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This title in other editions

The Geographer's Library

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The Geographer's Library Cover

ISBN13: 9780143036623
ISBN10: 0143036629
Condition: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"[A] wonderfully cluttered debut novel....The Geographer's Library (as its title suggests) travels to far-flung locations, and its minor characters can be found in Sicily or Latvia, consorting with KGB men or retired Chinese gangsters. Fasman has in fact worked as a journalist in far-flung locations, yet the world of his novel reads strange and varied, like a place wildly imagined (as the title also might suggest) rather than documented." Anna Godbersen, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Jon Fasman's dizzyingly plotted intellectual thriller suggests a marriage between Dan Brown and Donna Tartt. When reporter Paul Tomm is assigned to investigate the mysterious death of a reclusive academic, he finds himself pursuing leads that date back to the twelfth century and the theft of alchemical instruments from the geographer of the Sicilian court. Now someone is trying to retrieve them. Interspersed with the present action are the stories of the men and women who came to possess those charmed — and sometimes cursed — artifacts, which have powers that go well beyond the transmutation of lead into gold. Deftly combining history, magic, suspense, and romance — and as handsomely illustrated as an ancient incunabulum — The Geographer's Library is irresistible.

Review:

"A young reporter is caught up in a deadly centuries-long treasure hunt in this puppyish but brainy debut, a thriller steeped in arcane lore and exotic history. When Paul Tomm, a reporter for the Lincoln Carrier, a small Connecticut newspaper, looks into the demise of Jaan Phapev, an elderly academic found dead in his cluttered house, nothing seems out of the ordinary — until the pathologist performing the autopsy is himself killed in a freak car accident. Various locals and acquaintances offer reminiscences of the late professor that suggest Phapev was an extremely complicated (and perhaps dangerous) character. Tomm's discoveries lead him to a lovely young woman, a network of international smugglers and hidden alchemical libraries. Appealing more to the intellect than to the emotions, the book is slowed by the catalogue-like descriptions of precious objects that close many chapters, while the protagonist, however likable, is often too nave to be entirely credible. Still, some deft plotting and lively writing bode well for the author's future literary endeavors." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Shades of Dan Brown, Edward Whittemore's Jerusalem Quartet, and Milorad Pavic's Dictionary of the Khazars: one of the year's most literate and absorbing entertainments." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Alchemy, Fasman tells us more than once, is the science of transformation. Good fiction aspires to the same lofty goal, and it is achieved in The Geographer's Library, a cabinet of wonders written by a novelist whose surname and sensibility fit comfortably on the shelf between Umberto Eco and John Fowles." Allen Kurzweil, Los Angeles Times

Review:

"[T]his debut tells a terrific story — it's gripping, intelligent, and beautifully wrought." Library Journal

Review:

"Fasman's fast-paced tale is almost all plot... These characters are better drawn than those in The Da Vinci Code." Newsweek

Review:

"Fasman has a strong descriptive touch and a feel for young adulthood that come to the rescue time and again, and together with the exotica, they make for a fun book." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"The Geographer's Library makes an effort to get readers off their intellectual duffs by presenting the artifacts in catalog format, separating them from the narrative and demanding that they be seen as elements of a puzzle rather than props in a set piece." Washington Post

Synopsis:

Jon Fasmanandrsquo;s dizzyingly plotted intellectual thriller suggests a marriage between Dan Brown and Donna Tartt. When reporter Paul Tomm is assigned to investigate the mysterious death of a reclusive academic, he finds himself pursuing leads that date back to the twelfth century and the theft of alchemical instruments from the geographer of the Sicilian court. Now someone is trying to retrieve them. Interspersed with the present action are the stories of the men and women who came to possess those charmedandmdash;and sometimes cursedandmdash;artifacts, which have powers that go well beyond the transmutation of lead into gold. Deftly combining history, magic, suspense, and romanceandmdash;and as handsomely illustrated as an ancient incunabulumandmdash;The Geographerandrsquo;s Library is irresistible.

Synopsis:

"Fasman's fast-paced tale is almost all plot... These characters are better drawn than those in The Da Vinci Code." Newsweek

Jon Fasman's dizzyingly plotted intellectual thriller suggests a marriage between Dan Brown and Donna Tartt. When reporter Paul Tomm is assigned to investigate the mysterious death of a reclusive academic, he finds himself pursuing leads that date back to the twelfth century and the theft of alchemical instruments from the geographer of the Sicilian court. Now someone is trying to retrieve them. Interspersed with the present action are the stories of the men and women who came to possess those charmedand sometimes cursedartifacts, which have powers that go well beyond the transmutation of lead into gold. Deftly combining history, magic, suspense, and romanceand as handsomely illustrated as an ancient incunabulumThe Geographer's Library is irresistible.

"A brainy noir . . . [a] winningly cryptic tale . . . a cabinet of wonders written by a novelist whose surname and sensibility fit comfortably on the shelf between Umberto Eco and John Fowles." Los Angeles Times

"One of the year's most literate and absorbing entertainments." Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Jon Fasman was born in Chicago in 1975 and grew up in Washington, D.C. He was educated at Brown and Oxford universities and has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., New York, Oxford, and Moscow. His writing has appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, Slate, Legal Affairs, the Moscow Times, and The Washington Post. He is now a writer and an editor for The Economist's Web site.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

redrockbookworm, July 22, 2008 (view all comments by redrockbookworm)
I bought this book filled with high hopes, since I am a lover of historical fiction. My hopes were dashed and all I came away with were the following observations/complaints.

Complaint #1: Okay, I suppose this book was supposed to be "brainy" with the in-depth descriptions of nine hundred year old stolen artifacts and the fate of the people who had owned them. Personally, I found myself skipping over the descriptions by the time I got to "Ferahid's Silver Ney". What did all of those disjointed facts contribute to the advancement of the story? Not a thing as far as I could ascertain.

Complaint #2: By the time Hannah appears, you already know what the outcome of her relationship with Paul will be because the author told you on page one with his "Dear H" letter.

The only mildly interesting character in this entire novel was Paul Tomm and for a supposidly intelligent, educated man, he was amazingly dense and relatively unmotivated.

My final observation: Life is too short to be spent reading boring fiction. You can find other ways to fall asleep.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
Vivian, May 16, 2008 (view all comments by Vivian)
Seemingly random bits of information about mysterious and ancient objects are woven through an engaging story set in the present. As the story unfolds, the bits of information tie together and the mystery is resolved. I had a hard time putting this book down.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(10 of 16 readers found this comment helpful)
Debbie, November 25, 2007 (view all comments by Debbie)
I haven't even finished reading this book (I'm about halfway through it) but already want Jon Fasman to write more. "The Geographer's Library" is so well-written, with solid, quirky prose, and intriguing mysteries, that I dread having the story end too soon. So far each chapter has been in one of two different time periods - current day or the '70s and '80s, with other sections devoted to descriptions of ancient artifacts and their provenance or events from the far distant past. Each section provides a story that sharpens and further shapes the other sections.

I hesitate to compare Fasman's writing to Mark Halpern's ("Soldier in a Great War" -- "A City in Winter" et.al.), because Fasman uses a more personal and conversational tone, but something about his powers of description and inclusion of interesting references strike me as similar (in a different sort of way). His writing is matter-of-fact and down-to-earth. It's laid back, yet smart, and sprinkled with descriptions and rhythms that are downright lyrical.

"The next morning, the weather had cleared and everything looked scrubbed and sparkling, the edges of buildings and tops of trees a bit too sharp to be real, the sky too glassy blue not to be painted. Intricate little frost fronds snaked across one of my apartment's windows from opposite corners, greeted each other, and merged into a white crystal bruise...."

There are liberal references to some well known and some esoteric literary works that enrich the story. I like reading a book that gives me a window to other related material!

I could go on, but I'm anxious to get back to the story. If you like fiction that makes you think and gives you an opportunity to savor the events and descriptions in it like courses of a delicious meal, try "The Geographer's Library."
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(19 of 39 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780143036623
Author:
Fasman, Jon
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Espionage/Intrigue
Subject:
Action & Adventure
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Authorship
Subject:
Journalists
Subject:
Adventure
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Technothrillers
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20060231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b/w illustrations throughout
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.46x5.58x.84 in. .75 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects


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The Geographer's Library Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$0.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143036623 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A young reporter is caught up in a deadly centuries-long treasure hunt in this puppyish but brainy debut, a thriller steeped in arcane lore and exotic history. When Paul Tomm, a reporter for the Lincoln Carrier, a small Connecticut newspaper, looks into the demise of Jaan Phapev, an elderly academic found dead in his cluttered house, nothing seems out of the ordinary — until the pathologist performing the autopsy is himself killed in a freak car accident. Various locals and acquaintances offer reminiscences of the late professor that suggest Phapev was an extremely complicated (and perhaps dangerous) character. Tomm's discoveries lead him to a lovely young woman, a network of international smugglers and hidden alchemical libraries. Appealing more to the intellect than to the emotions, the book is slowed by the catalogue-like descriptions of precious objects that close many chapters, while the protagonist, however likable, is often too nave to be entirely credible. Still, some deft plotting and lively writing bode well for the author's future literary endeavors." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "[A] wonderfully cluttered debut novel....The Geographer's Library (as its title suggests) travels to far-flung locations, and its minor characters can be found in Sicily or Latvia, consorting with KGB men or retired Chinese gangsters. Fasman has in fact worked as a journalist in far-flung locations, yet the world of his novel reads strange and varied, like a place wildly imagined (as the title also might suggest) rather than documented." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "Shades of Dan Brown, Edward Whittemore's Jerusalem Quartet, and Milorad Pavic's Dictionary of the Khazars: one of the year's most literate and absorbing entertainments."
"Review" by , "Alchemy, Fasman tells us more than once, is the science of transformation. Good fiction aspires to the same lofty goal, and it is achieved in The Geographer's Library, a cabinet of wonders written by a novelist whose surname and sensibility fit comfortably on the shelf between Umberto Eco and John Fowles."
"Review" by , "[T]his debut tells a terrific story — it's gripping, intelligent, and beautifully wrought."
"Review" by , "Fasman's fast-paced tale is almost all plot... These characters are better drawn than those in The Da Vinci Code."
"Review" by , "Fasman has a strong descriptive touch and a feel for young adulthood that come to the rescue time and again, and together with the exotica, they make for a fun book."
"Review" by , "The Geographer's Library makes an effort to get readers off their intellectual duffs by presenting the artifacts in catalog format, separating them from the narrative and demanding that they be seen as elements of a puzzle rather than props in a set piece."
"Synopsis" by ,

Jon Fasmanandrsquo;s dizzyingly plotted intellectual thriller suggests a marriage between Dan Brown and Donna Tartt. When reporter Paul Tomm is assigned to investigate the mysterious death of a reclusive academic, he finds himself pursuing leads that date back to the twelfth century and the theft of alchemical instruments from the geographer of the Sicilian court. Now someone is trying to retrieve them. Interspersed with the present action are the stories of the men and women who came to possess those charmedandmdash;and sometimes cursedandmdash;artifacts, which have powers that go well beyond the transmutation of lead into gold. Deftly combining history, magic, suspense, and romanceandmdash;and as handsomely illustrated as an ancient incunabulumandmdash;The Geographerandrsquo;s Library is irresistible.

"Synopsis" by , "Fasman's fast-paced tale is almost all plot... These characters are better drawn than those in The Da Vinci Code." Newsweek

Jon Fasman's dizzyingly plotted intellectual thriller suggests a marriage between Dan Brown and Donna Tartt. When reporter Paul Tomm is assigned to investigate the mysterious death of a reclusive academic, he finds himself pursuing leads that date back to the twelfth century and the theft of alchemical instruments from the geographer of the Sicilian court. Now someone is trying to retrieve them. Interspersed with the present action are the stories of the men and women who came to possess those charmedand sometimes cursedartifacts, which have powers that go well beyond the transmutation of lead into gold. Deftly combining history, magic, suspense, and romanceand as handsomely illustrated as an ancient incunabulumThe Geographer's Library is irresistible.

"A brainy noir . . . [a] winningly cryptic tale . . . a cabinet of wonders written by a novelist whose surname and sensibility fit comfortably on the shelf between Umberto Eco and John Fowles." Los Angeles Times

"One of the year's most literate and absorbing entertainments." Kirkus Reviews

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