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Firmin (2006)

by Sam Savage

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,7331178,525 (3.44)152
Born in a bookstore in a blighted 1960's Boston neighborhood, Firmin the rat miraculously learns how to read by digesting his nest of books. He quickly realizes that a literate rat is a lonely rat. In a series of misadventures, Firmin is ultimately led deep into his own imaginative soul.
  1. 20
    A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (pgmcc)
    pgmcc: Both books take a quirky viewpoint on the world. They are also both about loneliness and isolation, yet really good reads.
  2. 00
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    Le pilon by Paul Désalmand (Anonymous user)
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    Timbuktu by Paul Auster (sanddancer)
    sanddancer: Both quirky, but not too cutesy stories told from the perspective of animals.
  5. 00
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    An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England by Brock Clarke (ShelfMonkey)
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    The Killing Circle: A Novel by Andrew Pyper (ShelfMonkey)
    ShelfMonkey: Both books have tremendous fun with authors and writing.
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» See also 152 mentions

English (82)  Spanish (15)  Italian (7)  French (5)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (2)  Portuguese (1)  Romanian (1)  Hungarian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (120)
Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
Oh I just loved it!! A quick eloquent read. That little rat was my best friend and I wish I had never had to leave him in those pages. ( )
  mkmiller90 | Jan 2, 2021 |
I must say that, on first place, I chose to read that book because of its cover. Among the hundreds of book in the book shop, this one drew my attention*. A skinny, with big, fallen ears and expressive, pitiful, almost human eyes rat was looking at we from the bookshelf. And I couldn't resist its charm.

The book didn't disappoint me. Firmin turned out to be as human as the one on the cover. At least inside. Born in the basement of a bookshop, soon he developed a deep relationship with books. But from the outside, he was still a rat. A pretty stunted one, much to his regret. A book with the adventures of a rat doesn't sound that interesting at the beginning, but Firmin will steal your heart after a few pages. Misunderstood by both humans and rats, the book book becomes a too gloomy in some parts, but it's a book that I'd definitively recommend.

*Not this one. I bought the "Seix Barral, Biblioteca Formentor", Spanish edition. ( )
  ksenia.klykova | Oct 1, 2019 |
Un relato de humor negro sobre el poder de la literatura.Nacido en una pequeña librería en un decadente barrio de Boston, Firmin aprende a leer digiriendo su nido hecho de un libro cortado a tiras. Pero rápidamente comprende que una rata culta es una rata solitaria. Marginada de su familia, busca la amistad de su héroe, el librero, y de un escritor de ciencia ficción fracasado. A medida que Firmin navega por las calles sombrías en busca de amor y comprensión, su soledad y su miedo se tornan humanos e irremediablemente conmovedores
  Haijavivi | Jun 4, 2019 |
This is the story of a literature loving rat called Firmin who is born in a bookstore among the shredded remains of Finnigan’s Wake, and while feeding on the pages of various books discovers that he is able to read and understand the words. This ability changes the direction his life takes, and when his mother, brothers and sisters abandon the nest, he remains in the bookstore and enviously watches the humans come and go.

He develops real feelings for the humans that he watches, in particular the owner of the bookstore, Norman Shine, and Jerry Magoon, a down and out science fiction author. Being a rat he sometimes finds that he is not wanted and has to avoid traps and poison, but at others times he is able to develop a relationship with mutual regard. Firmin also likes to visit the Rialto Theatre for various reasons, the scavenging there is good, he loves the old movies that he sees there, in particular Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and after midnight he loves to watch the porn films that they show.

The story is told from Firmin’s point of view, he has dreams, ambitions and opinions and seeing the world from his perspective gives this book an interesting angle. This is a clever story, at times quite funny while at others rather sad and depressing. Like the life cycle of a rat, it is a short book, but also like Firmin himself, it is very stylish. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Apr 3, 2019 |
"It was soon painfully clear that when he looked at me what he mainly saw was a cute animal, clownish and a little stupid, something like a very small dog with buckteeth. He had no inkling of my true character, that I was in fact grossly cynical, moderately vicious, and a melancholy genius, or that I had read more books than he had."

I loved this book, because this was a book for me. It's for people who love books -- sci-fi paperbacks as well as the classics -- but are still somewhat cynical about their importance. Or maybe, cynical about their own importance, and love books because they're not important either. It's about the inherent sadness of life, and the incredible joy that can be had in remembering the quietly good moments and the times that were good even if it wasn't a specific moment at all. It's about being an outsider. It's about a rat who seems like he could be a real rat, that if you could watch him you might not notice anything out of the ordinary. It's just really clever and quiet and good, without ever getting too caught up in its own cleverness. Recommended for everyone who wants "I don't know... something different to read." ( )
  FFortuna | Mar 5, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 82 (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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Clàssica (742)
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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 entrywould 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)
It was soon painfully clear that when he looked at me what he mainly saw was a cute animal, clownish and a little stupid, something like a very small dog with buckteeth. He had no inkling of my true character, that I was in fact grossly cynical, moderately vicious, and a melancholy genius, or that I had read more books than he had.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Born in a bookstore in a blighted 1960's Boston neighborhood, Firmin the rat miraculously learns how to read by digesting his nest of books. He quickly realizes that a literate rat is a lonely rat. In a series of misadventures, Firmin is ultimately led deep into his own imaginative soul.

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Book description
The life of a rat who comes to learning through digesting books.
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