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Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town…
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Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

by Cory Doctorow

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,0874811,786 (3.57)44

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English (47)  French (1)  All languages (48)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
I listened to this one via Doctorow's podcast which included personal updates and the occasional cuckoo clock interruption. I loved the surreal whimsicality of the past life of Allen (Adam, Anton, etc...) but then it became creepy and grotesque. I'm not a fan of the evil character who is just evil because he's evil. There were a few barely disguised lectures about internet and communications issues also. It won't stop me from checking out more of his stuff though. (It's more of a 2 1/2 star rating) ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
I didn't really like the fantasy in this book so I decided not to finish it.
  isabelx | Feb 26, 2019 |
Even after my disappointment with Eastern Standard Tribe, this still looked really interesting, and this time I wasn't disappointed.

Alan (Andy, Adrian) is the son of a mountain and a washing machine, and he has seven brothers. Alan (Alex, Andreas) is the oldest, and also the one who can pass for human the most easily and comfortably. In fact, only gradually do we learn that there's anything unusual about him at all, except for his parentage and his casual attitude about what name he gives people—as long as it starts with "A". Billy (Bob, Ben) can see the future, Carlo is an island, Doug (Danny,) was a perfectly human-appearing monster until his brothers killed him (which hasn't slowed down his career much), and Ed, Fred, and George are nesting dolls. Alan got his early-childhood care and education from the golems provided by his father, the mountain, and then discovered school and the library. After a childhood attempting to raise his brothers (except for Carlo) with decent educations and the ability to blend in to human society, and after a truly horrific experience ending in the death of Doug, Alan takes off on his own. When we meet him, he's a middle-aged, semi-retired entrepreneur living in Toronto, renovating the house he just bought and getting acquainted with the college-age neighbors next door.

His illusions of normality are about to take a nasty hit.

On the one hand, he's getting sucked into a new project, making free wireless internet access available to the neighborhood, the city, and eventually the world. On the other hand, his brothers, Ed, Fred, and George come to visit, with the news that Doug, whom they thought was safely dead, is back and coming after them. And on the third hand, the kids next door aren't as normal as they look, either. As his brothers start dying and Doug starts collecting allies, Alan clings to his version of normality and pitches free wireless internet access to Bell Canada and tiny city merchants and anarchist bookstore operators, and tries to convince the girl next door that wings aren't a handicap. (Silly Alan; Mimi wants to be normal, too!)

All of this could be a recipe for a disaster of a book, and occasionally it does seem to almost spin out of Doctorow's control—but not quite. Somehow it all gels. These characters are fleshed out and interesting, and the story, alternating in time between Alan's strange childhood and his not-quite-normal middle age, is fully developed and absorbing. I'm never going to be Cory Doctorow's biggest fan, but I recommend this one to anyone who enjoys quirky fantasy.
( )
1 vote LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Off. The. Wall.

Those are really the only words I can find to describe this bizarre story. A family of boys named in alphabetical order, father is a mountain, mother is a washing machine. The boys' names change from one mention to another but always starting with assigned letter. A... is the oldest and most (?) normal. He is compulsively organized and has a data base of every item he owns including scans of the purchase receipts. He moves into an apartment, sets to completely restoring it, then heads next door to meet his neighbors, a bunch of young people sharing rent. One of them is a bartender, gets home late and practices his guitar. A... offers to soundproof their adjoining wall.

The story portrays A...'s struggle with brother D... who is a psychopathic murderer who has killed A...'s girlfriend and one of the other brothers. He also learns about the deep dark secret of one of his neighbors and tries to help her.

The recording I listened to from Overdrive was rife with skips and it was easy to distinguish edited segments. It was distracting. Bronson Pinchot did an admirable job of making different voices.

I would recommend this book to someone who is looking for something a little dark, and totally different. ( )
  mamzel | Apr 16, 2017 |
Only read half of this ( well written nonsense ) ( )
  Baku-X | Jan 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
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McKean, DaveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Alan sanded the house on Wales Avenue.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765312808, Paperback)

Alan is a middle-aged entrepeneur in contemporary Toronto, who has devoted himself to fixing up a house in a bohemian neighborhood. This naturally brings him in contact with the house full of students and layabouts next door, including a young woman who, in a moment of stress, reveals to him that she has wings--wings, moreover, which grow back after each attempt to cut them off.

Alan understands. He himself has a secret or two. His father is a mountain; his mother is a washing machine; and among his brothers are a set of Russian nesting dolls.

Now two of the three nesting dolls, Edward and Frederick, are on his doorstep--well on their way to starvation, because their innermost member, George, has vanished. It appears that yet another brother, Davey, who Alan and his other siblings killed years ago, may have returned...bent on revenge.

Under such circumstances it seems only reasonable for Alan to involve himself with a visionary scheme to blanket Toronto with free wireless Internet connectivity, a conspiracy spearheaded by a brilliant technopunk who builds miracles of hardware from parts scavenged from the city's dumpsters. But Alan's past won't leave him alone--and Davey is only one of the powers gunning for him and all his friends.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:39 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Alan is a middle-aged entrepreneur in contemporary Toronto who has devoted himself to fixing up a house in the bohemian neighborhood of Kensington. This naturally brings him in contact with the house full of students and layabouts next door, including a young woman who, in a moment of stress, reveals to him that she has wings - wings, moreover, that grow back after each attempt to cut them off." "Alan understands. He himself has a secret or two. His father is a mountain, his mother is a washing machine, and among his brothers is a set of Russian nesting dolls." "Now two of the three nesting dolls, Edward and Frederick, are on his doorstep - well on their way to starvation because their innermost member, George, has vanished. It appears that yet another brother, Davey, whom Alan and his other siblings killed years ago, may have returned...bent on revenge." "Under such circumstances it seems only reasonable for Alan to involve himself with a visionary scheme to blanket Toronto with free wireless Internet connectivity, a conspiracy spearheaded by a brilliant technopunk who builds miracles of hardware from parts scavenged from the city's Dumpsters. But Alan's past won't leave him alone - and Davey is only one of the powers gunning for him and all his friends."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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