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The Book Of Ebenezer Le Page (New York…
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The Book Of Ebenezer Le Page (New York Review Books Classics) (original 1981; edition 2007)

by G. B. Edwards, John Fowles (Introduction)

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6112415,963 (4.31)33
Member:sbodmer
Title:The Book Of Ebenezer Le Page (New York Review Books Classics)
Authors:G. B. Edwards
Other authors:John Fowles (Introduction)
Info:NYRB Classics (2007), Paperback, 424 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Guernsey

Work details

The Book of Ebenezer Le Page by G. B. Edwards (1981)

  1. 00
    The Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo (Widsith)
    Widsith: Two sprawling tales of Guernsey life, one from the great French Romantic master and one from a neo-Romantic native Guernseyman.
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» See also 33 mentions

English (21)  French (2)  Italian (1)  All (24)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
stopped at about a third, after having finished part one. the book lacks structure and meanders on without a clear line or plot. it is more of a diary than a novel, entertaining for a while, but too monotonous in the end. ( )
  stef7sa | Jan 5, 2017 |
Ebenezer describes his island world of Guernsey. Hah. He would love that understatement. Its hard to describe the gentle tug of this book. It seems like just chatter and small talk as he muses on his life including the impacts of the First and Second World Wars on an insular community. He is only providing the daily details of a single life but they pull you into a rich story with much to say about being human and being part of a community. Ebenezer is odd, crotchety, sweet, loving, lonely, kind, sedate and then violent. He is utterly genuine. ( )
  77nanci | Nov 30, 2016 |
A crabby old man looks back on his life. Narrated in the Guernsey dialect, it's hard to follow until you get used to Ebenezer's way of speaking. Odd and wonderful book with a heartbreaking ending. ( )
  HenryKrinkle | Jul 23, 2014 |
Beautiful fine focus on one man's life. I'd say a small life, but no life is small, and Edwards proves this amply. Warm, compassionate, never sentimental... not a feel-good book, but the right thing to read when nothing in the world feels good.

A friend borrowed this years ago, and I'm feeling the need to get it back. ( )
2 vote lisapeet | Oct 11, 2013 |
I feel inadequate to the task of reviewing this book. It's like asking me to review a person, which is impossible. But that's what this book is. More than any other character I've encountered in a book, Ebenezer comes fully fleshed. I loved him deeply, despite his flaws (or because of them), and because he doesn't bullshit. He has lived eighty odd years and he has no time for bullshit, his or anyone else's, and no reason to either. His language is rich, colloquial. Some will say quaint with a negative connotation, but quaint can also be a positive quality in a world where we are pulled apart by technology, tourism, and material goods, so much so that we can't truly see each other for who we are underneath all that.

The book is divided into three parts, and each with 20 chapters, and each chapter is almost OCD-like in their exact length. I imagined Ebenezer scrawling in his notebook, night after night and story after story, and just stopping when he got to the end of the page. Obviously Edwards (the author of this incredible book) was not Ebenezer, but he created a character through which the book is so real that it feels more a product of this character's handwriting and temperament than the author's own. Which is no easy task because Ebenezer is a complete outsider. He is not someone who's read Literature with a capital L. He's lived his entire life on a small island, and that's a refreshingly wonderful perspective in the world of smart, witty, worldly narrators.

The voice here is meandering and charming. It reminded me of listening to my own grandfather recount stories of his youth. They are almost inconsequential in that the stories don't seem to build into a grander narrative. But precisely because of this inconsequentiality they are rich with characterization and unhurried in their depiction of place, speech, customs, and people. But in part two, we see more of a bigger story building. And by part three, most of the important things in his life have already happened, and we are left with the feeling of being out of time--we are stranded on an island with Ebenezer, looking for a bit of humanity when everyone we love has gone. Stranded on an island with strangers, living in the past.

I related on so many levels with Ebenezer. Like me, he's super critical of others, but when he finds someone he really likes, he goes soft and will walk to the ends of the earth for them. The idea of innocents, Horace in Raymond's eyes, and Jim in Ebenezer's eyes--I am not sure if Ebenezer is not himself one of the innocents, in my eyes.

My review truly does not do this book justice. This is one of the most alive books I've read, and I couldn't help laughing and sobbing (sometimes simultaneously!) through parts of it. It really is that good. Or rather, it is beyond good or bad, it breathes. Now is probably a good time to stop reading this stupid fucking inarticulate review, and go get a copy of this book. NOW! ( )
2 vote JimmyChanga | Sep 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
IN his introduction to this posthumous novel by a writer hitherto unknown, John Fowles says, ''There may have been stranger recent literary events than the book you are about to read, but I rather doubt it.'' Gerald Basil Edwards (1899-1976) finished this book in 1974, only to have it turned down - incredibly -by publisher after publisher. Yet ''The Book of Ebenezer Le Page'' is one of the best novels of our time.
added by SimoneA | editNew York Times, Guy Davenport (Apr 19, 1981)
 

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
G. B. Edwardsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Deighton, G.A.Prefacesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bell, VanessaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fowles, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Edward and Lisa Chaney
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Guernsey, Guernesey, Garnsai, Sarnia: so they say.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394516516, Hardcover)

Ebenezer Le Page, a man of the Channel 4 Islands, tells his story from the moment we meet him; in mid sentence, we are spellbound. He is funny and contrary with a furious, loving attachment to the past and an old man's querulous ness towards the now. His is a life crammed rich with family quarrels, tragedies, and neighboring feuds that reach across generations and between sexes. A remarkable creation, this is a hypnotic story of enduring friendships and sorrows, joys and loves, kinships and animosities, a brilliant and intricate novel - a classic.

Edwards has created a unique voice. In his introduction, John Fowles tells us that Edwards "...manages...despite the way characters meander almost haphazardly in and out of his pages, despite the minute stitch of social detail, to carry us through with him, at times to the point where we no longer care how inconsequential or digressive the story becomes, as long as that voice is still speaking."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:29 -0400)

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