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A Closed Book Paperback – 6 Nov 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (6 Nov 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571203817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571203819
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.1 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,002,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Amazon Review

"What I shall want from you are your eyes ..." A writer, blinded in a car accident, employs someone to help write his new book--but not as a mere scribe. "The world was designed to be seen", the writer insists and so he requires:
"Someone whose eyes will take the place of mine. Someone capable not only of observing the world for me but of communicating his observations to me so that I can then transmute them into prose. Into my prose."
So begins the strange symbiotic relationship between the two protagonists of A Closed Book, a relationship that becomes increasingly disturbing and unsettling. Recounted entirely in finely realised dialogue and what seems to be interjections of internal monologue, the reader is confined entirely to the realm of sound, to voices, as if we are being asked to privilege the evidence of the ear over that of the eye, to experience the world from the point of view of the blind writer himself. As the book progresses, however, typographical and factual oddities accumulate, clues towards a darker design that is made manifest in the book's final twist, where questions raised earlier-- of trust, of real and figurative blindness, of self- regard (in both senses), of the power of language--are recast from a brutally different perspective.

Gilbert Adair previously won the Scott-Moncrieff prize for his extraordinary translation of the late Georges Perec's A Void--a novel composed without the letter "e"-- and some of that author's wit, allusiveness and self- conscious artistry find their way into Adair's new book, transmuted into something altogether more sinister. This is a powerful psychological thriller, well-paced, energetic (and occasionally very funny) but it also incorporates some subtle philosophical and literary questions into its narrative: How far can we believe what we read (or hear) and how does a reader's trust in a writer's fictional world equate with the trust required in allowing someone to interpret the world for us? See for yourself. --Burhan Tufail --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Gilbert Adair has published novels, essays, translations, children's books and poetry. He has also written screenplays, including The Dreamers from his own novel for Bernardo Bertolucci.

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Jan 2002
Format: Paperback
This was the first Gilbert Adair book I have read and I must say that I cannot wait to read more. By writing the book principally in dialogue with only brief descriptive passages (the relevance of which only becomes clear towards the end of the book) it throws you into the world of the blind protagonist. I also disagree with other reviewers who felt that the ending let down the whole book. While it could have been stronger, I feel that it did not detract from my enjoyment of the book and contained its own fair share of twists.
I would recommend reading the book to anyone who is willing to put aside time, as once you start you will not be able to put it down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Oct 1999
Format: Paperback
A story is told as a series of conversations. The story leads to a very unexpected twist at the end from a totally surprising direction (I would spoil it by giving more details). The signs were there, but I was nowhere close to spotting it - it made me feel quite dim.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Corbet on 14 Nov 1999
Format: Paperback
Back in the sixties when Alfred Hitchcock had an American television show that featured the type of story Gilbert Adair has written in this book, there was a series of inexpensive paperbacks titled something similar to: Alfred Hitchcock-Ten Stories They Wouldn't Let Me Put On TV. The writing was good; the stories were clever. However, they were all short stories. Mr. Adair has concocted one of those Alfred Hitchcock short stories which unfortunately runs to 258 pages. It takes a little too long to get where we are going, and consequentially a little disappointing when we finally get there. A better mystery is how to actually get a copy of his book. In the space of about one month, I read at least five very favourable reviews of this book in several London newspapers. However, during that same time, I checked at least seven bookstores, in various parts of London, and none of them was carrying the book. I finally had to order it via you know who. If I were Mr. Adair, that is a mystery I would wish to solve.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. B. J. Dutton on 24 Nov 1999
Format: Paperback
I've just completed this book. Gilbert Adair is a fine writer, and with 'A Closed Book', he has continued to affirm this; just as he did with 'Love and Death on Long Island.'
However I was also disappointed. I knew the ending after about 50 pages. What kept me going was that this story is well constructed and it does make you question what is going on - almost to a philosophical level of whether we can trust what we hear.
It entertains and makes you think. You'll probably enjoy this book if you give it a go. Just don't expect that much.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Jan 2001
Format: Paperback
Adair constructed this novel in a very unique style. It was written with only dialog to describe the characters and setting; befitting for a book whose main character is blind. I could not read it fast enough; I could not put it down; it really grasped me. I was, however, very disappointed with the ending. I was expecting something more intellectual and Hitchcock-ian.
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