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    Before, During, After

    Richard Bausch 9780307266262

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Adverbs (P.S.)

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Adverbs (P.S.) Cover

ISBN13: 9780060724429
ISBN10: 0060724420
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Reading Group Guide

Questions for Discussion

1. How did you make sense of the narrator's sudden infatuation with Peter, the taxi driver, in "Immediately," the chapter that opens Adverbs?

2. What role does chivalry play in the romantic encounters depicted in "Obviously," in which Joe experiences unrequited love for his fellow ticket-taker, Lila, and "Clearly," in which Adam and Eddie suffer coitus interruptus, courtesy of a fellow hiker in need?

3. How did the recurrence of many characters (such as Mike, Joe, Andrea, Helena, and Allison, for example) over the course of Adverbs deepen and complicate your understanding of their individual connections to one another?

4. To what extent is Adverbs a novel without a plot?

5. How are the mysterious, catastrophic events of the kinds described in chapters like "Frigidly," "Symbolically," and "Soundly" integral to the progress of love in all its forms in Adverbs?

6. In "Truly," a character who shares the name of the book's author, Daniel Handler, makes an appearance. How did you reconcile his presence in Adverbs?

7. "Accordingly, the magpies in this book are so furtive, so eager to avoid human persecution, that you might not have noticed them." In what contexts did you notice the many magpies that crop up in Adverbs, and what did you make of them?

8. What role does coincidence play in the relationships that develop in "Naturally," in which Eddie Terhune and Hank Hayride reunite in the park, and in "Collectively," in which everyone in the neighborhood is smitten with the anonymous resident of 1602?

9. How did the structure of this novel, with each chapter's focus on an individual adverb, affect your appreciation of the diversity of human love and behavior?

10. "Love is a story, usually a love story. The main characters are what matter." Of the many characters in Adverbs who experience the consequences of love, which did you find most compelling or memorable, and why?

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Christy Valentine, July 28, 2009 (view all comments by Christy Valentine)
Daniel Handler is one of the most inventive contemporary novelists currently writing. That much was apparent from "A Series of Unfortunate Events," written under his pseudonym, but he really gets a chance to shine when writing for adults. Each of his earlier novels addresses the narrative in a new way, and "Adverbs" is no difference.

It's easier to classify the book as a series of connected short stories, all about a group of assorted people in the way in which they fall in love. Though Handler offers that the characters are not necessarily constant, many of the names are repeated and characters seem to know the same people, so it's arguable that they are simply being presented in separate circumstances. As in his previous books, the narrators should be considered unreliable, as the information of different stories is not always constant. This pendulous nature should not be seen as a deterrent, however. Instead, it is demonstrative of the nature of the emotions Handler chooses to present. The love of his stories does not always make sense, but it is consistently honest and representative of the love of the young.

Those of appreciate the ironic tone of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" will probably enjoy the book, though it should be said that Handler's novels deal with decidedly adult issues. Although a subtext of sexual menace is present in his fiction for younger readers, "Adverbs"- and his other novels- address sexuality in far more fluid terms than his previous series. Labels of "gay" or "straight" do not apply in this book. Instead, the role of orientation further expresses Handler's sense of new and contemporary love in our modern age of disorientation and disconnect.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060724429
Author:
Handler, Daniel
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Author:
Ha
Author:
ndler, Daniel
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
20070431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
7.99x5.36x.73 in. .55 lbs.

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Related Subjects

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Adverbs (P.S.) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$13.99 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060724429 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The qualities that draw millions to Lemony Snicket — absurdity, wicked humor, a love of wordplay — get adulterated in this elegant exploration of love. Handler brings linguistic pyrotechnics to a set of encounters: gay, straight, platonic and all degrees of dysfunctional. Amid the deadpan ('Character description: Appropriately tall. Could dress better.') and the exhausting ('Love was in the air, so both of us walked through love on our way to the corner.') are moments of blithe poignancy: quoth a lone golfer, 'Love is this sudden crash in your path, quick and to the point, and nearly always it leaves someone slain on the green.' In 'Obviously,' a teenage boy pines for his co-worker at the multiplex while they both tear tickets for Kickass: The Movie. In 'Briefly,' the narrator, now married, recounts being 14 and infatuated with his big sister's boyfriend, Keith. 'Truly' begins 'This part's true,' and features a character named Daniel Handler, who has an exchange about miracles with a novelist named Paula Sharp. Handler began his career with the coming-of-age novel The Basic Eight; this lovely, lilting book is a kind of After School Special for adults that dramatizes love's cross-purposes with panache: 'Surely somebody will arrive, in a taxi perhaps, attractively, artfully, aggressively, or any other way it is done.' (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[A] narrative ingenuity that should delight readers interested in exploring the possibilities of fiction....Handler's prose is warm, funny, smart and addictively readable....Experimental fiction is rarely this emotionally engaging."
"Review" by , "[W]itty — but ultimately wearying....Handler can certainly turn a phrase, but his prose is so overloaded with linguistic acrobatics...it's likely to leave some readers a bit bent out of shape, especially if they were expecting Lemony Snicket for grown-ups."
"Review" by , "Adverbs has implausibilities, indulgences and a track list that drags on a few cuts too long. But what stays with you is the music: the elegantly rendered emotion, the linguistic somersaults, the brilliantly turned reminders that there are a million ways to describe love and none of them will ever be the last word."
"Review" by , "In every technical sense...this is an impeccable creation, from start to finish and top to bottom....But Adverbs, unfortunately, while easy to admire, is hard to love quite as much as one should."
"Review" by , "Although he oozes wit and he's an astute social observer, [Handler's] voice can feel intrusive in spots, coming between the reader and the story....In the end, despite its quirks, the book's offbeat sweetness charms."
"Review" by , "[C]lever, unsettling, confusing, and often brilliantly moving."
"Review" by , "Adverbs is not an unequivocal success. It makes a valiant case for the indispensability of style, but all the quirky stylistic connections in the world...will not rescue a narrative when it fails to connect emotionally with the reader."
"Synopsis" by , Can Joe help it if he falls in love with people who don't make him happy? And what about Helena—she's in love, but somehow this isn't enough. Shouldn't it be? And if it isn't enough, does this mean she's not really in love? It certainly seems to be spoiling the love she's in. And let's say there's a volcano underneath the city—doesn't that make things more urgent? Does urgency mean that you should keep the person you're with, or search for the best possible person? And what if the best possible person loves someone else—like the Snow Queen, for instance?

This novel may not answer these questions, but nevertheless the author and publisher hope it will be of interest.

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