099 comments Thanks, Michelle!! I’m taking a pass on reading this one, so I’m especially happy to have your review (and others here) to help me follow along when the official judgments and discussions get rolling.


message 18: by Eric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric | 90 comments I'm 40 pages in. Very geeky. Reminds me of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz in the way it embraces geekiness, and The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño in the way it throws out cultural references nonstop.


message 19: by Eric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric | 90 comments At page 50, I can't decide whether this is a pseudo-intellectual novel or a novel about pseudo-intellectuals.


message 20: by Eric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric | 90 comments I'm about 3/4 of the way through it. This is a real highbrow head trip. I'm reminded of the Beat writers, Philip K. Dick, Hunter S. Thompson, maybe a bit of Henry Miller in there.

I've never jumped full bore into the TOB before, but I sort of always assumed the contest was among exemplars of the traditional novel. I didn't expect anything so wacky, cerebral, and experimental--so "cult", if you will, to be part of it.

Anybody know how to pronounce Oloixarac? She's definitely headed for "cult writer" status.


message 21: by Eric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric | 90 comments On alcohol and drugs killing brain cells:

"Don't worry about it. The only neurons that die are the ones that got left behind, the stupidest ones. Drugs are natural selection's neuro-chemical means of determining the fastest and fittest members of the cerebral ecosystem."


message 22: by Michelle (last edited Jan 24, 2018 06:32AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Michelle | 155 comments Eric wrote: "On alcohol and drugs killing brain cells:

"Don't worry about it. The only neurons that die are the ones that got left behind, the stupidest ones. Drugs are natural selection's neuro-chemical means..."



I remember laughing out loud when I read this. In the midst of all that heavy content there are certainly moments of humor.


message 23: by Eric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric | 90 comments On cops and criminals:

"Did you know that police officers and thieves tend to come from the same social class, and have exactly the same disdain for anyone who got the education they never received?"

I'm a criminal defense attorney, and man, is this ever true! I thought about sharing this quote on Facebook, but given that I have many Facebook friends who are in law enforcement, I wisely decided not to.


Rachel | 123 comments This is one of the books I randomly picked off the longlist. At the time, I even posted that there would be no way this book makes it to the shortlist because it requires a good understanding of the historical events in Argentina, which I basically had no prior knowledge of, and it leans heavily on humor, which rarely translates well. I felt like I was missing things the entire time I read it. I was getting Slavoj Žižek vibes with the crude yet highbrow academia thoughts of the characters.

In the original language, I would guess this would be great, but it is not accessible to the typical TOB crowd.


message 25: by Eric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric | 90 comments Here's what I thought. Possible SPOILER WARNING!

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 463 comments Ok, I know the GR recommendations are utterly random, but GR just told me that because I'm currently reading Savage Theories, I'd probably like the Betsy-Tacy books. Has anyone read them? Do Betsy and Tacy engage in joyless orgies or intellectualize rape attempts?


Ruthiella | 366 comments Anybody know how to pronounce Oloixarac? She's definitely headed for "cult writer" status..."

I think it is pronounced "Oh-Loy-Zerak".


Ruthiella | 366 comments Alison wrote: "Ok, I know the GR recommendations are utterly random, but GR just told me that because I'm currently reading Savage Theories, I'd probably like the Betsy-Tacy books. Has anyone read them? Do Betsy ..."

LOL, Goodreads is always pushing Betsy-Tacy on me too. Surely these books are out of copyright, so where's the money in it for Amazon? I wish I had read them as a child because they sound great. I am pretty sure I would have loved them.


Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 463 comments Well, I've now read Savage Theories. Every so often I read a book well above my capabilities and this is definitely one of them. I liked the final chapters more than the beginning ones and had I more time and inclination, I'd turn around and start reading again.

As a whole, I have no idea what to think. But there were aspects I liked or could at least see that Oloixarac was doing something interesting. And there were a few things that repelled me.

On the plus side, the poking of fun at various schools of philosophy and sociology was fun. The way Marxist epistemology took over everything was humorous, and Part II (all 18 pages of it!) was great. I also liked the way that Oloixarac's writing often aped the self-conscious over-intricate style of some academic and professional writing, and other times chose to be direct.

I liked the story of the woman (Rosa) stalking her professor a lot more than the story of K and Pabst. I liked it a lot less after that one event, but I still enjoyed reading Rosa's narration, and how it slowly became creepy. I guess the story of Pabst and K had some interesting things in it - the description of the Christian computer games was hilarious. And I guess the fixation on the physical attractiveness of everyone was to show that they were even more shallow than the average teenager, for all their philosophic pretentions? I don't know. And off-putting sex in novels can serve a purpose, but I'm uncomfortable with the gang rape of an unconscious woman being played for laughs, and then again when the tape of it goes viral and theres all that nudge, nudge, wink, wink stuff about how funny it is that she's now a porn star, given that she's a "chubster."

My misgivings overwhelm the things I did like. I'm looking forward finding out what the judge, the color commentary and the commentariat think of this one.


message 30: by Eric (last edited Feb 02, 2018 10:45AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric | 90 comments Yeah, the whole thing that one must become first prey, to then become a predator...and basically submitting to rape to accomplish that, is creepy.

I got the impression Rosa was roofied by Colazzo in their first encounter. She drank the whiskey he offered, then blacked out.


Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 463 comments Eric wrote: "Yeah, the whole thing that one must become first prey, to then become a predator...and basically submitting to rape to accomplish that, is creepy.

I got the impression Rosa was roofied by Colazzo ..."


That entire evening was so messed up. Rosa is such a deluded narrator, or maybe she's just unreliable, but the way she interprets everything was interesting.


message 32: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin Glover (erinxglover) | 101 comments Kudos to those of you who finished. At 20%, I decided it was not for me, and moved on. I have two left on the TOB short list, Dear Cyborgs and the Eddy one. I wonder if Savage Theories will be the only one I did not finish? I'm 40% of the way into Dear Cyborgs so most likely Savage Theories will take home the prize. Whatever I was supposed to get out of it, I don't care. Not worth it. If you want me to read your novel, at least make it accessible to someone with seven years of higher education who speaks Spanish.


message 33: by Ellen (new)

Ellen H | 782 comments Well. First, I was pretty sure I'd checked all the books on the list to see if they all were owned by one or the other of my library systems, but apparently I wasn't as thorough as I should have been regarding the play-in books. Second, I decided to not even worry about the play-in books until I'd read all the other 15. So today, realizing that by the end of this week I most probably will have completed all 15, I went to reserve the three play-in books, and what do I find? Neither library has this book, and it would take 6-8 weeks to get it via interlibrary loan. So I'm going to hope -- probably in vain -- that it doesn't win the play-in. If it does, I'll have to bite the bullet and order it on Kindle and read it quickly.

So, damn.


message 34: by Ryan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ryan Fields | 77 comments I just finished it today and, barring some über-quirkiness in the judging, would put my money on one of the other two. However, they’re all different, so what do I know?


message 35: by Melanie (new) - added it

Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 241 comments I read enough to say I tried.
And then I read enough of your reviews to know I am in no mood to push through the rest of it.

I can't imagine this winning the play-in, given how much more enthusiasm the other two are capable of generating in our group - odds are the judge will prefer one or both of those to this. (Personally, I hope it goes to Stephen Florida, since I'm DNFing the other two play-in books.)

If nothing else, I can now safely put myself in the camp of 'no more campus novels, please' which clears some things off my TBR.


message 36: by Drew (new) - rated it 1 star

Drew (drewlynn) | 425 comments There’s always one ToB book that I barely understand but manage to plow through and this year Savage Theories wins that dubious distinction. Every time I considered abandoning it with extreme prejudice, there would be a flash of humor that gave me hope. Alas, that hope was illusory. It’s hard to decide which of the three narratives was least appealing but I suspect it was the one about the delusional philosophy student stalking her professor and some seemingly random guy who was evidently one of the bad guys in the Dirty War. Not for me.


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