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View 1 comment. Jun 27, Bon Tom rated it liked it. This has to be one of the most unusual books I've ever read. But I like it! Jan 16, Jeff Jackson rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry , book-club This was surprisingly engaging, emotional, and compulsively plot-driven. I've found other Carson texts occasionally too knotty and the first 20 pages made it seem like this was more of the same. But the importance of the set-up soon becomes clear and gives way to a poetically charged and compelling coming-of-age story that seamlessly mixes modern life with Greek legend.
Ta This was surprisingly engaging, emotional, and compulsively plot-driven. Take the first 20 pages on faith and you'll be rewarded immediately thereafter.
Nov 03, brian rated it really liked it. Dec 24, mwpm rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry , favorites. The book is a "verse novel" that loosely follows the exploits of Billy the Kid under the pretext that he is the author though Ondaatje frequently deviates. There are aspects of this in Autobiography of Red as you may have gathered from the title. The idea, a classic story from another perspective, is more reminiscent of John Gardner's Grendel Beowulf from the perspective of the monster.
The same approach has been employed in various modern novels, such as Gregory Maguire's Wicked Baum's Oz series from the perspective of the Wicked Witch. It is employed here to uncanny effect. I say "uncanny" because the author retains a classical form like Billy the Kid it is "a novel in verse" but sets the action in the twentieth century unspecified.
Something else I liked about the form, the verse portion of the novel that is the "Autobiography of Red" is established with a fake introduction and appendix. This variation of the epistolary novel is reminiscent of Nabokov's Pale Fire. But, whereas the poem "Pale Fire" takes up a small portion of the Nabokov's novel and the rest is preoccupied with academic scrutiny, the scrutiny of the "Autobiography of Red" is a small portion of Carson's novel and the rest is dedicated to the so-called text.
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The author deviates from the original story in various ways. The Greek Myth, from which the characters have been extracted, is summarized in the introduction. I didn't know the myth but this didn't detract from my reading. Knowing the basics of the myth from the summary made me aware of the author's decision to deviate. For example, the relationship of the central characters in the myth is drastically altered.
They do not follow the same course of action. They do not belong to the same world, but they have brought aspects of the mythical world into our world. The monster Geryon, aka Red retains his wings. His presence - a red monster in a world of telephones, cigarettes, refrigerators - should be absurd, but is often overlooked. In fact, the other characters don't seem to notice at least they don't acknowledge. For this reason, the character swings between feeling invisible and feeling like a sore thumb.
This is a curious text. It may also appeal to those who are interested in classical mythology, taking into consideration that the story is a departure. Nov 04, Kathryn rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry , religion-myth. I liked this very much. The entire work is perfection, with the exception of the evasive ending. The awe I felt while reading was lessened due to this, which makes me very sad as this is a beautiful and heartwrenching book.
I really wish it had ended with a stronger conclusion. This book managed to smack against my ick wall pretty early. Umm, yeah, I am so not qualified to write a review or anything resembling a review about this book. I found the book accessible yet distant, dreamy but familiar I liked this very much. I found the book accessible yet distant, dreamy but familiar. Carson wrote in a tone I am unused to but learned to love quickly. The author crawled into her character's head and grasped so much, understood so much of what it is to be young, in lust, unsure, and in pain.
Geryon is one of the most fascinating characters I have ever read. He saw the world unlike anyone else in the book. For example, It was the year he began to wonder about the noise that colors make. Roses came roaring across the garden at him. He lay on his bed at night listening to the silver light of stars crashing against the window screen Why is grass called blades? Isn't it because of the clicking? Geryon is a romantic, a red monster with wings, lost in the world. I knew before starting that in Greek myth, Geryon was killed by Heracles, a hindrance to the hero completing his tenth labour.
Carson included commentary and analysis, at times wry and loosely interpreted, of Stesichorus' incomplete poem about Geryon. Once Carson began her novel in verse, the reader was prepared for a young, humanized character, which Carson was quick to provide a back story for, eliciting deep sympathy from the reader. This is one of those books I want to buy to have on my shelves so I can periodically take it down and again read one of the many beautiful or startling lines Carson wrote. I hope to read more of her work soon. Shelves: bagatelle , poetry. Formally very beautiful, delivers all the pleasures celerity, compression, wit I associate with "A Novel in Verse.
Looking forward to Plainwater. View all 12 comments. Jun 21, Msmurphybylaw rated it it was amazing Shelves: best-of-the-best. Most people who know me through work or socially find my cynicism biting yet funny. I get compliments often on my wit, though it is dark and sharp. I'm surprised when people tell me that I'm quite entertaining, because I tend withdrawal and am generally introverted. I have psychological test to back this up.
I am forever the INTJ. Sometimes bordering on the J, but never the I. This review contains, what may seem an infinite narcissistic hall of mirrors, reflecting Fibonacci images of big ol' Al, Most people who know me through work or socially find my cynicism biting yet funny. This review contains, what may seem an infinite narcissistic hall of mirrors, reflecting Fibonacci images of big ol' Al, but that is what the book did for me. It brought ME out.
Every page was exquisite and I can only describe my feelings that emoted while reading this book as paper-thin alabaster porcelain. It may be hard to grasp this tactile description, but the best way to put it is: bone-hard-butterfly-delicate. Maybe glass heart would be the best description.
I'm losing you. Unique bits of virgin emotion or unearthed buried crap needing to bubble up and work itself out through prose or verse wriggled through the chapters slowly fingering my synapses tricking me to believe again in art. Here is the best part to hear me out and my reflective side: I'm a pretty rough around the edges kinda manly-Momma. I wasn't always this way, but life happens.
I'm pessimistic and fuck the water in the glass; I don't care how many angels can dance on the head of a freaking pin, but this book of verse touched me. It reached into my teeniest of tiny air sacks and breathed life into them. It rearranged my current mindset and shook my perspective to its core. I like that. I like that a book can do that.
That I can become: An admirer of romance Embracing of Tragedies Tolerant of love triangles A patron of the Tango, even if it is not for everyone A lover of Lava Bread Blinded because I still think Helen may be a whore I read a lot of books and when I find myself skipping pages in them and falling into the negative camp or I feel myself drifting towards the blues, I read a passage or two from Red.
Close the book, breath in deeply and softly stroke the cover feeling revived. Nov 29, Will rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , ancient-world , poetry , queer-liberation , pantheon. Autobiography of Red is an epic without the endless description and patronymics. And that only makes it better.
Anne Carson is a literary genius. Her syntax is remarkable and her purpose is never clear. Those are two reasons I loved this, but there are many others. Read it. You will feel strange, but undoubtedly you will learn something from this. I don't know what you'll learn, nor do I know what I learned. Judge it for yourself. Jul 30, Bina rated it it was amazing. It wreaked havoc on my life, mostly in a good way. Based on the Greek myth of Herakles Hercules for all you Romans , it recasts Geryon, the slayed, sheepherding red-winged monster, as a protagonist who also takes form as a gay, socially-marginalized school boy.
From the monster's perspective, a story unfolds that is at once disturbing, coruscating, and beautiful. The way Carson shapes verse awes me, you want to touch her craft, know its contours like a welder's wrought iron.
Some of her lines ring in my head, years after reading: "Reality is a sound; you have to tune into it, not just keep yelling. Aug 27, Patty rated it it was amazing. It's not often that a book of poems makes my heart pound. I started reading it before bed on Sunday night. On a Monday. Enough said?
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Dec 06, julieta rated it it was amazing Shelves: young-americans , poetry-is-like-music. Strange, and lovely. Funny and sad. Jan 07, Brenda Cregor rated it did not like it. If the reason is that the "protagonist"-monster never took his mistakes, and the evils which were acted upon him, which caused him to walk through life unengaged and basically a useless piece of red animated flesh with wings [ think of the STRANGER's protagonist, Meursault If the protagonist never learned to triumph over all which beset him by grasping some absolute eternal truth, his personal anguish was all for nothing, and his mortality was a waste of time.
If his mortality was a waste of time, then reading about it is a waste of the reader's time. If this book has only been rated with one star If it should be burned, the reader who rated it with one star should light the match I was hoping Carson's writing would continue in Stesichoros's same vein She adulterated it. There is a way of viewing contemporary poetry and novels which has become common in the analysis of those who are well respected as "intellectual" literary critics.
It is not a new or fresh way of seeing writing. In fact, it is quite in line with the humanistic philosophies which have elevated and simultaneously plagued mankind for centuries. No absolutes. Anything goes. The more base, the more "worthy". If you want to know what this book is about, it comes to this: a boy is sexually abused by his big brother, his parents are pretty much disconnected from their offspring emotionally, the boy grows into a teen who gets involved with a perverse self-centered volcano-obsessed young guy, they break up, the boy [ oh he thinks he has wings] grows up looking at the world much as some type of savant might [or is that just the author's way of injecting figurative language into the verse?
All of this poetic dribble is accomplished in pages, double spaced, with tiny font and executed quite "prettily", of course. After all, the "intellectual" "literaries" of the hour must have textual garbage validated by incredibly GORGEOUS language [with the exception of some foul language and graphic scenes, which pop up about five or six times in the bookmore than needed, but apparently deemed necessary by the authoress to tell this useless tale]. I felt nothing but a gnawing disgust after I finished the last page. May 27, Ruby rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: poets, underdogs, people who have fallen in love with a breeze.
Shelves: favorites , classics , teen-obsessions , poetry. This book marks, without an ember of doubt, the first time I've ever felt burned by my lack of education in the classics. I approached this book ready to feel cowed and lost, so I was enthralled when that was not the case. I understand Geryon intimately, for I, too am a red creature.
From a forgotten notebook of mine: "On my steady diet of nicotine and coffee, my thoughts grind like bad teeth into points. I am a sharp-shaped thing. A needle, an arrow, I cut. I can touch rage: rage that was the o This book marks, without an ember of doubt, the first time I've ever felt burned by my lack of education in the classics. I can touch rage: rage that was the only sprig of life on the barren potato farm; rage tucked into the left work boot for the dark walk home from the plant; rage channeled into the line of a razor's making, at first invisible, then blessed red.
We all know the color of rage. Red will unmake me. The interior exposed and vulnerable. Did you know longing was red? Do you know how close you are to knowing that? Like the terrestrial crust of the earth which is proportionately ten times thinner than an eggshell, the skin of the soul is a miracle of mutual pressures. Fuck Herakles.
That bitch and his arrogance, never seeing the deep red interior of his jailbait trick. Winning is blindness. Winning is empty. Winning is lonely, even with a joint in one hand and a cock in the other. It is through losing that we learn to make bread in the volcano's eye. It is through returning that we get wings. Anne Carson, thank you for making a hero of the vanquished, for turning a flat story over and finding the life growing beneath it.
Geryon stood upright within the rayon planes of his brother's sports jacket. Sweat and desire ran down his body to pool in the crotch and behind the knees. He had been standing against the wall for three and a half hours in a casual pose. His eyes ached from the effort of trying to see everything without looking at it. Other boys stood beside him on the wall. The petals of their colognes rose about them in a light terror. Meanwhile music pounded across hearts opening every valve to the desperate drama of being a self in a song.
Fear of time came at him.
Time was squeezing Geryon like the pleats of an accordion. A man moves through time.
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It means nothing except that, like a harpoon, once thrown he will arrive. What does this thoughtful young artist have against time? We might think it's his death -- we all know his demise is assured before reading the book, or at least once we find out he goes up against Herakles: on the other side of the world somewhere Herakles laughing drinking getting into a car and Geryon's whole body formed one arch of a cry -- upcast to that custom, the human custom of wrong love.
But here Carson has turned the story around -- it's not death Geryon waits for, but heartbreak. And heartbreak, as we all can't help but know, is red like thunder. Dec 10, August Smith rated it it was amazing. I'll be honest, my initial reaction as I began "Autobiography of Red" was a rolling of my eyes.
And while reading this essay, I grew worried that the "novel in verse" was going to be another fragmented postmodern reference-fest; the essay evokes a snarky sense of humor, drops a Baudrillard quote, and talks about how "words I'll be honest, my initial reaction as I began "Autobiography of Red" was a rolling of my eyes. And while reading this essay, I grew worried that the "novel in verse" was going to be another fragmented postmodern reference-fest; the essay evokes a snarky sense of humor, drops a Baudrillard quote, and talks about how "words bounce" and "float", all within the first three or four pages.
The book's brief page count pushed me to power through it. Interestingly, the book changes mood, voice, and subject matter multiple times in the first fifth of the book, throwing a lot of information at the reader before sending them sailing through the main narrative.
This technique is initially confusing, but eventually effective: the Appendices' ideas and snippets- now floating around in the head of the reader- become increasingly relevant and interesting as the book progresses, and the reader may find themselves flipping back to these earlier chapters to observe parallels and clues to the narrative. As for the narrative itself, I'm surprised I don't see people referring to it as "magical realism" more often. The blending of mythologies and contemporary society in a seamless narrative arc reminded me of something like Neil Gaiman meets Marquez.
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Santa Monica, California. October 20, Retrieved August 15, Retrieved August 27, Entertainment Weekly. One of the last roles for the versatile Growing Pains star was a guest spot in the NBC dramedy's first episode. Thicke played himself — as well as the estranged father of the Manny, a. Kevin Justin Hartley , in the goofy sitcom that Kevin starred in. GeneralStore PublishingHouse. Retrieved December 15, — via Google Books. April 25, Archived from the original on August 25, The Consumerist. Archived from the original on July 10, Retrieved November 20, Archived from the original on September 29, The Story's Not So Sweet".
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