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A Naked Singularity (2012)

Tekijä: Sergio De La Pava

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
5222345,869 (4.03)37
"A Naked Singularity tells the story of Casi, a child of Colombian immigrants who lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan as a public defender--one who, tellingly has never lost a trial. Never. In the book, we watch what happens when his sense of justice and even his sense of self begin to crack--and how his world then slowly devolves. It's a huge, ambitious novel clearly in the vein of DeLillo, Foster Wallace, Pynchon, and even Melville, and it's told in a distinct, frequently hilarious voice, with a striking human empathy at its center. Its panoramic reach takes readers through crime and courts, immigrant families and urban blight, media savagery and media satire, scatology and boxing, and even a breathless heist worthy of any crime novel. If Infinite Jest stuck a pin in the map of mid-90s culture and drew our trajectory from there, A Naked Singularity does the same for the feeling of surfeit, brokenness, and exhaustion that permeates our civic and cultural life today. In the opening sentence of William Gaddis's A Frolic of His Own, a character sneers, 'Justice? You get justice in the next world. In this world, you get the law.' A Naked Singularity reveals the extent of that gap, and lands firmly on the side of those who are forever getting the law"--Provided by publisher.… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 23) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
4.5 stars. Justice system, crime and boxing stuff great--Television and wacky neighbor stuff not so great. Should be a Coen brothers movie one day. ( )
  AlexThurman | Dec 26, 2021 |
I'm giving up. A Naked Singularity is like a slightly more legible Infinite Jest, what with all the nasty digressions (which I actually appreciated in the beginning though they slowly became more and more overwhelming in their irrelevance and underwhelming in their literary merits) and infinite, somewhat-entertaining theorization and larger-than-life (and so fucking irritating) characters, all of whom speak like philosophy pHDs.

There's a point at which I clearly lost momentum, and the digressions had stopped doing it for me, and I started flipping past them to get to the next chunk of likable literature. That's when I knew I had to quit. Also, it's hard not to get annoyed at all the Wallacian ticks that de la Pava is so into, being all clever and ironic and shit. At some point past the 400th page, all of it got on my nerves, and I started being completely turned off even by the good parts.

I especially wanted to burn that weird boxing digression.

I can't give it one star, though, because I really liked the first two or so hundred pages, especially the legal dialogue, which rang true and punched right into my gut. Other than that... fuck man. Literature needs to get over DFW and start sounding authentic.
( )
  Gadi_Cohen | Sep 22, 2021 |
actually really pretty good

did the third part remind anyone of that story in slow learner about entropy ( )
  icedtati | Sep 7, 2021 |
Intense and funny and tragic and overwrought and too long (originally self-published and needed a good editor), with withering social commentary and deep intellect. A great book. ( )
  wordloversf | Aug 14, 2021 |
This is the most satisfying reading experience I've had since I kicked off 2016 with [b:The Recognitions|395058|The Recognitions|William Gaddis|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1309209622s/395058.jpg|1299804]. This is a significant achievement for a thirty-eight-year-old lawyer (born in 1970, Sergio de la Pava self-published this novel in 2008 via XLibris) and a testament to an individual's vision over the strictures and biases of the marketplace. Like [b:The Recognitions|395058|The Recognitions|William Gaddis|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1309209622s/395058.jpg|1299804], [b:You Bright and Risen Angels|45633|You Bright and Risen Angels|William T. Vollmann|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1389841557s/45633.jpg|2310146], [b:V.|5809|V.|Thomas Pynchon|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1328110787s/5809.jpg|2999000], and, more recently, [b:Novel Explosives|29363276|Novel Explosives|Jim Gauer|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1461083307s/29363276.jpg|49608696], A Naked Singularity is a constituent of a tradition of debut novels that shatters conventions and expectations. Pava reaches wildly for every pulsing fiber of life, transforms it into metaphor, analyses it exhaustively, and pins it to his specimen board like an obsessive lepidopterist. The result, an 864-page novel (in the hardcover MacLehose Press edition), is a museum of twenty-first century consciousness.

If there is one thing that can be said about this hefty tome, it is that, unlike many books billed as such, it is savagely hilarious. I'm not talking about a quippy little amused-chortle-and-forgotten type of humor; I mean, Pava is obviously quite comical and it shines through on page after page. And the humor is wide-ranging, too, not just the same brand of puns or off-the-way-bananas gags. No, this book offers all kinds of comedic entertainment from pitch-perfect deadpan sarcasm to the utterly side-splitting 10-page episode involving Señor Smoke burritos. I'm not sure I ever laughed so hard in my life as stilted lawyerly locution is brought to bear on a bathetic scatological scandal. For the most part, though, the laughing gas is served up at small, quick clips while the narrative races you headlong toward the conclusion.

The protagonist, apparently a stand-in for the author himself, is the perfect blend of a character readers like me want to follow. We get to the point in the narrative that we cannot wait to hear his take on one situation or thought or another. At once, he is: a charismatic, driven public defender (the opening 50 pages are dedicated to getting a sense of a day in his frenetic life, effortlessly moving from one client to another spinning webs of logic and rhetoric to circumvent even the most dire of charges, surmounting defeatism repeatedly); a successful individual who has, at twenty-four years of age, established a perfect defense record in the courtroom; an amateur philosopher, pulling out the ideas of Plato, Descartes, Kant, Hume, Locke, Leibniz, and Popper at will; an admirer of musicians of the ilk of Joe Satriani and Yngwie Malmsteen (he blasts Malmsteen's "Far Beyond the Sun" through his headphones in the courtroom!); a possessor of intelligently drôle humor that asserts a sort of control variable to the madness swirling around him (for a while, at least); and the perfect counterpoint to the enigmatic Dane, who will take us into explorations of perfection and mediocrity and failure ad nauseum.

Indeed, one of the book's greatest strengths is in it relentless and multifarious perspectives and ruminations of mediocrity. Dane, who is obsessed with achieving perfection, presents his latest in a spate of ploys to attain his goal: the perfect lawyerly representation. He plans to channel everything into this one case, whatever the cost to himself. But: "If it turned out I was no better than the average chump, if I was unable to achieve perfection even when every fiber in my being was pointed towards this simple goal, then I would accept it, this soul-robbing mediocrity, like a man" (237). Again, this aspiration is beautifully counterpoised with: "...chances were nobody could be as smart as I thought I was, and fools are often the last to know their status as such" (293). But the whole plight to transcend the dregs of mediocrity is so deftly drawn in this book that this theme alone makes it a universal text. How many people have I listened to who feel trapped and even like failures because of our culture's constant message that we can be and do whatever we want if we just work hard enough? It's simply not true and it is hindering more than it is helping, even if it does sound inspirational. Of course, money helps a bit, and the novel really takes off when Dane introduces this (complicating) factor into the plot.

To be continued. ( )
  chrisvia | Apr 29, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 23) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

"A Naked Singularity tells the story of Casi, a child of Colombian immigrants who lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan as a public defender--one who, tellingly has never lost a trial. Never. In the book, we watch what happens when his sense of justice and even his sense of self begin to crack--and how his world then slowly devolves. It's a huge, ambitious novel clearly in the vein of DeLillo, Foster Wallace, Pynchon, and even Melville, and it's told in a distinct, frequently hilarious voice, with a striking human empathy at its center. Its panoramic reach takes readers through crime and courts, immigrant families and urban blight, media savagery and media satire, scatology and boxing, and even a breathless heist worthy of any crime novel. If Infinite Jest stuck a pin in the map of mid-90s culture and drew our trajectory from there, A Naked Singularity does the same for the feeling of surfeit, brokenness, and exhaustion that permeates our civic and cultural life today. In the opening sentence of William Gaddis's A Frolic of His Own, a character sneers, 'Justice? You get justice in the next world. In this world, you get the law.' A Naked Singularity reveals the extent of that gap, and lands firmly on the side of those who are forever getting the law"--Provided by publisher.

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