- Copertina flessibile: 176 pagine
- Editore: Flamingo (16 giugno 2003)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 0007150385
- ISBN-13: 978-0007150380
- Peso di spedizione: 145 g
- Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: n. 150.616 in Libri in altre lingue (Visualizza i Top 100 nella categoria Libri in altre lingue)
Desperate Characters (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – 16 giu 2003
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‘Inarguably great. “Desperate Characters” soars above every other work of American realist fiction since the Second World War.’ Jonathan Franzen
‘A towering landmark of postwar realism…a sustained work of prose so lucid and fine that it seems less written than carved.’ David Foster Wallace
‘Brilliant.’ New Yorker
‘A master class on the terrors and sophistries of the American bourgeoisie. Wise, unsettling and compassionate. A brilliant book.’ TLS
‘Exhilarating…a novel of elegant sentences and very funny dialogue. Fox writes brilliant parties you’re grateful not to have been invited to.’ New York Review of Books
‘She is one of America’s greatest living writers.’ Scotsman
‘A masterpiece.’ Observer
Paula Fox has written many books for children and five other novels, as well as the memoir Borrowed Finery. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Le recensioni clienti più utili su Amazon.com
What's great about this book is the characterization and the writing. I thought Fox did a masterful job of showing us the truth of these characters without providing a lot of description. That is not an easy thing to do.
Her writing is beautiful and unique, which I also enjoyed.
But for me, the fact that there wasn't a likable character in the bunch (with, perhaps, the exception of Charlie), was difficult for me. Though I suppose the title clues us in to that possibility, so I shouldn't have been surprised. I guess I just wanted to like them more. I enjoy characters with both positive and negative traits. I think complex characters make a good book great. But I didn't find these characters all that complex - just self-absorbed.
I am fighting an inner battle right now between a four star and a five star review, for the writing is beautiful and true, and (semi-spoiler alert) it ends on a tender moment that made me smile, for finally I felt the main characters were something other than pains in the butt.
I recommend this book, but not if you're looking for an uplifting read. Fox is a talented writer, and I would read her again.
However, I could not give the novel a score of 5, despite its many good qualities. I found the Bentwoods, both Sophie and Otto, to be highly privileged and spoiled. Otto Bentwoods' `know-it-all' responses to almost everything his wife says was irritating. The novel is limited in time, a single weekend, and focuses primarily on the break between Otto and his legal partner, Charlie. These two men appeared to have different styles that complimented each other in both their friendship and legal practice, however I got the impression that after many years, they were somewhat sick of each other.
The Bentwoods are highly-educated, wealthy, liberal, and Fox does a good job of showing the intrusion of the real world into their existence. As Fox describes it, the upper class can use their wealth to isolate them from the messiness of poverty but it creeps back in, much like the nasty tom cat that bites Sophie in the first pages of the novel. I once read a quote by Dawn Powell, that youth float on the illusion of luxury. Fox would expand that sensibility to indicate that the upper classes also wish to float on that same illusion but for those over 40 the illusion is about more than luxury, it is about life's consistent and nagging barriers, irritations, complications. The cat bite brings all this messy reality back into Sophie's life.
The book is very well written and is admirable in its ability to limit time, place, person, situation for an examination of a situation that generalizes beyond the limitations Fox has created for her art.
Each time I reread Fox's masterpiece, which is receiving increasing yet still insufficient attention, I am struck by its remarkable balance of depth and breadth. If there are a handful of works of literature that are deserving of their own college course -- maybe Anna Karenina or Invisible Man or Ulysses -- then one could structure an entire college education around this compact and easily-accessible novel. On the surface, we are introduced to Sophie and Otto Bentwood of Brooklyn Heights, a forty-something couple in a desiccated marriage, on the day Sophie receives a potentially lethal cat bite. But the novel transcends this domestic pas-de-deux to grapple with complex, unsettling questions of social order and justice, race and religion, freedom and obligation. It is a book as relevant today -- maybe more so -- than at at the height of the social protest and disorder of the late 1960s, when it takes place. Not a book to be read for plot or diversion, but to be savored for its penetrating insights into marriage, friendship and civilization.
I recognize that art reflects taste, but the presence of one-star reviews of this book leaves me genuinely concerned for the future of literature.