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Look at Me Paperback – 15 Sep 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Corsair (15 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780330995
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780330990
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

...a comic, richly imagined, and stunningly written exploration of the American obsession with self-invention. (New Yorker)

Brilliantly unnerving. . . . A haunting, sharp, splendidly articulate novel. (The New York Times)

Egan limns the mysteries of human identity and the stranglehold our image-obsessed culture has on us all in this complicated and wildly ambitious novel. (Newsweek)

Ambitious, swiftly paced. . . . Egan writes with such shimmering élan that it?s easy to follow her cast on its journey. (The Wall Street Journal)

Dark, hugely ambitious. . . . As riveting as a roadside wreck and noxiously, scathingly funny. (Elle)

Egan's ability to move with ease between sincerity and satire sets Look at Me apart. . . . Her authentic-feeling details give a sense of unusual immediacy. (Vogue)

Prescient and provocative. . . . The characters . . . jump from the pages and dare you to care about them. . . . The prose is crisp and precise. . . . The pieces fit together at the end with a satisfying click. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Enjoyable and promising. (Financial Times)

After the success of Egan's 2011 Pulitzer-winning A Visit From The Goon Squad, this satire of identity and fame in modern culture is another wildly inventive and meticulously crafted piece of brilliance. (Stylist)

Sharp, clever, complex... I can't do this 514-page novel justice in 242 words. It's funny and serious, dry, sly and wry. The writing is as pin-sharp as the perceptions. Read it. (Independent on Sunday)

A prescient, pre-9/11 study of a society drowning in contrivances. (The Pulse)

Book Description

The stunningly well praised second novel from Jennifer Egan the author of the bestselling A Visit from the Goon Squad, which also won the Pulitzer Prize.

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Quicksilver TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'Look at Me' has been republished on the back of the success of Jennifer Egan's multi-award winning A Visit From the Goon Squad. I'm always reticent to read these resurrected books; if they are any good, why did they go out of print in the first place? But of course, publishing is a fickle art; all too often, great books sink without trace. 'Look at Me' has an intriguing premise and 'Goon Squad', made such an impression on me (it's a book that seems to get better the more I think about it), I thought I would have to give it a try.

'Look at Me' is a heavier read than 'Goon Squad', weighing in at over five hundred pages. It's a much more conventional novel, with a traditional narrative flow and not a single PowerPoint slide in sight.

The book follows two Charlottes. The first is a former model, who has undergone extensive facial reconstruction after a near-fatal car crash. She finds herself on the outside of the world she used to know; unrecognised and unwanted by a profession where appearance is everything and experience counts for little. The other Charlotte, a teenage girl in a decaying Midwestern town, has yet to discover who she is. She has tried many faces, but which one is the real Charlotte?

Though quite different in tone to 'Goon Squad', 'Look at Me' covers similar ground. If Goon Squad was about gaps in memories and how time changes perception, 'LAM' is about the gap between how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived by others, and more, how we want to be perceived.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Davison TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Look At Me is the story of Charlotte Swenson, a model whose face is damaged so badly in a car crash, that following reconstructive surgery she becomes unrecognisable to those who knew her. It is also the story of Charlotte Hauser, Charlotte Swenson's teenage namesake, the daughter of her estranged best friend, and the narrative switches between the two protagonists.

The prose is often well written and has some great identifiable moments throughout such as :

"When she thought of herself a year ago she remembered a girl with outsized hopes, a girl who believed the world had made secret arrangements in her favour. Charlotte hated her"

The premise too is a really good one, life beyond disfigurement, an interesting story to be told. Unfortunately this really isn't that story. Though this is the novels central plot, the story of the younger Charlotte has naught to do with this idea. Furthermore it is the younger Charlotte who is the more intriguing and likeable character. Older Charlotte the model is an irritating arrogant character to be in the company of, and the opportunity for psychological reflections on the nature of disfigurement does not take place, so much so that I do wonder if Egan even bothered to consult people who had experienced like tragedies.

In some ways it felt like two separate novels merged, a novel on loss of beauty, and a novel on loss of innocence; as though perhaps originally there had been only one Charlotte and Egan did not know whether to focus on her youth or her adulthood. The storyline involving the mysterious Z who solidifies a link between the two feels completely preposterous and tenuous due to excessive coincidence.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 27 Nov. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Published with extraordinary prescience a day or so from 9/11, this long novel deals with Charlotte a model whose face is reconstructed after a car crash, her friend's daughter, also called Charlotte, and an terrorist mole -- presumably Islamic, but this is never spelt out -- who ends up walking away from the atrocity he is planning. The mole is a made-up character, and you can tell -- wholly unconvincing, particularly in the light of what we now know about the 9/11 hi-jackers. The two Charlottes, by contrast, are brilliantly done. Jennifer Egan writes about the secret lives of women with a marvellous vividness and frankness. The only contemporary writer who can touch her in this regard is Curtis Sittenfeld.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jude Faulkner TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 10 July 2013
Format: Paperback
I, like another reviewer,also found with this book the more I read the less I cared. There are two Charlottes in the book, a friend of the mother of the younger one. The 'aunt'Charlotte character got more distant and unlikeable as I got further into the book. The young Charlotte was a puzzle. The natural uncle of the young Charlotte, Moose started off well and then the character changed. There was so much 'navel gazing' and pravacating in the book I switch off as reading it annoyed me as it went all over the place.I'm very glad to say I got this as a free ebook away from Amazon so I don't begrudge buying it and I'm very happy to admit I gave up on it three quarters of the way through. Life's too short to devote my time to something I can't enjoy reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Junkie on 9 May 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bought this after finishing this author's Goon Squad had been read and thoroughly enjoyed. If I'd read this first I may have enjoyed it much more, but I was constantly reading it as a comparison. Big mistake.

Unfortunately it was a poor comparison. The characters were all so disagreeable and I had no empathy for them which didn't help. It started well, and the theme was brilliant, a beautiful model disfigured in a road accident and her trying without success to come to terms with suddenly not being the centre of attention. But I constantly waited for something to happen. A big scene seemed on the horizon on many occasions, only to fizzle out before any satisfactory conclusion. In fact, a good description of this book would be unsatisfactory.

If you're going to read anything by this author, choose the Goon Squad. Give this a miss.
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