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Want Not

by Jonathan Miles

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23311100,837 (3.83)19
On Thanksgiving Day a freegan couple living off the grid in Manhattan, a once prominent linguist struggling with midlife, and a New Jersey debt-collection magnate with a second chance at getting things right randomly and briefly collide as the weight of their desires ultimately undoes each of them, leaving them to pick up the pieces from what's left behind.… (more)
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» See also 19 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Couldn't connect with the characters. Prose gets lost in itself sometimes.
  ladyars | Jan 4, 2021 |
A compulsively readable, deeply human novel that examines our most basic and unquenchable emotion: want. With his critically acclaimed first novel, Jonathan Miles was widely praised as a comic genius “after something bigger” (David Ulin, Los Angeles Times) whose fiction was “not just philosophically but emotionally rewarding” (Richard Russo, New York Times Book Review, front cover).

“I loved this book…the work of a fluid, confident, and profoundly talented writer…it’s a joyous book, a very funny book, and an unpredictable book, and that’s because everyone in it is allowed to be fully human.”

— Dave Eggers, the New York Times Book Review

About 2/3 of the way through this book you may start to wonder if the three very distinct characters ever actually connect. Miles' is a terrific writer, able to lead the reader to care deeply about three very disparate characters whose stories are seemingly unconnected, outside of the overarching theme of waste and want that permeates the book.

Stick with it, it's worth it. Miles' develops depth in his characters to a depth rarely seem in mainstream literature today. The joy in reading here is in getting to know these characters. Whether or not the storylines ever connect is sort of beside the point. ( )
  chrisodva | Apr 21, 2019 |
Enjoyed some of the flashbacks way more than the main timeline, but overall just couldn't get into it. ( )
  encephalical | Apr 9, 2018 |
Just didn't click, try again
  jimifenway | Nov 27, 2016 |
Smart, funny, angry and beautifully written, Want Not uses three interlinked stories to explore waste in all its forms. It's a breathtaking achievement, welding a fierce examination of the mindless way people keep or throw away things (and people), with complex and interesting characters and some propulsive plotting. ( )
  mjlivi | Feb 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
"...he connects his characters not with narrative but with one overarching theme, loudly hinted at by the book’s title and driven home by three on-the-nose epigraphs just inside the front cover: This is a novel about waste."
added by LiteraryFiction | editNew York Times, David Haglund (pay site) (Dec 23, 2013)
 
"By the end, we get Miles’s message very clearly, and it’s not about recycling. It’s that no one can be thrown away. Not the bond trader. Not the collection agency guy. Not the habitual shopper. Not the squatters, the environmental sinners or any baby brought into such a crowded and flawed world. As terrible as we can be, we belong here and we matter and we might even do some good. This, in the end — and by that I mean the planetary end — might be the most inconvenient truth of all."
added by LiteraryFiction | editNew York Times, Dave Eggers (pay site) (Nov 7, 2013)
 
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On Thanksgiving Day a freegan couple living off the grid in Manhattan, a once prominent linguist struggling with midlife, and a New Jersey debt-collection magnate with a second chance at getting things right randomly and briefly collide as the weight of their desires ultimately undoes each of them, leaving them to pick up the pieces from what's left behind.

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