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Het feest is voorbij by Joe Dunthorne
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Het feest is voorbij (edition 2011)

by Joe Dunthorne, Theo Scholten (Translator), Onno Voorhoeve (Translator)

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745162,398 (3.41)2
Member:jeetje
Title:Het feest is voorbij
Authors:Joe Dunthorne
Other authors:Theo Scholten (Translator), Onno Voorhoeve (Translator)
Info:Amsterdam Contact 2011
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

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Wild Abandon by Joe Dunthorne

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Showing 5 of 5
Wild Abandon offers a fun, slightly satirical portrait of a commune in contemporary Wales. The commune, Blaen-y-Llyn, has been running for twenty years. But in the timeframe of the novel just about everyone is trying to get out of it. The only one trying to keep everything together is Don, one of the founders and self-appointed leader, whose family members are the focal characters of the book. Don is a bit pompous, still dedicated to the virtues of home schooling, sustainable housing, and living off the electrical grid, but his wife, Freya, has had just about enough of his bombastic personality. His 17-year-old daughter Kate, is dying for a chance to live in the normal world, and actually runs away from the commune to live with her boyfriend's family in a standard suburban house for a while, and his son Albert is enthralled with the idea, promulgated by one of the commune's residents, that the Mayans were right and that a cataclysmic event will happen in 2012, and that only those prepared for it will be able to survive. Young Albert wants to start preparing for that event, but mostly in ways that let him act out his anger at his sister's departure, which he experiences as an abandonment. We also get to know Patrick, the moneybags of the operation, whose former success in the greeting card business and as a landlord now mostly bankroll the commune's operation. But after years of smoking too much pot, he's become excessively paranoid. In one funny scene, he goes berserk, running through the commune, thinking everyone's about to kill him, and breaking his ankle in an attempt to escape. In the end, he too is trying to get away from Don and put an end to his decades-long pining for a woman, Janet, who's given him mixed signals through the years but never returned his love and devotion. Throughout the book, there are lots of interesting insights about communal living - Freya the wife, for example, takes on the role of the community's butcher because no one else on the farm where they live, including her husband, has the guts to slaughter their livestock. The only drawback, at least initially, is that there are few sympathetic characters with a real dilemma that makes you want to keep turning the pages. At the outset, it's perfectly understandable why everyone wants to escape Don - he's controlling and full of himself. But, ironically, over the pages, Don becomes the most sympathetic character. His wife and daughter's attempts to separate are somewhat cruel and unfeeling, and over the course of the marvelous closing pages, when Don throws a blow-out party, hoping to lure everyone back, his attempts to win everyone over and then control his young son, Albert, who's gone a little crazy over this end-of-the-world idea and the separation from his sister, make Don the character you root for the most.
( )
  johnluiz | Aug 6, 2013 |
I saw and enjoyed the film of Submarine and was tempted to get the book but got this instead as I wanted to read something I didn't know.

It's about about a group of people who live in a commune in Wales. The community has dwindled and is may or may not be dying. The story largely follows the family of the unspoken leader of the group - his teenage daughter who increasingly just wants to pass her A-levels and have an normal life, his disaffected wife and his son who believes the end of the world is coming. In a way it is.

A fun read, laughed out loud in a couple of places. The story felt a little convoluted and I felt like there was a lack of coherence near the end (maybe I'm too used to movies with just a single climactic scene). However the ending itself was clever and an image that stays with you. ( )
  latepaul | Mar 29, 2013 |
A funny, sweet, gentle tale with a few nasty tricks up its sleeve. The setting - a Welsh commune - didn't really appeal, but I'm glad I gave it a go. 17-year-old Kate, with her yearning desire to escape her incredibly odd surroundings, was every bit as interesting as Submarine's young star. ( )
  alexrichman | Jan 7, 2013 |
Did I love the entire aspect of a novel centered around a commune? Most certainly. Did Joe Dunthorne carry out such an aspect rather well? Yes. Was I absolutely gripped into the plot? As soon as I started reading!

Dunthorne's novel provides an interesting setting for what's basically a combination coming-of-age and middle-age-crisis tale. Though I couldn't identify much personally with breakaway Kate, maturing Albert, in-control Don, or tired Freya, I could easily see where most of their actions and feelings were coming from, and I was quickly drawn into their stories. Dunthorne's writing and characters are captivating, though I must admit I didn't find most of his attempts at humor all that hilarious. Most of the novel is concerned with the gradual breaking apart of the Riley family and the community, not the party advertised in the blurb. Not that I minded this at all; by the time mentions of the party were first made, I thought, "Party? What party? The story's going swimmingly without the promised party!" Really, the party is my one issue with Wild Abandon. Don and the commune's reasons for it were not very well explained or developed, and I thought the last 1/4 of the book, which was a coverage of the "rave," did not live up to the excellence of the rest of the novel. I also feel like I missed some of the main points of the ending. I would have loved to see how the community re-flowered (and recuperated) from their massive all-night celebration, but alas, Dunthorne does not continue the story that far. Oh, well. The coming-of-age and other pivotal times of individual identity development were done wonderfully à la Nunez's also rather odd Salvation City (only even better), Wild Abandon is one of my favorite reads this year, and I'm seriously considering joining a commune after college. ( )
  SusieBookworm | Nov 16, 2011 |
Showing 5 of 5
"Dunthorne's debut, Submarine, was released as a film produced by Ben Stiller and became a quirky crowd favorite at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival; this second novel is primed to do the same. Think Juno or Bottle Rocket, then read the book."
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Christine Perkins (Nov 1, 2011)
 
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Kate and Albert, are not yet the last two human beings on Earth, but Albert is hopeful. The secluded communal farm they grew up on is disintegrating, taking their parents' marriage with it. They both try to escape: Kate, at 17, to a suburbia she reads about, and Albert, 11, into preparations for the end of the world.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 024114406X, 0141033959

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