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The Center of the World by Andreas…

The Center of the World (1998)

by Andreas Steinhöfel

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3141850,665 (4.17)9

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English (14)  German (3)  Dutch (1)  All languages (18)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Match found in the German National Library.
  glsottawa | Apr 4, 2018 |
To me this was a very special book. Not one word too many, clear storytelling, in one word a great book. I was a bit sad when I had read the last page. It felt like I had to leave a valued companion behind. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 29, 2017 |
Ich liebe, liebe, liebe diesen Stil. ( )
  Nosc | Apr 10, 2011 |
Translated from German this novel is about a 17 year old boy Phil and his strange family. Phil and his sister Dianne have never known their father, and their mum won’t tell them any thing about him. He is a mystery, all they know is that he was Number Three on a long list.

Phil is not sure of his sexuality and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He is in love with The Runner, and finally gets the courage to act on his feelings and falls in love. He and his best friend Kat are very close, but Kat betrays him, and Phil can forgive her.

Dianne has troubles of her own, a strange girl who can talk to animals – or can she? And his mother, Glass, is suffering her in her own world, but she too finally finds love.

A sophisticated and passionate novel is filled with drama, anticipation and tension. I loved the way the characters bloom and grow in their own ways, which in the end joins the family back together. Suit teens over 15 years. ( )
  Bellydancer | Feb 24, 2010 |
There is a lot of wish fulfillment in gay themed Young Adult fiction lately. The stereotypical coming out story used to have a tragic end; even in novels intended to promote acceptance of LGBT youth someone had to pay a price, often had to die. Nowadays, coming out is easy, in fiction anyway. Parents and friends still struggle to accept the main character, but this lasts a few pages, maybe a chapter and the LGBT teen narrator moves on to other issues. I hope this is a reflection of a changing world but I have some doubts. Too often this kind of wish fulfillment ends up writing down to the Young Adult audience. Wish fulfillment has it's place, but we still need reality checks. Young Adults can handle it.

The Center of the World by Andreas Steinhofel, translated from the German by Alisa Jaffa, provides plenty of wish fulfillment, but it contains enough reality checks to avoid writing down to its audience. Phil, the seventeen-year-old narrator, lives with his twin sister and his mother Glass in a crumbling hillside mansion in small town Germany. The setting is exotic, even for a German audience-- that's the wish fulfillment. The Americans are not welcome in the village; they are made less welcome once everyone there finds out that Glass has a long series of short affairs. That Phil's father was only number three on this very long list does not help matters. Outcast because of his pariah mother and his American background, Phil has few friends his own age until he meets Nicholas and falls in love.

In spite of its exotic setting and the exotic nature of its supporting cast, The Center of the World is not a wish fulfillment novel. The novel's triumphant ending is bittersweet, but its an earned triumph, all the more powerful because of what Phil goes through to get it. He has no trouble with being gay, neither does anyone in his family, but the town does not approve and the town makes certain its disapproval is known. While there's nothing in The Center of the World intended to scare anyone back into the closet, the book's grown-up sensibility makes it clear that life in the open is not always going to be easy. ( )
  CBJames | Aug 13, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I should probably confess my passion for such novels up front. Does a better vehicle exist for exploring family relationships, love, sex, self-realisation and redemption? As an adult reader, the trick seems to be to find books on the subject that live up to Maurice Sendak's pronouncement: "I don't write for children. I don't write for adults. I just write."
Steinhofel just writes. Centre of My World transports us convincingly into the heart of a dysfunctional family in a huge crumbling mansion in northern Germany, and then gently, quietly, begins to unfurl, gathering power as it progresses by the accretion of sensitively observed detail.
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Eines nasskalten Aprilmorgens bestieg Glass, die linke Hand am Griff ihres Koffers aus abgewetztem Lederimitat, die rechte am Geländer einer wackeligen Gangway, einen Ozeanriesen, der im Hafen von Boston zum Auslaufen nach Europa bereitlag.
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Seventeen-year-old Phil has felt like an outsider as long as he can remember. All Phil has ever known about his father is that he was Number Three on his mother's list - third in a series of affairs that have set Phil's family even further apart from the critical townspeople across the river. As for his own sexuality, Phil doesn't care what the neighbours will think; he's just waiting for the right bloke to come along.
Haunting, provocative, and sophisticated, this literary novel by award winner by Andreas Steinhofel has become a much acclaimed international success.
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As he works through his often difficult relationships with his single mother, distant twin sister, his first boyfriend, and an odd assortment of friends, a teenage boy learns about the wounds and healing brought by love.

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