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Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town…
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Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

by Cory Doctorow

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» See also 44 mentions

English (45)  French (1)  All (46)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
Off. The. Wall.

Those are really the only words I can find to describe this bizarre story. A family of boys named in alphabetical order, father is a mountain, mother is a washing machine. The boys' names change from one mention to another but always starting with assigned letter. A... is the oldest and most (?) normal. He is compulsively organized and has a data base of every item he owns including scans of the purchase receipts. He moves into an apartment, sets to completely restoring it, then heads next door to meet his neighbors, a bunch of young people sharing rent. One of them is a bartender, gets home late and practices his guitar. A... offers to soundproof their adjoining wall.

The story portrays A...'s struggle with brother D... who is a psychopathic murderer who has killed A...'s girlfriend and one of the other brothers. He also learns about the deep dark secret of one of his neighbors and tries to help her.

The recording I listened to from Overdrive was rife with skips and it was easy to distinguish edited segments. It was distracting. Bronson Pinchot did an admirable job of making different voices.

I would recommend this book to someone who is looking for something a little dark, and totally different. ( )
  mamzel | Apr 16, 2017 |
Only read half of this ( well written nonsense ) ( )
  Baku-X | Jan 10, 2017 |
Doctorow's a really interesting person – editor of the "blog" BoingBoing.net (which always has links to really cool stuff on a regular basis), college dropout and professor at the University of California, Locus & Campbell Award winner & Nebula nominee, pro-Creative Commons activist, and all-around emblem of geek-cool.
"Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town" is Doctorow's third novel, but the first I've read. Stylistically and thematically, it reminded me of Will Shetterly-meets-Neil Gaiman-meets-Neal Stephenson...
It's a hard book to describe... because it's very odd. The ‘someone' is Alan (or at least, his name starts with an ‘A.') He knows he's not human. Or is he? His father is a mountain, and his mother, a washing machine. (Literally. However, the book isn't as absurdist as that fact would make you guess.) He has brothers... all at least as strange as he... and some of them much more sinister.
Alan is the one who can most easily ‘pass' – and when the book opens, he has moved into town, fixed up a house, and is planning to write something great, for posterity. However, events may have something else in mind... all too soon, he's mixed up with the girl next door (who has her own bizarre secrets), and is also drawn into the schemes of a new friend, a punk rocker with dreams of free wireless access for all...
I do think the structure of the book would have been improved if its ideas (which Doctorow shows obvious enthusiasm for) had more strongly intersected with or been more relevant to the fantastic elements – but still, this was a strikingly original and entertaining book.
As with all of Doctorow's works, he has made the entire text of the novel downloadable for free – it's at: http://craphound.com/someone/download.php. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
3.5 * (rather than 4) A slight markdown because there is something persistently irritating about Doctorow's writing, despite all the interesting ideas and unusual characters -- odd tics in the story resulting (too often I think) from his fidgety and unrelenting fetish for all things geeky? Or just a thread of self-consciousness that bleeds through the ostensible narration? And while obviously this novel is a fantasy, I am more willing to accept the nature of the unusual characters in the story much more readily that some of the geeky tech fantasies; for example that a bunch of homeless kids can assemble hundreds of reliably-working wifi nodes out of circuit boards scavenged from dumpsters in a relatively small area of downtown Toronto, one bit of Doctorow-ish geek optimism that strains -- breaks -- credulity but is central to the story.

Anyhow, it was an interesting read, and a very quick one as well: it's a page turner and I think the font was larger than usual in a trade edition. For all my griping, Doctorow is always worth the effort despite his sometimes annoying aspects. ( )
  ronhenry | Nov 17, 2015 |
Doctorow weird if that makes sense. The fathers a mountain and the mom is a washing machine. Seriously. ( )
  kspence | May 19, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
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Cory Doctorowprimary authorall editionscalculated
McKean, DaveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Alan sanded the house on Wales Avenue.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765312808, Paperback)

Alan is a middle-aged entrepeneur in contemporary Toronto, who has devoted himself to fixing up a house in a bohemian neighborhood. This naturally brings him in contact with the house full of students and layabouts next door, including a young woman who, in a moment of stress, reveals to him that she has wings--wings, moreover, which grow back after each attempt to cut them off.

Alan understands. He himself has a secret or two. His father is a mountain; his mother is a washing machine; and among his brothers are a set of Russian nesting dolls.

Now two of the three nesting dolls, Edward and Frederick, are on his doorstep--well on their way to starvation, because their innermost member, George, has vanished. It appears that yet another brother, Davey, who Alan and his other siblings killed years ago, may have returned...bent on revenge.

Under such circumstances it seems only reasonable for Alan to involve himself with a visionary scheme to blanket Toronto with free wireless Internet connectivity, a conspiracy spearheaded by a brilliant technopunk who builds miracles of hardware from parts scavenged from the city's dumpsters. But Alan's past won't leave him alone--and Davey is only one of the powers gunning for him and all his friends.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:39 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Having recently moved to a bohemian Toronto neighborhood, Alan learns his next-door neighbor's struggle to conceal her wings and hides his own secrets about his unusual family, which includes Russian nesting doll brothers.

» see all 2 descriptions

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