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Q by Luther Blissett

Q (original 1999; edition 2005)

by Luther Blissett

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1,139307,185 (3.95)33
Authors:Luther Blissett
Info:Mariner Books (2005), Paperback, 768 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Q by Wu Ming (1999)

  1. 01
    Altai by Wu Ming (Panairjdde)
    Panairjdde: Altai is the sequel, sort of, set several years later with another main character.
  2. 01
    Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Same sense of place, same detailed descriptions of nature and surviving in harsh nature. It takes place in roughly the same area, only earlier in time.
  3. 01
    Imprimatur by Rita Monaldi (Panairjdde)
    Panairjdde: I enjoyed the same atmosphere, even if the setting and the mechanism of the plot is different
  4. 01
    Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf by David Madsen (Panairjdde)
    Panairjdde: The plot is similar (a gnostic dwarf at the service of a Roman Catholic cardinal at the beginning of the XVIth century), but more lighthearthed and less historically researched

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» See also 33 mentions

English (22)  Italian (5)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Historical religious fiction, reveals the power of religion to corrupt and be subverted by the rich and already powerful. A challenging read, partly because of the format, with one of the 2 narrators, who both remain anonymous for most of the book, writes spy reports back to his boss, a corrupt cardinal who has long term aspirations to become pope himself. Exposes bankers as political opportunists, even back in the 1500s. ( )
  celerydog | Aug 8, 2014 |
Sicuramente una lettura appassionante, alterna alti (Munster) e bassi (Venezia e in generale tutta la parte finale). In certi casi lo stile dei vari autori tende a prevalere sulla storia (mi riferisco ad esempio a tutta la prima parte), ma nonostante le 640 pagine � una lettura che, superate le prime difficolt��, scorre molto velocemente. ( )
  Marco_Soldo | Jul 9, 2013 |

This is a novel set between 1518 and 1555, mostly in Germany with excursions to surrounding countries, about a radical Anabaptist and the papal agent who pursues him through the sixteenth century's wars of religion. It has had a lot of attention particularly in Italy ("Luther Blissett" is apparently a pseudonym for four Italian writers) and is seen by some as a metaphor for modern global politics, and/or in the Umberto Eco tradition of The Name of the Rose.

I wasn't completely satisfied with it. I thought that the nameless hero's story of shifting identity and conflict was quite well realised, with lots of grim and effective contemporary detail, even though it wasn't really clear until close to the end that this was going anywhere, but Hilary Mantel pursued a similar idea rather better in Wolf Hall. The Q sub-plot, however, annoyed me; much of it is told in letters ostensibly written by Q to his patron in Rome which totally fail to get the contemporary idiom (and necessarily include much info-dumping); and the final revelation of Q's identity was disappointing. ( )
  nwhyte | Sep 14, 2012 |
How can someone make money out of a book like this? It is released under Creative Common license, which means everyone can spread it, also in parts, as long as it is clearly stated who the author is. But there is no clear author. Luther Blisset is not a physical person; it is a collective name behind which several authors are hidden. I have read other things from Luther Blisset, but this is definitively something different, and something better. This is a novel about the dark era of Reformation. It is clear that Luther's ideas worked only because they served the interests of some german princes. Luther trait was clear to everyone from the beginning. He revolted to the pope only to create his own church. Others continued with his ideas, added some better. In the Netherlands communions were formed were goods were shared among everyone, and where unions were not formalized by weddings. Kids would not be baptized, because it does not make any sense to force a faith on them. But all these theological disputes, all the battles in Münster, the Concilio in Trento, were just a big farce. Everything actually revolved around the power battles between Carl V and the Pope, the Sultan Suliman the Greatl behind them the bankers, as always.

At the end of the book, only the consciousness that religion is the food for the stupid, and that history commands our acts much more than we would like to. ( )
  Peppuzzo | Aug 14, 2011 |
This fascinating book tells the story of the middle years of the 16th century in Europe, through the voices of two protagonists. One is a Protestant, who over the course of the book becomes increasingly allied to the Anabaptists, one of the most extreme Protestant sects. The Anabaptists, who practiced re-baptism and preached social and ecclesiastical anarchy, were hated and persecuted by the followers of Luther and Calvin no less than by the servants of the Pope. The other protagonist is a spy in the service of a powerful cardinal who provides a narrative of the events in Germany and Italy and also acts as an agent provocateur. These two mortal enemies share a surprisingly similar world view of a world which is foreign to us in this century, and yet some reviewers have read Luther Blisset's book as a metaphor of Europe in teh 20th century.
The real names of the protagonists are never revealed, and they each go by various aliases throughout the book, which can be a bit confusing at times. The book is translated from the Italian, and contains explicit scatological language which will not come as a surprise to anyone who has studied the writings and sayings of Luther, but which sound strange to modern ears on the lips of Protestant preachers and their congregations.
Q provides an interesting slant on the Protestant reformation for anyone interested in this period. It also provides an interesting perspective on the participation and survival of Sephardic Judaism in Europe.
One really great thing about this book is that it is licensed under Creative Commons. This means that the text can be legally reproduced in electronic form, provided the author and copyright notice are acknowledged. Hopefully this is the way of publishing in the future. ( )
  1nbm | Feb 19, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Set Les Miserables in Reformation Europe, with Javert reporting to an evil cardinal instead of the prefect of police, and you’ll have something of this book.
added by melonbrawl | editKirkus Reviews (Mar 1, 2004)
Rich religious history is turned into bloated, tedious fiction in this Reformation-age epic produced by four anonymous writers lurking behind a pseudonym.
added by melonbrawl | editPublishers Weekly (Feb 2, 2004)

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wu Mingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Whiteside, ShaunTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed


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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156031965, Paperback)

The story of Q begins with the mystery surrounding the author(s). Luther Blissett, the "author" of Q is the name of a Jamaican soccer player who played for AC Milan in the early l980s. He was victimized by Italian fans, whose racist and nasty comments caused his career to take a dive. This hapless fellow inspired a group of Italian artists to appropriate his name and attach it to all manner of projects. There are Luther Blissetts writing, drawing, and carrying out elaborate hoaxes all over the world. Four young Italians in Bologna wrote Q in the mid 1990s. It remains a bestseller in Italy and has become a cult hit throughout Europe.

Q is set at the time of the Reformation. After Luther hangs his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church, nothing is ever the same in the hallowed halls of Christianity. One of the sects which sprang up during the Reformation was the Anabaptists, Christians who discredited infant baptism and believed that the Bible was the only rule for faith and life. Q follows the adventures of a student of Thomas Munzer, Anabaptist and leader of the abortive Peasants' Revolt of 1524-25, who goes under many names, the first of which is Gustav Metzger, and Q, a papal informer. These two travel throughout Europe, trying to suss out each other's identity, sending letters to Munzer and to the Pope, making friends and enemies, hating each other's deeply felt convictions. Metzger is staying one step ahead of the heretic hunters, bent on destroying all supporters of Luther.

The translation is rickety, at best. There are long, sonorous passages filled with the formal language of the times, and then a jarring change to modern slang. "On the point of death they all denied everything that had been extorted from them with torture: small consolation, and I don't know how many were able to die in peace because of it... It was November or December 1531, around the time Lienhard Jost kicked the bucket." There is a tremendous amount of scholarship contained in the novel and the blend of fact and fiction allows room for intrigue, politics, betrayal, and that ever-familiar conundrum of terror in the name of religion. At over 750 pages, it requires a great deal of patience and attention on the part of the reader, not all of which is richly rewarded. A final cavil: Wittenberg is misspelled in the jacket copy. --Valerie Ryan

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:02:45 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

With Europe convulsed in wars over religion, a young theology student finds himself siding with heretics and the disenfranchised while confronting an agent of the Vatican who is determined to hunt down and destroy enemies of the faith, in a meticulously rendered historical thriller set against the backdrop of the Reformation. Reprint.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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