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The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman
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The Teleportation Accident (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Ned Beauman

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3992326,786 (3.72)1 / 62
Member:Tifi
Title:The Teleportation Accident
Authors:Ned Beauman
Info:Sceptre (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Read, Germany, France, USA

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The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman (2012)

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English (22)  Dutch (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
I almost stopped reading this a few times in parts I and II. In part III it develops into a more interesting story. ( )
  gregandlarry | Nov 29, 2014 |
A very original and very entertaining novel, brimming with sophistication, vainness and the insatiable desire of a young intellectual who hasn't got laid in a long time. It's a whimsical mix of several genres. Even if situated in a recognisable timeframe, the book is filled with tiny historical inaccuracies that somehow all serve to make the world in which the novel unfurls even more unbelievably realistic. Supernatural elements turn out to be quite banal fabrications while sound science reveals dark Lovecraftian mysteries. Literal references abound, historical figures mix with complete fabrications and recurring characters predictably turn out where they're the least expected. Somber historical events are treated lightly but with respect. I don't often laugh out loud when I read, but this one had me giggling on my subway seat. Truly genius. ( )
  timtom | Oct 24, 2014 |
The best new novel I've read so far this year, The Teleportation Accident will be released in the United States this February. It is also perhaps the best blurb-description of a novel I've ever read and worth reproducing in full since I personally could not do this much justice to a summary/tease:

"HISTORY HAPPENED WHILE YOU WERE HUNGOVER

When you haven't had sex in a long time, it feels like the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone.

If you're living in Germany in the 1930s, it probably isn't.

But that's no consolation to Egon Loeser, whose carnal misfortunes will push him from the experimental theatres of Berlin to the absinthe bars of Paris to the physics laboratories of Los Angeles, trying all the while to solve two mysteries: whether it was really a deal with Satan that claimed the life of his hero, the great Renaissance stage designer Adriano Lavicini; and why a handsome, clever, charming, modest guy like him can't, just once in a while, get himself laid.

From the author of the acclaimed Boxer, Beetle comes a historical novel that doesn't know what year it is; a noir novel that turns all the lights on; a romance novel that arrives drunk to dinner; a science fiction novel that can't remember what 'isotope' means; a stunningly inventive, exceptionally funny, dangerously unsteady and (largely) coherent novel about sex, violence, space, time, and how the best way to deal with history is to ignore it.

LET'S HOPE THE PARTY WAS WORTH IT"


The Teleportation Accident is hilarious, fascinating, moving and spellbinding. It mostly covers the 1930s and 1940s, mostly in Berlin, Paris and Los Angeles. But the political situation is buried deep in the background as the protagonist is almost completely indifferent to politics (the closest he comes is a funny scene where he joins a Nazi book burning, thinking it is performance art and also relishing the chance to burn a book about his social scene that made the egregious faux pas of omitting him entirely). Instead it is portrays the cultural life, especially theater, and parodies the many hangers on that world.

While scene by scene it is like a madcap improvisation, it also has a plot that keeps you engaged and a thematic coherence.

I will certainly be moving Beauman's other book, "Boxer, Beetle", up to the top of my to read list. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
The Teleportation Accident is one of the most entertaining novels I've read for a long while, and one gets the sense of a writer having a whale of a time with his creations and thinking up wonderful similies.

As his name implies, Egon Loeser is something of a loser, a set designer on hopelessly pretentious productions in early 1930s Berlin. He has two obsessions, the 17th century set designer Adriano Lavacini, and the divine Adele Hitler (no relation), who seems to sleep with everyone except him.

Lavacini built a teleportation device in one of his designs with tragic consequences for his audience, resulting in several deaths. Loeser has a similar experience resulting in serious injury to an actor, the joke being the actor doesn't mind as his injuries give him, um, additional flexibility his sexual partners find very rewarding.

Loeser is blissfully unaware of the rise of Nazism - in one scene, he comes upon a book burning and joins in, thinking it a performance art event - but leaves the country anyway in 1934 in pursuit of Adele, first to Paris and then Los Angeles. Along the way he encounters several brilliantly bizarre creations such as Scramsfield, a fabulist conman in Paris who claims to be pals with "Jimmy" Joyce, and Colonel Gorge, a wealthy industrialist with a mental illness leaving him unable to distinguish between reality and its representation.

Egon eventually stumbles upon Adele as the assistant to Bailey, an insane scientist at CalTech in LA building - guess what - a teleportation device! This is not a novel for those requiring realism in their reading.

Will Loeser get the woman of his dreams, or will he have to settle for his Midnight at the Nursing Academy, his favourite "adult" reading, once he can lay his hands on Colonel Gorge's copy? Will the teleportation device work? Who is murdering Bailey's colleagues? Does sewing monkey testicles to women's necks slow the aging process? Will Loeser ever finish epic German novel Berlin Alexanderplatz? Some of these questions might be answered in the four alternative endings Beauman offers but The Teleportation Accident is such a delirious, surreal and superbly funny ride that a lot of the time this reader didn't care. Wonderful. ( )
  Grammath | Apr 24, 2014 |
Hilarious read and also tragic in turns this was one of those very few books I did not want to end the more I read. So much happens that it is impossible to describe the story here. Read it and you will not be disappointed. If you don't like it then there is something wrong with you. ( )
  polarbear123 | Apr 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Egon Loeser, the sex-starved German stage designer at the heart of this strange and brilliant novel by Ned Beauman, is obsessed with two things. The first is a girl, inauspiciously called Adele Hitler, who he meets in Thirties Berlin, where the book begins. The second is Adriano Lavincini, a late Renaissance Venetian stage-designer who, in 1677, caused part of a Parisian theatre to collapse with his teleportation device – the accident referred to in the title.

Loeser follows Adele from Berlin to Paris and Los Angeles, in the hope that she will eventually sleep with him. On the way, he meets a cast of eccentrics: a caddish Brit, Rupert Rackenham, who seduces Adele and steals the Lavincini story for his novel (and who writes for The Daily Telegraph); a physics professor trying to build his own teleportation device; an Angeleno bookseller who collects science fiction by H P Lovecraft and a con-man in Paris who tries to pass off his own work as an undiscovered novel by F Scott Fitzgerald.

Beauman, whose first novel Boxer, Beetle (2010) interwove the stories of a modern-day collector of Nazi memorabilia with that of a homosexual Jewish boxer in the 1930s, is blisteringly funny, witty and erudite. A series of dazzling metaphors and similes pinpoint an experience exactly: the physics professor, for example, “had that odd conversational manner of some scientists… that is so doggedly awkward that it sometimes seems to verge upon flirtation”. Only once or twice does this style, and off-beam subject matter, strain slightly. For the most part, however, Beauman manages to combine the intrigue of a thriller with the imagery of a comedy. It makes for an excellent read.
added by kidzdoc | editThe Telegraph, Ellen Hogan (Aug 6, 2012)
 
Living in Berlin just before the second world war, everything goes wrong for Egon Loeser, and it has nothing to do with the Nazis. In Ned Beauman's terrific second novel, longlisted this week for the Booker, his protagonist, a German set designer, is too sex-starved, self-pitying and, usually, hungover to notice that history is happening all around him.

At one point, just before he leaves Berlin to chase a girl named Adele Hitler (no relation), Loeser sees a group of what he thinks are students holding a bonfire outside the library. He assumes it is "some sort of silly art performance" and joins in, cheerfully burning the books of writers he envies. This comes at the end of a section titled Literary Realism – a dig at the one genre that doesn't know it's a genre – after which the book veers gleefully through hardboiled noir, SF, murder-mystery and romance, distorting each in turn.

There is so much pleasure in the unstable elements of the story that I couldn't help feel a loss as the wheels of the plot started to turn. Luckily, the setting up of various false leads, reveals and tricks are worth it for the brilliant finale. If there was ever any worry that he might have crammed all his ideas into his first book, the prize-winning Boxer, Beetle, this makes it clear he kept a secret bunker of his best ones aside.
added by kidzdoc | editThe Guardian, John Dunthorne (Jul 26, 2012)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ned Beaumanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baardman, GerdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cárdenas, Juan SebastiánTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Detje, RobinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mingiardi, VincenzoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scherpenisse, WimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I hate politics and belief in politics, because it makes men arrogant, doctrinaire, obstinate and inhuman. Thomas Mann, Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man
...all I had to do was go down into the subway. It was like fishing down there. Go down into the subway and come up with a girl. Philip Roth, The Human Stain
Dedication
First words
When you knock a bowl of sugar on to your host's carpet, it is a parody of the avalanche that killed his mother and father, just as the duck's beak that your new girlfriend's lips form when she attempts a seductive pout is a quotation of the quacking noise your last girlfriend made during sex.
Quotations
...In Pasadena, motorised sleighs were rolling along the streets like tanks, men in Santa Claus costumes were standing guard on corners like infantry, and carols were blaring from loudspeakers like patriotic anthems. As far as he could tell, Christmas here was equivalent to a sort of martial law.
There was enough ice in her voice for a serviceable daiquiri.
This is infernal... It's as if they've decided to incorporate the eventual hangover directly into the flavour as a sort of omen.
As a result, no doubt, of some bureaucratic oversight, Sunset Boulevard had a beginning and a middle but no end.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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When you haven't had sex in a long time, it feels like the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone. If you're living in Germany in the 1930s, it probably isn't. But that's no consolation to Egon Loeser, whose carnal misfortunes will push him from the experimental theatres of Berlin to the absinthe bars of Paris to the physics laboratories of Los Angeles, trying all the while to solve two mysteries: whether it was really a deal with Satan that claimed the life of his hero, the great Renaissance stage designer Adriano Lavicini; and why a handsome, clever, charming, modest guy like him can't, just once in a while, get himself laid. From the author of the acclaimed Boxer, Beetle comes a historical novel that doesn't know what year it is; a noir novel that turns all the lights on; a romance novel that arrives drunk to dinner; a science fiction novel that can't remember what 'isotope' means; a stunningly inventive, exceptionally funny, dangerously unsteady and (largely) coherent novel about sex, violence, space, time, and how the best way to deal with history is to ignore it.… (more)

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