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The House of Paper by Carlos Maria Dominguez
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The House of Paper (original 2004; edition 2005)

by Carlos Maria Dominguez

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4952920,650 (3.65)43
Member:gaskella
Title:The House of Paper
Authors:Carlos Maria Dominguez
Info:Harcourt (2005), Hardcover
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Novella, Fiction, South American, Fable, Books about books

Work details

The house of paper by Carlos María Domínguez (Author) (2004)

  1. 20
    Phantoms on the Bookshelves by Jacques Bonnet (razorsoccamremembers)
  2. 00
    The Shadow-Line by Joseph Conrad (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: The only connection between an earnest Edwardian novella and a rather wistful Latin American one is that the former plays an essential part in the latter. Shadow Line is the most accessible Conrad that I've read and though it's short on subtlety it's a rattling good story; Paper House has a melancholy charm and a theme that's no doubt a bit close to the bone for people who library thing . . .… (more)
  3. 00
    La Maison-Livre by Gerald Duchemin (CecileB)
    CecileB: Ce sont deux maisons dont la maçonnerie est faite grâce aux livres.
  4. 01
    2666 by Roberto Bolaño (Kordo)
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» See also 43 mentions

English (25)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Carlos Maria Dominguez
The House of Paper

Fiction
Carlos Maria Dominquez turns prose into poetry. He bequeaths visual treasures that you will turn over and over in your mind's eye as if exploring the facets of a rare gem. The House of Paper is a mystery, a quest, a dreamlike parable, and an expose of bibliomania. Take comfort that the characters and locales are exotic because the psychology and motivation will be disarmingly personal. Curiosity, passion, obsession, fear, and the sordid degradation and murder of that most cherished is all contained in these few pages beginning with the most intriguing of first lines:
"One day in the spring of 1998, Bluma Lennon bought a secondhand copy of Emily Dickinson's poems in a bookshop in Soho, and as she reached the second poem on the first street corner, she was knocked down by a car."
Warning: This book is infusive and in the event that you ever need a transplant will render you only compatible with other people who have been exposed to this book's transformative power.
Recommended January 2006
  dawsong | Jun 12, 2015 |
A lovely and somewhat disturbing book. very short. It makes its point in a magical realism sort of way and then like a whisper, it is gone.

The book is about the unfortunate and sudden death of Blouma Lennon, a lecturer in Hispanic Studies in Cambridge. She was run over by a car as she was crossing a street whilst reading a book of Emily Dickinson poetry.

What follows is a bizarre narrative concerning bibliophiles and their obsessive whims. The author/narrator answers some of the questions he raises but not all of it. It was a fun and interesting read. I am sure I will stay up nights obsessing over it, but then again, I obsess over a lot of things. ( )
  pw0327 | Jan 1, 2015 |
Ich hatte gerade den ersten Satz gelesen, als ich laut loslachen musste. Was für ein Beginn für ein Buch!!! Zum besseren Verständnis:
'Im Frühjahr 1998 kaufte Bluma Lennon in einer Buchhandlung von Soho eine alte Ausgabe der Gedichte von Emiliy Dickinson und wurde an der ersten Straßenecke, als sie gerade beim zweiten Gedicht angelangt war, von einem Auto überfahren.'
Welch ein Tod für Bücherwürmer ;-) Doch nicht jedes Buch führt zu solch radikalen Konsequenzen, aber in doch vielen Fällen zu durchaus markanten Einschnitten im Leben der Lesenden. Davon handelt diese Erzählung: welchen Einfluss Bücher haben, wie sie nach und nach das Leben eines Menschen in Besitz nehmen können bis kaum noch etwas anderes Raum einnimmt. Wie es auf unerklärliche Weise immer mehr werden, jedes Regal zu klein wird und über kurz oder lang keine freie Wand mehr vorhanden ist.
Das Ganze ist verpackt in eine stimmungsvolle, poetisch erzählte Geschichte über die Suche nach der Herkunft eines Buches, die nach Uruguay führt und in deren Verlauf man Personen kennenlernt, deren Bücherverrücktheit kaum Grenzen zu kennen scheint. Für die weniger Bücherbesessenen mag dies eher phantastisch klingen, alle anderen aber werden diese Erzählung vermutlich realistischer sehen und wahrscheinlich gewisse Ähnlichkeiten mit der eigenen Person feststellen. Mir ist es zumindest so ergangen ;-) ( )
  Xirxe | Dec 2, 2014 |
This is an amazing book about obsession. Our unnamed protagonist receives a book in a strange condition, and decides to find out who sent it and why. He discovers the sender, Mr. Bauer and his obsession with books. This short book is about the power of books to shape our lives. Beautiful writing. ( )
  LynnB | Jul 20, 2014 |
A book about books, the different meanings that books have for us. How an addiction for books can be taken too far, so maybe a bit of a precautionary tale as well. A very interesting book, with vivid and quotable prose. ( )
  Beamis12 | Nov 28, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Domínguez, Carlos MaríaAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sís, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Caistor, NickTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
In memory of the great Joseph.
First words
One day in the spring of 1998, Bluma Lennon bought a secondhand copy of Emily Dickinson's poems in a bookshop in Soho, and as she reached the second poem on the first street corner, she was knocked down by a car.
Quotations
It is often much harder to get rid of books than it is to acquire them. They stick to us in that pact of need and oblivion we make with them, witnesses to a moment in our lives we will never see again.

The truth is that in the end the size of a library does matter.

"How many books do you have?" I asked

"To tell the truth, I've given up counting. But I think there must be around eighteen thousand. I've been buying books here and there ever since I can remember. To build up a library is to create a life. It's never just a random collection of books."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0151011478, Hardcover)

Bluma Lennon, distinguished professor of Latin American literature at Cambridge, is hit by a car while crossing the street, immersed in a volume of Emily Dickinson's poems. Several months after her untimely demise, a package arrives for her from Argentina-a copy of a Conrad novel, encrusted in cement and inscribed with a mysterious dedication. Bluma's successor in the department (and a former lover) travels to Buenos Aires to track down the sender, one Carlos Brauer, who turns out to have disappeared.

The last thing known is that he moved to a remote stretch of the Uruguayan coastline and built himself a house out of his enormous and valuable library. How he got there, and why, is the subject of this seductive novel-part mystery, part social comedy, and part examination of all the many forms of bibliomania.

Charmingly illustrated by Peter Sís, The House of Paper is a tribute to the strange and passionate relationship between people and their books.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:38 -0400)

"Bluma Lennon, distinguished professor of Latin American literature at Cambridge, is hit by a car while crossing the street, immersed in a volume of Emily Dickinson's poems. Several months after her untimely demise, a package arrives for her from Argentina - a copy or a Conrad novel, encrusted in cement and inscribed with a mysterious dedication. Bluma's successor in the department (and a former lover) travels to Buenos Aires to track down the sender, one Carlos Brauer, who turns out to have disappeared." "The last thing known is that he moved to a remote stretch of the Uruguayan coastline and built himself a house out of his enormous and valuable library. How he got there, and why, is the subject of this seductive novel - part mystery, part social comedy, and part examination of all the many forms of bibliomania." "Illustrated by Peter Sis, The House of Paper is a tribute to the strange and passionate relationship between people and their books."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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