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Ed King [Paperback]

David Guterson
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 7.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

30 Aug 2012
In 1962, when Walter Cousins sleeps with his British au pair, Diane Burroughs, he can have no sense of the magnitude of his error: this brief affair sets in motion a tragedy of epic proportions, upending Sophocles's immortal tale of fate, free will, and forbidden desire. At the centre is Ed King, an infant given up for adoption who becomes one of the world's most powerful men. But beneath the gripping story of Ed's seemingly inexorable rise to fame and fortune is a dark and unsettling destiny, one that approaches with ever-increasing suspense as the novel reaches its shattering conclusion.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (30 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408821990
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408821992
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 397,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A great story and a riveting read (Daily Mail)

Superbly organised and sophisticated ... Excellently entertaining (Sunday Times)

[A] compelling moral fable ... beautiful writing (The Times)

Guterson is a gifted writer (Guardian)

Book Description

From the bestselling author of Snow Falling on Cedars, a dazzling, darkly funny, compulsively readable retelling of Sophocles's Oedipus Rex that takes us from the 1962 Seattle World's Fair to the twenty-first century headquarters of an Internet search giant.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Review for Ed King 10 Jan 2012
By sniffit
We all like a book that we simply cannot put down. Sadly, for me, Ed King just didn't come into this genre. I could put it down for hours, days, and even a week at one point, before going back to where I'd left off. I just couldn't find the storyline captivating enough to even get beyond the third chapter. So I did what the author actually expected us all to do... I went straight to page 237 to see what the fuss was all about. When I got there I was greatly disappointed.
If you're a thrill-seeker looking for an exciting read then I wouldn't recommend this one. The only thrill I got was selling the book on Ebay for a fiver!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately disappointing Oedipus re-telling 9 April 2012
By Joanne Sheppard TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ed King is a modern-day American re-telling of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, in which the abandoned child of a 15-year-old English au pair is secretly adopted and brought up to be a high-achieving golden boy. This foundling builds his own billion-dollar IT company, only to discover that his parents were not who he thought they were and worse, neither is his wife. It's clever, sharp and often funny, and yet there just seems to be something missing.

That something could, I suppose, be suspense - after all, the two things everyone knows about Oedipus is that he inadvertently killed his father and slept with his mother, so the experience of reading Ed King is largely a matter of waiting patiently to see how Guterson will arrange for Ed to do these things, rather than being shocked when he does.

Or perhaps what's missing is any real degree of sympathy with the protagonist. Ed is neither interesting nor likeable: he's a spoilt narcissist who seems to breeze through life with only one small glitch when he's briefly depressed about killing someone, and is inexplicably irresistible to women of all ages from the age of about 12 upwards. Consequently, after endless plodding pages about his brattish teenage behaviour and tedious college years, full of hubris and a sense of entitlement, I found it remarkably hard to care about his fate.

Admittedly, the supporting characters are more engaging. Walter, Ed's father, is a sad, inadequate little man who pays a troubled English teenager to look after his children, and although there's little about Walter to like, his deeply creepy attraction to Diane, sense of inadequacy and nagging dissatisfaction with his lot makes him interesting, at least. Diane herself is complex, clever and resourceful, albeit far from scrupulous.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 12 Feb 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this as it was the Kindle Deal of the Day. The book starts reasonably well but once the scene has been set for Ed to be adopted without knowing who his real parents are I found the story rapidly degenerated into a pell mell list of things that the characters do to spend their lives until the author gets to the next important plot line, which unfortunately isn't until 75% of the way through the book.

Might have made a reasonable short story but the characters just aren't likeable enough to enjoy reading so many pages about them. In fact by the end of the book I hated them all so much I couldn't have cared less what happened, I was just glad to be finished reading it.

As you might guess, I wouldn't recommend this, even at the Daily Deal price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the effort 18 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It should be hard to make the story of an adopted man who grows up to murder his father and marry his mother dull, but Guterson manages it. The chapters focusing on Ed are especially boring and I ended up speed reading them. All the characters are so unpleasant that it's impossible to care what happens to them. Guterson's final firework of putting himself, anagramised, into the story as Ed's private pilot, is a particularly damp squib.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WHO'S YOUR MOMMY? 11 Aug 2012
By Red Rock Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Either David Guterson is truly improving with age or my taste for his particular brand of narration and subject matter has developed over the past several years. My reaction to his books seems to see-saw and I admit that unlike most of the literary critics who praised SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS as the pinnacle of storytelling, I was not a big fan of this book finding his exploration of racism against Japanese Americans during the early days of WWII ploddingly slow and generally stereotypical. With EAST OF THE MOUNTAIN I was drawn into the spiritual journey of one man facing death and his "healing" impact on the people whose lives he touches. His next two offerings OUR LADY OF THE FOREST and THE OTHER were okay but definitely nothing special. With ED KING, my personal Guterson see-saw is on the move upward again.

Other reviewers have pointed out the obvious connection between ED KING and Oedipus Rex, with Guterson's relocation of this classic Greek tragedy to modern day Seattle and re-birth of Oedipus as Ed, the egotistical maverick tycoon, created by gene splicing Steven Jobs and Bill Gates. Even Ed's company, Pythia, which appears to be based on Google draws its name from the ORACLE of DELPHI.

While Ed's story is interesting, probably the most challenging and complex character in this book is Diane, Ed's wife/mother. She possesses a certain charisma and her character (or lack thereof) truly provides the underlying vibrations and the viscosity that holds this story together. She could very easily be the gal you most love to hate while Ed provides definite proof that he is his mother's son. Both are so filled with pride and arrogance that they definitely lend credence to the theory of heredity and DNA.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars An Oedipul Bore
This was a very disappointing book in more ways than one. Not only is the author capable of so much more, but Oedipus Rex is a classic tragedy in the truest sense of the... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mark Ramsay
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Gripping until the very last page, superb read and a great ending which so many books lack these days, highly recommend it
Published 20 months ago by Caitlinhappymeal
4.0 out of 5 stars See past the myth retelling and enjoy the ride
This book marks a stylistic departure for Guterson from his previous work, which whilst always excellent, can be a bit cerebral and considered. Read more
Published on 26 April 2012 by ReadThis,LikedThis
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating reimagining of Oedipus Rex
I wasn't sure what to expect from "Ed King", not having read this author before. I bought it when it was on sale in the Kindle Daily Deal and began it not knowing much beyond the... Read more
Published on 18 Feb 2012 by Antonia Chalk
5.0 out of 5 stars A Change of Direction
I have read all of Gutterson's previous publications and delighted in the author's excellent, evocative written style and engaging plots. Read more
Published on 8 Nov 2011 by Jim
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
David Guterson's writing never fails to astound and his range of subject matter, together with th sensitive nature with which he deals with difficult subjects, is amazing
Published on 7 Nov 2011 by Florabunda
4.0 out of 5 stars AN INTRIGUING STORY
With the winning of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Snow Falling On Cedars David Guterson was recognized as a literary giant. Read more
Published on 26 Oct 2011 by Gail Cooke
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