Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner

Leaving the Atocha Station (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Ben Lerner

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5083119,998 (3.6)12
Title:Leaving the Atocha Station
Authors:Ben Lerner
Info:Coffee House Press (2011), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 186 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner (2011)

  1. 00
    Torpor (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents) by Chris Kraus (Philosofiction)
  2. 00
    The Sorrows of Young Mike by John Zelazny (jashleigh)
    jashleigh: These books are both great travel books and the main characters are going through a similar time in their lives.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 12 mentions

English (28)  Spanish (2)  Piratical (1)  All (31)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
An american in Spain. Familiar title? And he is not very familiar with anyone - at least not with himself. This young man with a scholarship to study spanish poetry is portrayed from the main person´s inside. We are inside his head - and what sort of head; bewildered, shifting, addicted, weed smoking, lying and constructing stories - not able to involve in anything. Not unlike many other youngster or young men, but although with a certain everlasting distance to everything that happens. In that way the main character is leading in an un-engaged way of existence all through his stay in Spain - a very near diagnosis, the way I read him.
  lestrond | Apr 5, 2017 |
I really wasn't at all impressed by this book. There were a few pages that took my interest, and it wasn't too long so I was able to keep going to the end. Moreover, there was something about the main character that made me want to keep reading - just as I might not be able to stop staring at a car crash wreckage. I think I may have been better off if I had encountered someone telling me "Nothing to see here, folks, just keep moving on". ( )
  oldblack | Dec 13, 2016 |
Fascinating and infuriating, though only someone who is not very self-aware would deny the insight into the intricacies of internal solipsism and neurotic rationalization that most people experience but would rarely admit. ( )
  ronhenry | Nov 17, 2015 |

Philosophical and often hilarious ( )
  annadanz | Jul 5, 2015 |
Adam, the narrator and sole consciousness through whom everything in this book is filtered, is slumming through a life of privilege. Ivy educated, fairly recently post-grad, he's on an expenses-paid poetry fellowship in Madrid, although he admits on page 3 that he's never been moved by any poem, much less any piece of art, and the fragments we see of his own poetry are terrible. His fellowship is to write a major poem regarding the impact of the Spanish civil war on contemporary literature, but he's not working on it. Instead, he's stumbling through each day on a diet of marijuana and tranquilizers and coasting on the good will of his acquaintances. None of them know him very well, because he lies to them. He lies to manipulate how they feel about him, he lies to test out how he feels about something, and sometimes he just lies because it's the easiest choice in the moment.

I take issue with people who dismiss a book because they don't like the main character—I don't read literature to find friends, I read in hopes that life will become a little more illuminated. The trouble here is that living through Adam's thoughts quickly becomes claustrophobic and exasperating. His self-centeredness is not the problem: the problem is his refusal to engage. There is no growth in this story, much less a journey. He just coasts to the end, unconsciously confident that his parents and the benevolent authorities who are paying his way will continue to find a way for him, one way or another. And unlike in greater first-person novels with a naive protagonist, there's no tension between what the protagonist knows and what we as readers know. If only there were something to like about our hero! Unfortunately, his prose is sometimes so monotonous that it can read like a court transcript. "I rolled a spliff and asked her if she wanted any and she said no and I lay in bed smoking while she sat at the little table in the corner and worked on the translations, opening my notebook and hers. I asked her if she wanted to read me some and she again said no. I didn't understand her method. She had no dictionary and asked no questions and I wondered if she was translating at all. After a while she came to bed and shut her eyes and I tried in my clumsy way to initiate some contact but she was totally if somehow gently unresponsive and soon she was asleep." So was I. ( )
1 vote john.cooper | Jun 22, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ben Lernerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

In Madrid on a fellowship, a young American poet examines his ambivalence about authenticity.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
90 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.6)
0.5 1
1 6
2 11
2.5 3
3 33
3.5 20
4 44
4.5 10
5 25

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,172,482 books! | Top bar: Always visible