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The End: A novel Tekijä: Salvatore Scibona

The End: A novel (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2008; vuoden 2008 painos)

Tekijä: Salvatore Scibona

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
2317110,679 (3.28)12
It is August 15, 1953, the day of a street carnival in the Italian enclave of Elephant Park, Ohio, when Rocco LaGrassa receives an excruciating piece of news: his son has died in a POW camp in Korea. Against the background of immigration, broken loyalties, and racial hostility, the story presents everything Rocco sees through the eyes of various characters in the crowd.… (lisätietoja)
Teoksen nimi:The End: A novel
Kirjailijat:Salvatore Scibona
Info:Graywolf Press (2008), Hardcover, 320 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):


The End (tekijä: Salvatore Scibona) (2008)


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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I remember reading in a review of Bellow's letters the idea that some writers can craft remarkable sentences, but can't write a paragraph to save their life. I guess you can broaden that theme: some people can write a great statements, but not much in the way of dialogue. Scibona is clearly a sentence and statement guy. Part of this is because this book is so overwhelmingly narrated as interior monologue. If he'd made it too ordered or comprehensible, some people would complain that it was unrealistic or too rational or something, and paragraphs and dialogue tend to be ordered and comprehensible. Part of it is that had he been born in the nineteenth century he would have been a poet, rather than writing prose, such is his love of words. Sadly, as with way too many literary writers, his characters think about words to an excessive and, to be honest, dull extent. To his credit, the character who thinks about words the most is a sociopath, which seems to me to be the logical outcome of thinking that the word/world relationship is really, really important. Is all this the effect of writing workshops? There's an idiotic English major term paper in that.

So, plot. A certain kind of reader will complain that 'nothing happens,' that there's too much reflection. A different kind of reader will applaud the fact that SS puts so much weight on thinking and memory. They're both wrong: this book's most remarkable characteristic is the incredible *density* of the plot. This is what a Victorian novel looks like if - as we've all wished had happened - it had been edited by a modernist. The plot remains, but it's told by memories and allusion rather than endless longeurs. Result: rather than 900 pages, 300. The touchstones? Woolf and Joyce. The problem? The structure becomes rebarbative and less rewarding than it could have been. Whereas Ulysses eases you in with the Daedalus chapters, The End gives you its Bloom (called Rocco) up front, with no warning, and no connection to the remainder of the book except for a couple of chance encounters. That's a tough start. Through the middle you get lots of logophilia and interior monologue. Ulysses ends in a bang with its famous 'feminine' stream of consciousness sentence; The End also closes with a feminine monologue, but here it's a whimper. Not much of an end.

All that said, it's nice that someone wants to write difficult, challenging fiction. I'll buy his next book the day it's released and dedicate a week to reading it, in the hope that the ambition remains, his logorrhea is cured and there's less hedging about undecidability or ambiguity or whatever the latest, hippest relativists are calling it.

PLOT SPOILERS: Based on the similarity in their structure, my utterly unfounded suspicion is that The End is a kind of answer to the optimism, if you will, of Ulysses. The main events here are war, abortion, rape, a lynching, a suicide and serial abandonment. The apolitical interracial love-in is replaced with racism and hatred. That makes it more honest than Joyce, which is a big tick in my book. I'd like to know what someone more familiar than I am with Ulysses makes of The End. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
Kind of a rough go, I have to say. I'm surprised, and, frankly, a bit disappointed. Looking at the acknowledgments and all the fellowships & grants Scibona received to complete this novel, it seems to me he could have produced a higher quality product. It was only at the end (sorry) that it got really good. There were insightful parts, but they were few and far between for the first three parts of the book. ( )
  cat-ballou | Apr 2, 2013 |
I started this book once and set it aside after the first page, which contained a paragraph-long sentence describing the baker. "Ugh," I said and went off to read some non-fiction. After being bolstered by another book, I gave The End another chance, mostly because it's set in Ohio, and I'm kind of a sucker for books and stories set in Ohio.

I'm glad that I gave it another chance. The interwoven stories weren't woven as skillfully as they could have been, and I became disoriented a few times with the shift in time, but there's so much promise in Scibona's writing, I found the story quite a pleasure overall. Scibona delved very, very deeply into his characters, revealing the good, the bad, and the ugly with a sympathetic yet merciless honesty, as one might describe one's family members. The only character I didn't feel I knew was Patrizia. Everyone else I walked beside through the streets of Cleveland for the course of the novel.

The setting was also intriguing to me. Like Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides, which had as a subplot the disintegration of Detroit, The End gives a view of what brought thousands of people to Northeast Ohio, and then the beginning of the decline of the region on the poisoned lake. My grandparents on both sides were also drawn to this region during this period of time, and my parents were both raised there, so the history of Scibona's characters mirrors in some ways my family's history. I hesitate to like a book for reasons as personal and subjective as this, but I have no illusions that I ever read a book objectively, and feeling a personal connection is feeling a personal connection, regardless of the reason, I suppose. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Dec 31, 2012 |
If the act of creation is the epitome of elegance, a waltz between the writer’s conscious and unconscious mind, then Salvatore Scibona has performed the dance perfectly. A telephone call to his grandmother on her birthday, a patch of conversation overheard and written down, the view from his writing desk of a clothesline drying laundry — these are this language artist’s broadest strokes, transformed by his conscious mind into crucial, telling details. In “The End,” Scibona’s award-winning first novel, the elaborate weave and turn of story through language whirls the reader through the overlapping lives of five unique characters: an elderly abortionist, an abandoned husband, a teenage boy, an absent mother, a dedicated baker, and a lonely jeweler. In rendering these characters’ lives, Scibona transitions from anecdote to anecdote with implicitly elaborate footwork, the dance of free indirect style, so the gesture comes bearing all the import of direct action, and the absence of events is as telling as their presence.

“The man on the bridge watches her ascending the hill. She is stooped by the weight of an enormous sack on her back, so touchingly like a mule, like an enduring animal that slowly carries on its back a burden as large as itself.
It would be impossibly sweet and satisfying to follow her. The sweetness of saying ’she’ is the intimation of somebody else, of something else that’s really out there being real, that isn’t an idea or a ghost but a person, definite, completed.
But he’s watching her now. He can’t not. And while he watches her, he is turning her back into an idea, so he must act fast. She has already begun to disappear.” (Pg. 112.)

In “The End,” Scibona challenges his characters’ tangibility. He implicitly asks what it means to be perceived. ‘What are the consequences of community?’ The reader wonders, watching these ordinary, extraordinary lives. Is the reflection in the mirror one of comfort? Or does it manifest deep-seated regrets; repetition, routine, anonymity — by what are these broken? We discover, in “The End,” that tragedy is one disruptive mode.

“How long do you have to live in a place before you notice it? The whole morning was a dream. Around every corner was a view that should have been same old, same old, but today impressed itself on his mind as if for the first time and for all time. As in, Look, there’s a kid licking the streetcar tracks, wearing short pants-only it seemed to Rocco that he’d never seen the tracks or a child in short pants before and he was never going to forget this. As on a day when the ruler dies and everybody, without even trying, holds on to the slightest spec of mental lint from that day for years.” (Pgs. 20 – 21.)

Readers of “The End” will find this story about a community lost to time an opportunity for total reading immersion. By the last line, they will know this place and these people in the way they know their own, and they will find in it the satisfaction of particulars, an antidote to the mysterious void.

~Carlin M. Wragg, Editor, Open Loop Press ( )
  OpenLoopPress | Feb 22, 2010 |
More about the writing than the story. ( )
  VenusofUrbino | Feb 9, 2010 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Teoksen kanoninen nimi
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Ensimmäiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
He was five feet one inch tall in street shoes, bearlike in his round and jowly face, hulking in his chest and shoulders, nearly just as stout around the middle, but hollow in the hips, and lacking a proper can to sit on (though he was hardly ever known to sit), and wee at the ankles, and girlish at his tiny feet, a man in the shape of a lightbulb.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

It is August 15, 1953, the day of a street carnival in the Italian enclave of Elephant Park, Ohio, when Rocco LaGrassa receives an excruciating piece of news: his son has died in a POW camp in Korea. Against the background of immigration, broken loyalties, and racial hostility, the story presents everything Rocco sees through the eyes of various characters in the crowd.

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Arvio (tähdet)

Keskiarvo: (3.28)
0.5 1
1 1
2 9
3 9
3.5 2
4 10
4.5 1
5 6

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