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Memoir from Antproof Case : a novel by Mark…
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Memoir from Antproof Case : a novel (edition 1995)

by Mark Helprin

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677714,123 (3.86)17
Member:buffalopoet
Title:Memoir from Antproof Case : a novel
Authors:Mark Helprin
Info:New York : Harcourt Brace & Co., c1995.
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Rating:***1/2
Tags:american literature, novel, contemporary novel, coffee, 1st edition

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Memoir from Antproof Case by Mark Helprin

Recently added byallthingswords, Laura112464, mgnm, private library, rudidorn, JamesMScott, sibyx, Swade0710, AFConiglio
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    A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin (AmberA)
    AmberA: Two of my favorite books! Both very well-written.
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An 80-year old American, living on his remote perch overlooking the Brazilian coast, puts to paper - and to us- his life story. And it's an unconventional life story to say the least. Forced into adulthood early, a tragic altercation prompted by his fanatical hatred of coffee lands him in a Swiss insane asylum. Later, at 40, he becomes an ace fighter pilot in WWII, twice surviving bailouts; meets and eventually repels the love of his life; becomes a brilliant economic-political scout for a huge investment bank; and, upon cruel demotion, schemes to relieve the bank of a few thousand gold bricks, a preposterous undertaking that the author somehow makes credible. Rather late in the telling we learn of the horrible family tragedy that informs our narrator's oddities, including his unflagging disdain for the coffee bean. An emotional revelation. The entire story has a larger- than-life essence, and in fact verges into the realm of fantasy again and again. Unique and well written, the best advice is to just jump aboard and be transported. The book reminds me of "The Tin Drum" by Grass, and Robertson Davies' " Fifth Business". ( )
  JamesMScott | Jul 25, 2014 |
An amazing story of an incredible life. Helprin is a phenomenal writer who draws you into the work. One of my favourite books of all time. ( )
  drsnowdon | Jul 26, 2010 |
This is one of my favorite of Helprin's exquisite novels, with some of his very best writing. The ending is one of the most perfect that I've ever read. ( )
  wanack | Apr 11, 2010 |
A quick reading long story. Memoir of a man's entire life racked and lifted by events within and beyond his control. A well written book which certainly calls into question the protagonists' self opinions.
I may never drink coffee again-that's not true but it could happen after absorbing this Author's whimsical driftings through time, space and thought. How bad is it to be rich? How difficult is it to have murdered a teacher? Is a crash landing all it's made out to be? First love burns as intensely as your desire to keep reading this story's 'vistas', travels and moments of self-reflection. Franque ( )
1 vote franque23 | Mar 5, 2009 |
Mark Helprin is one of my favorite authors, because of his ability to combine hilarious absurdity with moving earnestness. We see this quality in Memoir, although we have to work a bit harder to discern what's going on than I did with the previous Helprin novels I read, Winter's Tale and Freddy and Fredericka (F&F was my favorite book of 2008).

In Memoir, our narrator is an eighty-year-old man, born in the US, orphaned, raised in a Swiss home for the insane, educated at Harvard... we learn all these details in different sections of the memoir. He is now nearing the end of his life, teaching English as a second language in Brazil, cheerfully training his students to greet guests of high rank with choice obscenities. He reflects on his experiences as a pilot in WWII, his life as an investment banker, the many women he has loved, and his incessant war against the world's greatest source of evil, coffee. He is focused on protecting his memories and the people who have populated them; hence the antproof case in which his memoir is stored.

Helprin's style supports his narrator's bravado and his quasi-magical view of the world. He combines lyrical descriptions with improbable incidents, personal insights with absurd obsessions. I enjoy his writing tremendously, but he wanders quite a bit in this novel; it's more work than others I've read, which is not in itself a problem, but the reward is somewhat less. I suspect more would become clear with a re-read, but it's a long book, and there are many others waiting to be read. Recommended, but not as highly as others of his. ( )
2 vote Jim53 | Jan 1, 2009 |
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By indirections find directions out. - Hamlet, II i
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Call me Oscar Progresso.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0151000972, Hardcover)

From the bestselling author of A Winter's Tale and A Soldier of the Great War comes a work of astounding prose. Helprin combines adventure, satire, flights of transcendence, and high comedy with memories of a place that no longer exists to tell the story of a man who, in the face of the world's cruelty, refuses to stop loving.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The bittersweet memoir of an aging man-of-the-world. In a tone tinged with humor and regret he describes his many lives, from banker to fighter pilot, to inmate of a mental asylum, commenting on every subject under the sun, including his visceral hate of coffee.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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