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Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
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Leaving the Atocha Station (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Ben Lerner

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296None38,152 (3.69)8
Member:Hebephrene
Title:Leaving the Atocha Station
Authors:Ben Lerner
Info:Coffee House Press (2011), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 186 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner (2011)

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English (19)  Spanish (2)  Piratical (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
This is a book about being young. The narrator, who is not endearing, displays all the self-absorption, lack of concern and misapprehension that one remembers from ones own youth. Layered over this is a glimpsed appreciation of art, a yearning for greater immersion in the world and a constant worry about authenticity. The book has some originality and is a reasonably absorbing read. ( )
  freelancer_frank | Jan 20, 2014 |
It's been a while since I read a book with such an unlikable main character, and liked it. Perhaps Lerner has reached out and brought forth all the condensed unlikelable-ness inside himself, or perhaps he has forged this character out of the bits and pieces of all the people he knows; no matter what his method, it is a complete piece of work, this man.

There is not much to the plot, except to say that it is, as others have said, meta-meta-meta of something, which I probably would be able to pretend to not be able to describe in minute and precise detail with beautiful language, but actually do a pretty good job of it only in its whole beauty in my head after my morning coffee and shit and joint, and only if I WERE a poet, you get me? You get it, you get it. (If you don't, that's probably because i am not a poet wo is pretending not to be a poet who is pretending to be a poet who is.......)

In Lerner's book, I saw many of the annoying German and English grad students who would wear only black skinny jeans (before skinny jeans were cool! bah!) and stand around smoking in the NJ cold throwing dirty looks at other people, thinking only of Kant or Hegel, which always made me want to 1) annoy them by bringing up Kant or Hegel, whichever one they didn't like, 2) shake them, and 3) ask why, if they were going to only care about philosophy, they were doing a degree in literature.

I am not sure what to make of the Spaniards in the book; I trust Lerner was well informed form his own experiences.

Lerner certainly brings up some interesting points throughout the book; to be a stranger in a language, to be a stranger in a crowd, to be someone pretending to be someone and then to pretend you pretended because you wanted to be free, and to be an American in a post-terror-attack in Madrid... Though I still wonder why his main character had to be so unlikable. ( )
  bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
the first 2 pages are really good
  poolspy | Aug 21, 2013 |
F Lerner
  coolmama | Jun 1, 2013 |
started off promisingly, well written and evocative, but soon became tediously solipsistic.
( )
  lxydis | May 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ben Lernerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In Madrid on a fellowship, a young American poet examines his ambivalence about authenticity.

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