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Shipwreck

by

Shipwreck Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A mesmerizing novel of deception and betrayal from the acclaimed author of Wartime Lies and About Schmidt.

John North, a prize-winning American writer, is suddenly beset by dark suspicions about the real value of his work. Over endless hours and bottles of whiskey consumed in a mysterious café called L'Entre Deux Mondes, he recounts, in counterpoint to his doubts, the one story he has never told before, perhaps the only important one he will ever tell. North's chosen interlocutor — who could be his doppelgänger — is transfixed by the revelations and becomes the narrator of North's tale.

North has always been faithful to his wife, Lydia, but when one of his novels achieves a special success, he allows himself a dalliance with Léa, a starstruck young journalist. Coolly planning to make sure that his life with Lydia will not be disturbed, North is taken off guard when Léa becomes obsessed with him and he with her elaborate erotic games. As the hypnotic and serpentine confession unfurls, we gradually discover the extraordinary lengths to which North has gone to indulge a powerful desire for self-destruction.

Shipwreck is a daring parable of the contradictory impulses that can rend a single soul — narcissism and self-loathing, refinement and lust.

Review:

"Shipwreck is at once a classic, even Jamesian novel of character and a highly erotic, very grown-up modern thriller — in other words, another triumph for Louis Begley." Washington Post Book World

Review:

"[A] brilliant exposition of the way authors can use the material of their lives to create brilliant fiction." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"[T]he high-class trappings can't mask the fact that this tawdry story can be heard daily, and with considerably more flair, on The Jerry Springer Show. Airless, humorless, and overly mannered..." Booklist

Review:

"[L]ess than satisfying....Too bad the other characters, particularly the women, aren't nearly as well drawn [as the protagonist]. North may be shipwrecked, but Begley's left the ladies at sea. (Grade: B-)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Overworked to the point of caricature: Like Woody Allen, Begley sets his scenes largely by dropping names...but his characters never become credible in their own right. The story ends up feeling stagy and faked." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[Begley] leads the reader along cleverly, magnetically. His long paragraphs and absence of quotation marks, though slightly unsettling, don't hamper an absorption in the details, which in the end add up astonishingly." The Oregonian (Portland, OR)

Review:

"Mr. Begley displays his perverse gift for riveting attention despite the unsympathetic, unyielding nature of the man he describes. Although there is an essential banality to the story he tells here, the reader is apt to be hooked." Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Review:

"Compellingly and compulsively told...[North's] obsessive self-awareness, like a mirror, catches our attention and holds it fast." The Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Dazzling....So enthralling that the temptation is to let a thousand glowing adjectives bloom....Will pin readers to their chair right up to the final page....The ending is a tour de force." Boston Globe

Review:

"This predictable, curiously prurient tale — Begley's athletic bedroom scenes seem not so much experienced by the narrator as peered at by the reader — is dished up, over many hours, to an anonymous listener in a bar, apparently as a kind of Ancient Mariner Blue Plate special." The New Yorker

Review:

"With this beautiful, haunting novel, Louis Begley has given us an exquisite record of one captain's internal strife as his ship looks poised to go down." Seattle Times

Synopsis:

Written as a hypnotic and serpentine confession, Shipwreck is a mesmerizing novel of deception and betrayal from the acclaimed author of Wartime Lies and About Schmidt.

About the Author

Louis Begley lives in New York City. His previous novels are Schmidt Delivered, Wartime Lies, The Man Who Was Late, As Max Saw It, About Schmidt, and Mistler's Exit.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345464095
Author:
Begley, Louis
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Family saga
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st paperback ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
September 2004
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
7.86x5.40x.60 in. .46 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Shipwreck New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$13.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345464095 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Shipwreck is at once a classic, even Jamesian novel of character and a highly erotic, very grown-up modern thriller — in other words, another triumph for Louis Begley."
"Review" by , "[A] brilliant exposition of the way authors can use the material of their lives to create brilliant fiction."
"Review" by , "[T]he high-class trappings can't mask the fact that this tawdry story can be heard daily, and with considerably more flair, on The Jerry Springer Show. Airless, humorless, and overly mannered..."
"Review" by , "[L]ess than satisfying....Too bad the other characters, particularly the women, aren't nearly as well drawn [as the protagonist]. North may be shipwrecked, but Begley's left the ladies at sea. (Grade: B-)"
"Review" by , "Overworked to the point of caricature: Like Woody Allen, Begley sets his scenes largely by dropping names...but his characters never become credible in their own right. The story ends up feeling stagy and faked."
"Review" by , "[Begley] leads the reader along cleverly, magnetically. His long paragraphs and absence of quotation marks, though slightly unsettling, don't hamper an absorption in the details, which in the end add up astonishingly."
"Review" by , "Mr. Begley displays his perverse gift for riveting attention despite the unsympathetic, unyielding nature of the man he describes. Although there is an essential banality to the story he tells here, the reader is apt to be hooked."
"Review" by , "Compellingly and compulsively told...[North's] obsessive self-awareness, like a mirror, catches our attention and holds it fast."
"Review" by , "Dazzling....So enthralling that the temptation is to let a thousand glowing adjectives bloom....Will pin readers to their chair right up to the final page....The ending is a tour de force."
"Review" by , "This predictable, curiously prurient tale — Begley's athletic bedroom scenes seem not so much experienced by the narrator as peered at by the reader — is dished up, over many hours, to an anonymous listener in a bar, apparently as a kind of Ancient Mariner Blue Plate special."
"Review" by , "With this beautiful, haunting novel, Louis Begley has given us an exquisite record of one captain's internal strife as his ship looks poised to go down."
"Synopsis" by , Written as a hypnotic and serpentine confession, Shipwreck is a mesmerizing novel of deception and betrayal from the acclaimed author of Wartime Lies and About Schmidt.
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