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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

This title in other editions

The Escape

by

The Escape Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Haffner is charming, morally suspect, vain, obsessed by the libertine emperors. He is British and Jewish and a widower. But Haffners attachments to his nation, his race, his marriage, have always been matters of conjecture. They have always been subjects of debate.

There are many stories of Haffner—but this, the most secret, is the greatest of them all. The Escape opens in a spa town snug in the unfashionable eastern Alps, where Haffner has come to claim his wifes inheritance: a villa expropriated in darker times. After weeks of ignoring his task in order to conduct two affairs—one with a capricious young yoga instructor, the other with a hungrily passionate married woman—he discovers gradually that he wants this villa, very much. Squabbling with bureaucrats and their shadows means a fight, and Haffner wants anything he has to fight for.

How can you ever escape your past, your family, your history? That is the problem of Haffners story in The Escape. That has always been the problem of Haffner—and his lifetime of metamorphoses and disappearances. How might Haffner ever become unattached?

Through the improvised digressions of his comic couplings and uncouplings emerge the stories of Haffners century: the chaos of World War II , the heyday of jazz, the postwar diaspora, the uncertain triumph of capitalism, and the inescapability of memory.

The Escape is a swift, sad farce of sexual mayhem by a brilliant young novelist The New York Times has called “a prodigy and, as such, unstoppable.”

Adam Thirlwell was born in London in 1978. Politics, his first novel, was published in 2003 and has been translated into thirty languages. In the same year, Granta listed him among its best young British novelists. His much-praised book The Delighted States won the Somerset Maugham Award in 2008. He lives in London.
Haffner is charming, morally suspect, vain, obsessed by the libertine emperors. He is British and Jewish and a widower. But Haffner's attachments to his nation, his race, his marriage, have always been matters of conjecture. They have always been subjects of debate.
 
There are many stories of Haffner—but this, the most secret, is the greatest of them all.
 
The Escape opens in a spa town snug in the unfashionable eastern Alps, where Haffner has come to claim his wife's inheritance: a villa expropriated in darker times. After weeks of ignoring his task in order to conduct two affairs—one with a capricious young yoga instructor, the other with a hungrily passionate married woman—he discovers gradually that he wants this villa, very much. Squabbling with bureaucrats and their shadows means a fight, and Haffner wants anything he has to fight for.
How can you ever escape your past, your family, your history? That is the problem of Haffner's story in The Escape. That has always been the problem of Haffner—and his lifetime of metamorphoses and disappearances. How might Haffner ever become unattached?
 
Through the improvised digressions of his comic couplings and uncouplings emerge the stories of Haffner's century: the chaos of World War II , the heyday of jazz, the postwar diaspora, the uncertain triumph of capitalism, and the inescapability of memory.
 
The Escape is a swift, sad farce of sexual mayhem by a brilliant young novelist The New York Times has called "a prodigy and, as such, unstoppable."
"Like his guiding light Milan Kundera, Thirlwell (who was named by Granta as one of the 'best young British novelists') is adept at intertwining philosophical and erotic strands in his work. Men and women dont simply screw; each coupling is an opportunity for the author to expound on fate, lust, history and psychology . . . But even as Thirlwell aspires to Kundera's sexed-up intellect, he manages to avoid the Czech author's pompous self-regard, and effortlessly blends reflections on memory with, say, hanky-panky in bathtubs. The result—enough to shock even a dedicated philanderer—is an accessibly cerebral story of one man and his tragic libido."—Scott Indrisek, Time Out New York
 
"Heres how precocious Adam Thirlwell is: In 2003, when he was 24 years old, Granta named him one of Britains best young novelists—before his first novel had even been published. (He made the cut on the strength of the manuscript.) Once the book, Politics, did appear, discussions about it had one common denominator: sex. Readers and reviewers, pro and con, sought the precise location of the line demarcating smut from smart. Translated into 30 languages, Politics told the story of three young Londoners involved in a ménage à trois. Though few explicit descriptions were spared, the novel was ultimately less concerned with the foibles and fumblings of sexual misadventure than with what they could reveal about human nature that more conventional narratives could not. In The Escape, his witty, irreverent and elegiac new novel, Thirlwell employs a similarly carnal approach to character development . . . This is fine psychological insight. And it demonstrates how powerfully Thirlwell can dominate the world of his story."—Joseph Salvatore, The New York Times Book Review
 
"'No one likes a deserter, an escapee, because it proves the fact that there is always a choice. So often, it is easier to believe that life is a trap.' So asserts the wily and knowing narrator of Adam Thirlwells at once brilliant . . . new novel, The Escape. But is escape even possible? Is it desirable? The book's brilliance stems from the struggles and contradictions these questions prompt, while its shortcomings test our ability to spend this many pages with a protagonist whose importance is repeatedly argued for but never entirely proved."—Irina Reyn, The Forward
 
"Except for the erudition of the writing, there is almost no similarity between Thirlwell's new work and his brilliant picaresque, The Delighted States (2008) . . . VERDICT Worth considering . . . Particularly recommended for Roth and Amis fans.—Jim Dwyer, California State University Library, Chico, Library Journal 

Review:

"Following the travails of aging libertine Raphael Haffner in a spa town somewhere in Bohemia, this unfortunate picaresque by Thirlwell (The Delighted States) quickly becomes a case study in which history ('that arrogant personification'), mythical references, and Haffner's own life don't inform one another so much as farcically cohabitate. Narrated by a younger, faceless acquaintance, the story of our 'epic hero' drifts between Haffner's efforts to secure his dead wife's estate and his 'Sophoclean' love for sexy young yoga instructor Zinka, or, more generally, 'the familiar, peristaltic illness of the women,' as Haffner's 'ageing body is still a pincushion for the multicoloured plastic arrows of the victorious kid-god: Cupid.' Within this landscape of 'tremulous picturesque mountains' where anti-Semitic bureaucrats conspire to deprive Haffner of his inheritance, the arthritic Casanova offers many self-aggrandizing reflections punctuated by exclamation points. Unfortunately, Haffner's considerable shortcomings, while promising, never consolidate into a solid character, much less a mythical letch. His insights and motivations are stale and cartoonish, his vulnerabilities bland, and his slapstick strivings are those of a stick figure on Viagra." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

'The more I knew of Haffner,' writes Adam Thirlwell in The Escape, 'the more real he became, this was true. And, simultaneously, Haffner disappeared.'

 

In a forgotten spa town snug in the Alps, at the end of the twentieth century, Haffner is seeking a cure, more women, and a villa that belonged to his late wife. But really he is trying to escape: from his family, his lovers, his history, his entire Haffnerian condition.  For Haffner is 78.

Haffner, in other words, is too old to be grown up.

Synopsis:

There are many stories of Haffner. Haffner is charming, morally suspect, vain, obsessed by the libertine emperors. He is British and Jewish and a widower. But this, the most secret story, is the greatest of them all. In a forgotten spa town snug in the eastern Alps, at the end of the twentieth century, Haffner is seeking a cure, more women, and a villa that once belonged to his late wife. But really he is trying to escape: from his family, his lovers, his history, his entire Haffnerian condition. For Haffner is seventy-eight. In other words, Haffner is too old to be a grown-up. So unravels the plot of The Escape—a swift, sad farce of sexual mayhem by a novelist The New York Times has called “a prodigy.”

About the Author

Adam Thirlwell was born in London in 1978. Politics, his first novel, was published in 2003 and has been translated into thirty languages. In the same year, Granta listed him among its best young British novelists. His much-praised book The Delighted States won the Somerset Maugham Award in 2008. He lives in London.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374148782
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Thirlwell, Adam
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Jewish
Subject:
Adultery
Subject:
Inheritance and succession
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100330
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Jewish

The Escape Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374148782 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Following the travails of aging libertine Raphael Haffner in a spa town somewhere in Bohemia, this unfortunate picaresque by Thirlwell (The Delighted States) quickly becomes a case study in which history ('that arrogant personification'), mythical references, and Haffner's own life don't inform one another so much as farcically cohabitate. Narrated by a younger, faceless acquaintance, the story of our 'epic hero' drifts between Haffner's efforts to secure his dead wife's estate and his 'Sophoclean' love for sexy young yoga instructor Zinka, or, more generally, 'the familiar, peristaltic illness of the women,' as Haffner's 'ageing body is still a pincushion for the multicoloured plastic arrows of the victorious kid-god: Cupid.' Within this landscape of 'tremulous picturesque mountains' where anti-Semitic bureaucrats conspire to deprive Haffner of his inheritance, the arthritic Casanova offers many self-aggrandizing reflections punctuated by exclamation points. Unfortunately, Haffner's considerable shortcomings, while promising, never consolidate into a solid character, much less a mythical letch. His insights and motivations are stale and cartoonish, his vulnerabilities bland, and his slapstick strivings are those of a stick figure on Viagra." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,

'The more I knew of Haffner,' writes Adam Thirlwell in The Escape, 'the more real he became, this was true. And, simultaneously, Haffner disappeared.'

 

In a forgotten spa town snug in the Alps, at the end of the twentieth century, Haffner is seeking a cure, more women, and a villa that belonged to his late wife. But really he is trying to escape: from his family, his lovers, his history, his entire Haffnerian condition.  For Haffner is 78.

Haffner, in other words, is too old to be grown up.

"Synopsis" by ,

There are many stories of Haffner. Haffner is charming, morally suspect, vain, obsessed by the libertine emperors. He is British and Jewish and a widower. But this, the most secret story, is the greatest of them all. In a forgotten spa town snug in the eastern Alps, at the end of the twentieth century, Haffner is seeking a cure, more women, and a villa that once belonged to his late wife. But really he is trying to escape: from his family, his lovers, his history, his entire Haffnerian condition. For Haffner is seventy-eight. In other words, Haffner is too old to be a grown-up. So unravels the plot of The Escape—a swift, sad farce of sexual mayhem by a novelist The New York Times has called “a prodigy.”

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