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Firmin by Sam Savage
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Firmin (2006)

by Sam Savage

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,5531107,048 (3.42)138
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» See also 138 mentions

English (77)  Spanish (13)  French (6)  Italian (6)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Romanian (1)  Portuguese (1)  Hungarian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (112)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
This is such a strange little book, but it's also a fascinating ride which is put together masterfully. Savage's novel, told from the perspective of a rat living in Boston, is kind of wonderfully odd and believable in terms of the life it creates, and although I'm not sure how it ended up on my shelves, I'm glad it did. The pairing of a soulful, lonely rat against a Boston bookstore and a search for meaning and entertainment has its own sort of beauty, and I can only imagine that many readers will be wonderfully surprised by this book.

Recommended. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Jun 9, 2018 |
I'm not sure why I like this book (is it because we had a pet rat?) but it was a sweetly, sad, entertaining book narrated by Firmin, a rat. He is an unusual rat because he finds he can read after eating a couple pages from Moby Dick and Finnegan's Wake. He lives in a bookstore, so he reads a lot. And he reads over the shoulder of the bookstore owner, Norman. (That is, from a crack in the ceiling from the ceiling fan). He realizes he can see his reflection in Norman's coffee and one day Norman sees it too. Because he has come to love Norman (after watching he day in and day out) he thinks the wonderful tasting pellets are a gift! Until he reads the box-- Rat Poison! ( )
  camplakejewel | Sep 18, 2017 |
Un ottimo antidoto contro l'insonnia. ( )
  LaPizia | Aug 3, 2017 |
1.44
  johnrid11 | Feb 14, 2016 |
I am a sucker for books whose main character is a member of the Muroidea superfamily of Rodentia. The protagonist, Firmin, shot this book to 3 looks on merit alone. However, I take issue with the writing of the book, most specifically the use of various and random vulgarities. It is completely unnecessary,and it feels that the author is doing it just to move his novel out of YA and into a more mature audience. It doesn't serve him well. I found this is be very distracting, adding no value to the story or voice of Firmin.


With that said, I have read many reviews that state that it is a sad novel. I didn't find it so at all. I felt that Firmin had an excellent life (lest we forget he is, after all, a rat). He had an excellent home, learned to read and understand books, made a friend, and was able to find fairly good meals. The fact that he settles down in the end to await his fate is not sad, but poignant. All his life, he has tried to rise above what he is. Finally, he comes to terms with the fact that he is not a man, not an author, not a dancer or pianist, but a rat. I found it to be rather fitting.

Despite the author's sophomoric style with his use of vulgarities, I found his writing to be witty and smart. I highlighted several words, and would consider this a word-building book. I would recommend it, but not if you are easily offended. ( )
1 vote CarmenMilligan | Jan 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sam Savageprimary authorall editionscalculated
Buenaventura, RamónTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krahn FernandoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mikolowski, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santangelo, EvelinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vierdag, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
One day Chuang Tzu fell asleep, and while he slept he dreamed that he was a butterfly, flying happily about. And this butterfly did not know that it was Chuang Tzu dreaming. Then he awoke, to all appearances himself again, but now he did not know whether he was a man dreaming that he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming that he was a man.
—The teachings of Chuang Tzu

Had he kept a pain diary, the only entry
would have been one word: Myself.
—Philip Roth
Dedication
To Nora
First words
I had always imagined that my life story, if and when I wrote it, would have a great first line: something lyric like Nabokov's "Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins"; or if I could not do lyric, then something sweeping like Tolstoy's "All happy familes are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
Quotations
If you are lonely, I think it helps to be a little crazy as long as you don't overdo it.
Jerry used to say that if you didn't want to live your life over again, then you had wasted it.
And you don't have to believe stories to love them. I love all stories. I love the progression of beginning, middle, and end. I love the slow accumulation of meaning, the misty landscapes of the imagination, the mazy walks, the wooded slopes, the reflecting pools, the tragic twists and comic stumbles. (page 39, Delta trade, 2009)
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Book description
The life of a rat who comes to learning through digesting books.
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"As Francis Bacon knew, "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." Firmin the rat, born in a bookstore basement in Boston's Scollay Square during the last days of its famous bookstores and infamous burlesque houses, understands this maxim perfectly." "Forced to compete for food with his larger and meaner brothers and sisters, Firmin begins to devour his surroundings. Absorbing more than pulp and glue, he miraculously learns to read and soon begins to identify more with humans than rodents. Alienated from his family, he seeks the friendship of his hero, the bookseller, and a down-on-his luck science fiction writer who frequents the shop." "Through a series of misadventures and against a backdrop of urban destruction, Firmin is led deep into his own imaginative soul - a place where Ginger Rogers holds him tight and tattered books, storied neighborhoods, and down-and-out rats alike can find people who adore them." "By turns tragic, comic, nostalgic and subversive, Firmin is a story for everyone who has been transformed - for better or for worse - by an early diet of great literature."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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