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City by Alessandro Baricco
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City (original 1999; edition 2001)

by Alessandro Baricco

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542718,513 (3.59)15
Member:vuh
Title:City
Authors:Alessandro Baricco
Info:Helsinki: WSOY, 2001. 330 s. ; 21 cm.
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:novel, fiction

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City by Alessandro Baricco (1999)

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English (3)  Italian (2)  Catalan (1)  Greek (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (8)
Showing 3 of 3
So I finally finished this book.

I REALLY wanted to like it. The idea of the book is great, and I think the overarching story is the best part of the book by far. For me, the stories within the story weren't nearly as good. They felt like a slow distraction, and they were just kind of silly. I guess they were insights into the characters who "wrote" them, but the subject matter of those stories within stories--a western and a story about boxing--just couldn't have been much less appealing for me personally. Maybe it's because I abandoned the book for a long time before going back to finish it, but the end went SO SLOWLY for me. Usually, by the time I get to the end of a book I'm zipping along, curious to see what happens next and how it will all end. Sadly, I just kind of wanted to get this one over with. It's too bad, because the basic premise really is interesting. ( )
  tercat | Feb 6, 2014 |
One of those books I saw at Borders & picked up because of the cover but bought because the first 2 pages just sucked me in. I may read it again -- i feel like it flew by. ( )
  evanroskos | Mar 30, 2013 |
I am really not sure what to say about this one. It is billed as being a metaphysical pulp fiction - didn't know that when I picked this one up! - and I can agree that the metaphysical is present: the examinations of Monet's Waterlilies and the topography of rivers as well as the idea of man as a porch are examples that jump out at me, as well as the pulp fiction angle. While this book didn't make a lot of sense to me, I take it that it isn't supposed to in the normal sense. This was more of a sad, surreal meandering experience with weird characters and unreliable narrators - Gould's imaginary friends do a fair bit of the talking here, including the 'mute' one, Poomerang. It is recommended that the reader wrap their mind around that and get comfortable with the idea before diving too far into this one.

Shatzy's spaghetti western and Gould's underdog boxer Larry 'Lawyer' Gorman tend to steal the show at times, and a good thing too as they are relief from the heavier metaphysical elements. Overall, when reading this one it is best to just let all that is going on wash over you.... otherwise you might find yourself hopeless lost trying to decipher the hidden meanings that might... or might not... exist. The layers of stories became hypnotic for me with some really good comic bits worked into this exploratory work. An exploratory work that would fail except for the skilled writing of Baricco and Goldstein's translation which keeps the story conversational in tone.

What really surprised me is how different City is from Baricco's other works - namely the stunning and lyrically beautiful Silk and the quietly thought provoking Emmaus. I never expected this style of writing/genre to exist in Baricco's repertoire. Once I got past the shock, I was able to settle in and enjoy the book.

Part of me wonders what I will be in for when I pick up my next Baricco to read..... ( )
2 vote lkernagh | Sep 9, 2012 |
Showing 3 of 3
It is this kind of authorial sleight of hand that will endear Baricco to some and infuriate others. But City stands as a laudable attempt to create a 21st-century Tristram Shandy.
 
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'Nou, meneer Klauser, moet Mami Jane sterven?'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375725482, Paperback)

The author of the international bestseller Silk now delivers a ravishing and wildly inventive novel about friendship, genius and its discontents, and the redemptive power of narrative. Somewhere in America lives a brilliant boy named Gould, an intellectual guided missile aimed at the Nobel Prize. His only companions are an imaginary giant and an imaginary mute. Improbably—and yet with impeccable logic--he falls into the care of Shatzy Shell, a young woman whose life up till that point has been equally devoid of human connection .

Theirs is a relationship of stories and of stories within stories: of Gould’s evolving saga of an underdog boxer and the violent Western that Shatzy has been dictating into a tape recorder since the age of six. Out of these stories, Alessandro Baricco creates a masterpiece of metaphysical pulp fiction that recalls both Scheherazade and Italo Calvino. By turns exhilarating and deeply moving, City is irresistible.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:17 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Describes in a general sense the kind of people who inhabit the neighbourhoods and streets of a large city.

(summary from another edition)

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