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josierae has commented on (4) products.

The Masters of Atlantis by Charles Portis
The Masters of Atlantis

josierae, January 6, 2011

While Portis might becoming a more familiar name due to the recent re-adaptation of his novel True Grit by the Cohen Brothers, it's worth taking a peek at one of his other novels, Masters of Atlantis. Portis writes with such wit and cleverness, he'll have you chuckling to yourself or forcing your friends to sit back and humor you as you read a line or two from this bizarrely funny book. Portis creates a sprawling mythology to the secret society at the center of this novel -- the Gnomons, led by two competing factions (Mr. Jimmerson's and Hen's) who base their rituals and belief systems on the lost city of Atlantis. From a decaying headquarters in Indiana, Mr. Jimmerson rules with absent-minded befuddlement as his rival, Hen, skirts about London then Mexico with a band of eccentric followers. There is no real way to describe this book; it's like nothing I've ever read before. But it is also one of the best books I've ever read and I can't recommend it highly enough.
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In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut
In a Strange Room

josierae, January 5, 2011

What a strange and fascinating and beautiful book. Arranged as three linked novellas, In A Strange Room explores what it means to be a traveler who is never quite at home, even when he is at home. The individual narratives follow Damon, a South African, who wanders into relationships with people, mostly during his travels that take him from Greece to Tanzania to India. Blurring the lines between fiction and nonfiction, Galgut's protagonist refers to himself as both "I" and "he," suggesting the distances we often have from ourselves. In a sense, all of the stories are Damon's attempt at understanding his past self, a self that is both passive and observant, solitary and striving for connection to place and people. Some of the most thoughtful and beautiful writing I've read all year, Galgut's stories manage to be both quiet and bracingly tense.
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In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut
In a Strange Room

josierae, January 5, 2011

What a strange and fascinating and beautiful book. Arranged as three linked novellas, In A Strange Room explores what it means to be a traveler who is never quite at home, even when he is at home. The individual narratives follow Damon, a South African, who wanders into relationships with people, mostly during his travels that take him from Greece to Tanzania to India. Blurring the lines between fiction and nonfiction, Galgut's protagonist refers to himself as both "I" and "he," suggesting the distances we often have from ourselves. In a sense, all of the stories are Damon's attempt at understanding his past self, a self that is both passive and observant, solitary and striving for connection to place and people. Some of the most thoughtful and beautiful writing I've read all year, Galgut's stories manage to be both quiet and bracingly tense.
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The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon
The Lazarus Project

josierae, January 1, 2011

Hemon has created an intricate and thoughtful documentary novel, combining photographs and fictional narrative to investigate the temporal and geographic connections that link people and experiences. Weaving together the story of an early 20th century Chicago murder alongside the tentative friendship between two contemporary Bosnian exiles, Hemon's characters travel from Chicago to Ukraine to Sarajevo. Part detective novel, part buddy road trip, part history of violence and genocide, The Lazarus Project is an exhilarating read that intelligently illustrates the complexities of immigration and exile and the subsequent longings for a past and a home that no longer exist. A beautiful and haunting and unforgettable novel.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)



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