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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

The Tesseract


The Tesseract Cover

ISBN13: 9781573227742
ISBN10: 1573227749
Condition: Standard
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Author's Note

I started traveling by accident, though the accident wasn't mine. One day, sometime around 1984, my parents read in the newspaper that a school trip had ended in tragedy. A kid (or maybe two kids) and a teacher had been killed while rock-climbing in Snowdonia. It so happened that Sam, the son of a family on my street, had also been on a school organized rock-climbing trip that weekend. Sam and I were at the same school. "Had Sam gone to Snowdonia?" my parents asked, worried. I said no. I didn't know for sure, because Sam was three years older than me and we weren't close friends. I just thought it was unlikely. But it turned out I was wrong. The school involved was my school, and Sam was on the expedition though, thankfully, he wasn't one of the people who died. It also turned out that the trip had been a practice for a more ambitious venture. Later that year, they were planning to climb a mountain in Kashmir, Northern India. Obviously, in light of the accident, the plan was abandoned. Or rather, delayed. In 1987 a school trip to Kashmir was reorganized — with two key differences as far as I was concerned. The first was that, not surprisingly, this time there was no intention to do any rock-climbing. The second was that I was now seventeen, and old enough to put my name down for inclusion. Our six weeks in India were busy. We packed in a lot — trekking in Ladahk, staying on a houseboat in Srinagar, seeing the Taj Mahal, Kargil, and the Red Fort. And we also went to the mountain that the Snowdonia group had been planning to scale. It was a strange experience. Strange enough, standing on a high glacier-covered pass, looking up at a mountain that had taken on a somewhat mythic quality. Stranger still, given that one of our accompanying teachers was a survivor of the Snowdonia expedition. As was one of the older boys. Except, 'strange' doesn't do the experience justice. In retrospect, 'strange' seems both too melodramatic and too blasé. Too melodramatic, because on the glacier we had a snowball fight, and we were as concerned with smoking a sly joint as absorbing the emotional weight of the situation. Too blasé because the landscape of Kashmir is amongst the most spectacular in the world, and you simply cannot overplay its beauty and grandeur. Whatever, I enjoyed the trip. It taught me some of the basics of self-reliance in foreign countries, it was the kick start for a further nine years of travel in Asia. Not to mention that ultimately it set me on the course of my career. Which leaves me in an odd position. On the one hand, I should be grateful for the trip to India. On the other hand, if there hadn't been the tragedy in Snowdonia, the trip to India probably wouldn't have happened. I'm not sure where that leaves me. Vaguely uncomfortable and morally confused, I suppose. Well, nothing new about that.

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Clyderat, December 29, 2013 (view all comments by Clyderat)
In his followup to "The Beach", Alex Garland deftly weaves together the seemingly disconnected lives of a group of people living in Manila. The narrative jumps back and forth through time and covers a broad cross-section of Filipino life that includes Manila street kids, barrio residents from the provinces, and the wealthy class of the city. Garland fits it all in with a taut writing style that makes the action move quickly.
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Product Details

Garland, Alex
Riverhead Books
New York :
Good and evil
Religion and science
Psychological fiction
Merchant mariners.
General Fiction
Popular Fiction-Suspense
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
January 1, 2000
Grade Level:
from 12
7.98x5.16x.75 in. .54 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

The Tesseract Used Trade Paper
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$1.50 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Riverhead Books - English 9781573227742 Reviews:
"Review" by , "What really makes The Tesseract so gripping is the author's dazzling performance as a storyteller — not the bloody climaxes per se but the innovative techniques and deft changes of pace with which they are related....[A]ll but flawless, a tour de force of brilliant narration and psychological acuity."
"Review" by , "[The Tesseract] feels...like a Quentin Tarantino or John Woo movie, seasoned with some Graham Greene. It is as thoroughly assured a performance as The Beach and just as violently entertaining....Mr. Garland is a natural at orchestrating violent set pieces with deadpan panache, but he also proves in this novel that he can create odd, oddly sympathetic people with unexpected inner lives....[The novel] reconfirms his prodigious and diverse talents."
"Review" by , "Although Garland's allusions to super-symmetry and tesseracts are far-fetched, the reader will come away impressed by his sense of place and his unique storytelling, which combines a brisk, complex plot with an ability to get into the souls and skins of people."
"Review" by , "[P]ointlessly elaborate....This very simple story is complicated as much as possible in the telling — but for no apparent reason....Tedious, convoluted, pompous. Garland's narration is so oblique that his story doesn't even begin to cohere until the very last chapter — which, it must be said, does little to justify the effort of reading him."
"Review" by , "[T]hese four stories...make up the dimensions of the 'tesseract' (a four-dimensional analogue of a cube), which itself unravels as the stories and characters converge in a shocking ending. This is one of the most structurally complex noir novels ever written and perhaps the only one ever set in the Philippines."
"Review" by , "The Tesseract is just an evening's read and seems less substantial than The Beach, but it exerts the same unsettling grip on your imagination."
"Review" by , "Garland is a gifted storyteller whose use of language is reminiscent of Graham Greene's. His ambitious second novel is like the charm carried by one of its characters: at once consoling and intoxicatingly alien."
"Review" by , "Riveting....The Tesseract offers myriad secret pleasures beyond its seemingly plot-driven narrative of intrigue in the streets of Manila."
"Review" by , "[T]here are only two hackneyed phrases that fit The Tesseract: Interesting failure. Sophomore slump....[It] substitutes lots of self-conscious flourishes and posturing for a coherent plot and firmly rooted characters. Even the novel's obscure title annoys the reader."
"Review" by , "Garland achieves a sort of narrative origami, whereby space and time are folded back on themselves to create a four-dimensional figure — the tesseract — making the book fascinating and somewhat maddening."
"Review" by , "[I]ntriguing and intricate....Fast-paced, suspenseful, and thought-provoking, this is top-drawer fiction and highly recommended..."
"Review" by , "Garland's second novel, following his riviting debut, The Beach, has convinced me that he is the best thirtyish writer in English today."
"Synopsis" by ,

An intricately woven, suspenseful novel of psychological and political intrigue, The Tesseract follows the interlocking fates of three sets of characters in the Philippines: gangsters in a chase through the streets of Manila; a middle-class mother putting her children to bed in the suburbs and remembering her first love; and a couple of street kids and the wealthy psychiatrist who is studying their dreams. Alex Garland demonstrates the range of his extraordinary talents as a novelist in this national bestseller, a Chinese puzzle of a novel about three intersecting sets of characters in the Philippines.

"Synopsis" by , Set in the Philippines, this Chinese puzzle of a novel, written by the author of "The Beach, " spans three generations, following the stories of three sets of characters whose fates are intertwined.
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