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Balthasar's Odyssey
 
 

Balthasar's Odyssey [Kindle Edition]

Amin Maalouf
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Review

His is a voice which Europe cannot afford to ignore. Guardian His observation of human nature in all its facets is wonderfully accurate. Sunday Telegraph One of Maalouf's most subtle books, and without doubt one of his most accomplished. Le Point Sparkling and erudite, this is a wonderful novel. Independent A splendid book that should be read in the way one looks at a highly coloured fresco, allowing oneself to be transported by the breeze that wafts Balthasar on the most unexpected journeys. -- Josette Alia Nouvel Observateur

Review

"Balthasar's Odyssey is one of Maalouf's most subtle books, and without doubt one of his most accomplished"; Philippe Nourry, Le Point "A splendid book that should be read in the way one looks at a highly coloured fresco, allowing oneself to be transported by the breeze that wafts Balthasar on the most unexpected journeys"; Josette Alia, Nouvel Observateur

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 643 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (31 Dec 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006H4C236
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,611 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid novel 17 Jan 2004
By Gerrit Ruitinga VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
For those that have read his previous books, like Leo the African and Samarkand, it will be no surprise that the Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf again delivers a splendid book. You can read it as a historical novel, as a metaphysical one or just as an adventure novel; it is all three.
The main protagonist, Balthasare, gets involved with a book, the Hundreth Name, which apparently gives the magic hundreth's name for Allah, a certain cure to avoid the end of the world. Set in 1966, the year that many believed to be the year that the world would come to an end, this is certainly a book to be treasured. Alas, he loses it and he sets out on a journey to retrieve it. a journey which will take him from his home in Lebanon to Constantinople, Genoa, Amsterdam, London and many other places. During his trips he encounters many people and thinkers from all main religions, Catholics, Muslims, Jews etc, as well as a whole range of scoundrels after his money or other possessions. The many meetings contain gems of debates about the meaning of life and religion. The debate is wonderful and insightful and poses very interesting questions; one non-catholic questions whether the phrase "Love thy neighbour as one self" is that important as self love is always flawed and suggest that "He who is without sin casts the first stone" really should be thr prime guideline for our life.
All this is set against a painstaikingly well researched historical background ranging from the upsurges against Constantinople to the Great Fire of London.
A magic adventure indeed!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific 31 Jan 2007
Format:Paperback
This is not my usual read at all, being fantasy and historical, but I did absolutely love it. It is a rich and colourful book. The style is fabulous and so easy to read, the plot flows effortlessly. The portrayal of the Mediterranean is excellent and the characters are delightful, even if a few are quite unsavoury. Within a very clever and slightly comical plot many modern day issues are touch upon, but in the same breath the historical accounts are well researched and accurate.

I just can't praise this read enough and look forward to reading more of this author's books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! 23 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback
When i started to read this book, i had to force myself to put it down sometimes,as it was so captivating!All characters in the book are so well created, and i like that all story was written in diary form, which made all this storry telling so simple,but at the same time so warm and real. In some places i felt like i'm in the middle of all these events,it seemed like i can feel all the smells,and can hear sounds around me..:)Picture of every country was so real, that i felt like i was travelling myself.
Another thing i liked about this book,that all the sides of this book-religious, philosophical, educational, psyhological was well-balanced and the stranded together in such a beautiful way, that even if i was doing something else that reading, i was still thinking about this story...
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in travels, a little bit of mysticism, history of religion...A lot of things:)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended Voyage of Discovery 21 April 2010
By Elizabeth Taylor VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent novel, it's a travelogue, a philosophical work, a tale of relationships and religion - and that's a lot to ask of any book. The hero is a somewhat bumbling antique dealer who becomes obsessed with a book which is alleged to contain a secret magical word, the 100th name for Allah/God. The book of our hero's imagination literally falls into his lap but then he looses it before reading a word and in his growing obsession he sets out on a journey to search for it across the near east and Europe of the 17th century. Along the way, he falls in love, meets lots of interesting people, visits well known spots, gets caught up in the Great Fire of London, has strange encounters and muses a lot. The novel takes the form of a journal of his search, and, the fact that he is somewhat foolish and somewhat old and somewhat ugly means that he is all the more believable as a character. The tale is told in simple language and his observations on the encounters along the way are those of an innocent, often only later seeing meaning or logic in events. The book of the 100th word is elusive, as is the real reason for his search.

It's an engaging tale, full of ideas but also a story which holds the attention for the fascinating view of 17th century travel and all the action along the way - I couldn't put it down. It's full of imagination and observation and the good and bad choices he makes are thoughtful and resonate, as we are all trying to bumble along the best way we can through life. A highly recommended read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK but a bit disappointing. 3 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an ok read but to be honest I expected more from such a prolific writer. Story line began well but became less credible as I read on. The end a bit disappointing and left too many loose ends for me.
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