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Boxer, Beetle [Paperback]

Ned Beauman
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

3 Mar 2011

NED BEAUMAN HAS BEEN NAMED AS ONE OF GRANTA MAGAZINE'S BEST OF YOUNG BRITISH NOVELISTS 2013

Longlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the for the Guardian First Book Award, Ned Beauman was chosen by The Culture Show as one of the twelve Best New British Writers in 2011.

This is a novel for people with breeding.

Only people with the right genes and the wrong impulses will find its marriage of bold ideas and deplorable characters irresistible. It is a novel that engages the mind while satisfying those that crave the thrill of a chase.

There are riots and sex. There is love and murder. There is Darwinism and Fascism, nightclubs, invented languages and the dangerous bravado of youth. And there are lots of beetles.

It is clever. It is distinctive. It is entertaining.

We hope you are too.

www.boxerbeetle.com


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (3 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340998415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340998410
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.1 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ned Beauman was born in 1985 in London. His debut novel, BOXER, BEETLE, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Desmond Elliot Prize and won the Writers' Guild Award for Best Fiction Book and the Goldberg Prize for Outstanding Debut Fiction. His second novel, THE TELEPORTATION ACCIDENT, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Encore Award and a Somerset Maugham Award. He has been chosen by the Culture Show as one of the twelve best new British novelists and by Granta as one of the 20 best British novelists under 40. His work has been translated into more than ten languages. www.nedbeauman.co.uk

Product Description

Review

a piece of staggeringly energetic intellectual slapstick . . . it's crammed with strange, funny and interesting things (Sam Leith, Guardian)

an enjoyable confection; witty, ludicrous and entertaining (James Urquhart, Financial Times)

An astonishing debut...buzzing with energy, fizzing with ideas, intoxicating in its language, Boxer, Beetle is sexy, intelligent and deliriously funny (Jake Arnott)

A rambunctious, deftly-plotted delight of a debut (Observer)

Ned Beauman's astonishingly assured debut starts as it means to go on: confident, droll, and not in the best of taste . . . Many first novels are judged promising. Boxer, Beetle arrives fully formed: original, exhilarating and hugely enjoyable. (Peter Parker, Sunday Times)

Frighteningly assured (Katie Guest, Independent on Sunday)

Exuberant . . . There are politics, black comedy, experimentation and wild originality - and I haven't even got to the beetles. Terrific. (The Times)

Debut bout is a real knockout . . . dazzling (Daily Express)

Its ambitions are enormous, in terms of the range, energy and quality of the writing (Literary Review)

Dazzling . . . As in PG Wodehouse and the early Martin Amis the tone is mischievous and impudent without being merely jaunty or wacky . . . in Erksine and Broom we have two endlessly curious heroes whose thoughts are fascinating even at their silliest. (Leo Robson, Express)

A witty, erudite debut . . . thick with trivia, it confidently takes on British fascism, the Thule society, anti-Semitism, atonal composition, sex, and the class system . . . An articulate and original romp . . . often gobsmackingly smutty. Beauman is one to watch. (Katie Allen, Time Out)

Not one for the easily shocked, young scribe Ned Beauman subjects the reader to a parade of ghoulish events and ghastly theories throughout his dazzling first novel Boxer, Beetle . . . deeply researched and punchily written, this is an utterly unique work that marks the London-based author out as an exciting new voice in fiction. (The List)

Beauman skips with panache between his dreadful version of the present and the macabre absurdities of a period when cock-eyed science and rabid anti-Semitism provided a toxic cocktail for the upper classes. His killer irony evokes early Evelyn Waugh, and his lateral take on reality Will Self at his unsettling best. This is humour that goes beyond black, careening off into regions of darkness to deliver the funniest new book I've read in a year or two. (Pete Carty, Independent)

Clever, inventive, intelligently structured, genre-spanning, as magpie-like in its references as any graphic novel, and above all, an enjoyable, high-octane read through a fascinating period in history. (Rob Sharp, Independent on Sunday)

The 1930s are wonderfully evoked, and the historical sections of the novel are taut, thematically rich and extremely well written . . . it takes real skill to make a tragic hero out of the five-foot, nine-toed alcoholic Seth Roach . . . it's clear from this compelling debut that Beauman can perform the complicated paradoxical trick required of the best 21st-century realist novelists: to take an old and predictable structure and allow it to produce new and unpredictable connections. (Scarlett Thomas, Guardian)

An edifying treatise on the absurdity of eugenics and racial theories, and probably the most politically incorrect novel of the decade - as well as the funniest . . . Monstrous misfits with ugly motives are beautifully rendered in a novel where Beauman's scrupulous research is deftly threaded through serious themes in a laugh-out-loud-on-the-train history lesson. (Anna Swan, Sunday Telegraph)

I can only gape in admiration at a new writing force and wonder what he's going to produce next. (Victoria Moore, Daily Mail)

The scenes set in the past are reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall in their grotesque stupidity and amorality, and the present-day characters are as ruthless as any in modern noir fiction. It also makes a persuasive argument for the moral repercussions of Darwinism and the absurdities of fascism and repressed homosexuality, but that's just three aspects of a witty, fascinating and romping read. (James Medd, Word)

Beauman writes with wit and verve. (Carl Wilkinson, Financial Times)

'This first novel is as oddball and rambunctious as it sounds. It's also funny, raw and stylish.' (New York Times)

Book Description

The wildly compelling, award-winning debut novel from the author of THE TELEPORTATION ACCIDENT.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rollicking read 4 Sep 2010
By Eleanor TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This first novel moves between the present day and England a few years before the Second World War. Kevin, a collector of Nazi memorabilia and the sufferer of a very unpleasant medical condition, is sucked into a dangerous adventure, as he tries to unravel a seventy-year old mystery involving beetles, boxers, eugenics, and fascists.

Among the book's great characters, are an upper-class entomologist, a beautiful but violent Jewish boxer, and a spirited composer of atonal music who longs to escape from her family so she can go to a big city and learn to be witty, ironic, and brittle. Some of these people may not be particularly likeable (although one does warm to Seth 'Sinner' Roach, the boxer) but they are always interesting, and are treated with enough depth that, as well a being repelled, one also feels compassion when faced with their flaws, failings, and delusions.

'Boxer Beetle' displays a great depth of learning and the reader learns about invented languages, anti-Semitism in England and America before the war, and the battle of Cable Street among other things. The recreation of thirties England feels perfect.

In conclusion this book is funny, exciting, and clever; telling its story with confidence and verve, whilst never becoming pretentious or vacuous.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars missing a heart 3 Sep 2010
By C. Bones VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
I desperately wanted to like this book. Its unusual enough and "clever" enough that I wanted to get that buzz of excitement at discovering something fresh and original. But in the end I found it hard work. Always clever. Always taking me down unusual pathways and telling me interesting things about subjects that I knew nothing about, but somehow missing out as true story-telling. Somehow missing a heart.

The good news is that the book is ambitious, inventive and well written. So I'm sure the author will be worth following in the future.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nice bit of Crime and Grime, and a Page-turner 10 Sep 2010
By deadbeat VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book mostly on the strength of its cover. I know that's supposed to be a rookie mistake, but then again, the graphics are charming, the book is well-made, with good-quality paper and so on; and it turns out it was a jolly good read anyway. The title, also, was a bit of a draw: it seemed to promise something Kafkaesque; though in that regard it didn't quite deliver. Instead of Kafka's labyrinths we are presented with a mixture of crime, obscenity, and scientific discourse. That is to say: with murder, lots of graphic hetero- and homosexual intercourse (though mostly homo-), invented languages, dissonance, Darwinism, eugenics, and Nazism. It's a good recipe, especially if you're one of those readers who likes to come away from his (or her) reading feeling a bit grubby.

The book switches back and forth mostly between two time-lines, before World War II and the present. In the past we are given the story of the relationship between two very different individuals: Seth Roach and Sir Philip Erskine; one a talented Jewish boxer from London's East-end, the other an aristocrat interested in eugenics. The former, a law unto himself, and prone to violence; the latter, a bit of a fop. Both of them are gay, though Sir Erskine is in denial. In the present we follow a despicable boy, Kevin Broom, in his hunt (under duress) for a certain piece of Nazi memorabilia. What makes Kevin particularly distasteful is his infliction with a certain condition, trimethylaminuria, which basically means he sweats urine.

Of course, the two stories link together quite well; the plot is well constructed, and to the author's credit, what we have here is a bit of a page-turner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and Dramatic First Novel 24 April 2013
By Poldy
Format:Paperback
A murder-mystery that moves from the 1930s to the present day, taking in East End Jews, boxing, beetles, a sinister Welsh hitman, an upper class family, Nazi memorabilia, and even a letter from the Fuhrer himself. Protagonist Kevin, sufferer of a rare medical condition who conducts most of his social life on-line, is compelled literally at gun-point to investigate what really happened to a thuggish East End Jewish boxer in the 1930s.

A bizarre mix of characters populate this hilarious and witty first novel, including Fascists, both dedicated and half-hearted, entomologists, ruthless property-developers and on-line memorabilia collectors. I can see that this won't be for everyone, but I found it hilarious and very well-written.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully unpleasant 27 July 2010
By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
You'd be hard pushed to find any even remotely pleasant characters in Boxer Beetle and few of the situations could in any way be described as agreeable - but there's nonetheless something compelling in its rather unique perspective and telling. In this narrative there is perhaps something of the discordant elements of the serial music experiments spoken of by one of the characters, Emily Erskine, who believes that "Dissonance is the sound of life in the twentieth century", and Boxer Beetle certainly tries it best to create dissonance between its rather unpleasant characters and the disagreeable situations they find themselves in. And, to a large extent, it succeeds.

There is however no formal experimentation with serialism itself in the writing, which switches conventionally between the present-day and related events in Britain in 1936 around the time of a rising interest with Fascism in Britain as well as in other more obvious parts of Europe. Kevin, a rather spineless (and smelly) collector of Nazi memorabilia in the present day, who doesn't ask himself too deeply about the dark undertones of his hobby, comes across a clue to a rather rare item presented to Adolf Hitler in the 1930s by a British entomologist, Philip Erskine, but a lethal assassin with an interest in the subject is also on the trail. Back in 1936, Erskine, although he has discovered an interesting new species of beetle on a trip to Poland, is interested in extending his controversial theories on eugenics and to assist in his experiments he has enlisted the services (in more ways than one) of a diminutive, aggressive, foul-mouthed, drunken, Jewish boxer from the East End of London, Seth Roach, known as Sinner.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars really good read
Great read enjoyed it.
Published 1 month ago by PatrickK
5.0 out of 5 stars This guy is the best writer in a generation
This guy is the best writer in a generation.
For a forst effort this book is increible.
I read glow first (in 2 days) and loved it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by bitchass
1.0 out of 5 stars Put the beetle back in the box, Conair!
You can put all kinds of nonsense into a title, or a novel: tongue-in-cheek asides; in jokes; half references to obscure theses; smart-alec allusions; and all manner of obscure... Read more
Published 4 months ago by fileyfan
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird and clever
A rather knowing style but interesting subject matter (boxer, beetle) and only one jarring grammatical usage. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Maggie BG
2.0 out of 5 stars Provocation by numbers.
This is a novel which sets out to shock and impress, an exercise in being provocative and literary. It's not a dismal failure, but neither is it a success. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mr Nobody
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb first novel.
A superb first novel. Quirky, funny, informative and at times shocking. This is brilliantly written, I found myself laughing out loud and gasping in awe at some of the prose. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Bookness
4.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive
Racy, funny, well-observed, off-beat, interesting and inventive.

I wouldn't have believed, after 80 years, that there were still new ways to make fascists seem funny.
Published 12 months ago by Dustmite
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful and strangely compelling tale.
I gave this 5 stars, as it was such an original story, with intriguing characters and an almost Gothic setting. Read more
Published 12 months ago by priscilla
1.0 out of 5 stars Very clever and very boring
Goes to pieces about 60 pages in when the prose disappears up its own behind. Oh the writing is smooth and clever but the characters are dull and inauthentic. Read more
Published 12 months ago by ThugEarwig
3.0 out of 5 stars Surreally real
Boxer Beetle is a crazy romp through pre World War England, taking in prize fighting, Fascism, pseudo science, weird sex, and so much more. Read more
Published 15 months ago by maurice gran
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