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Elect Mr Robinson for a Better World

Elect Mr Robinson for a Better World [Kindle Edition]

Donald Antrim
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Entertaining and mischievously imagined . . . Antrim is a wonderful, truly original comic writer." --"San Francisco Chronicle""A slice of sulfurous whimsy... You are draw in because of the depth of human feeling that Antrim smuggles in... almost below the radar level." --"The New York Times ""The author's surreal vision is both imaginative and wholly his own . . . A striking literary discovery." --"The Boston Globe"

Product Description

Having accidentally inspired the local suburbanites to draw and quarter the town's blood-thirsty Mayor, Pete Robinson - civic-minded schoolteacher and enthusiastic historian of the Medieval Inquisition - embarks on a tenuous election campaign. But his sleepy town has entered a period of crisis; the local park is littered with landmines, the neighbours are building deadly moats around their homes, and his beautiful wife, Meredith, has discovered dark and powerful talents within herself, which threaten to transfigure their once serene lives forever. In amongst this chaos, can Mr Robinson satisfy the terrible will of the people?

By turns funny and phantasmagorical, fiercely intelligent and imaginative, Donald Antrim's first novel of suburban civics turned macabre is a new American classic.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 366 KB
  • Print Length: 189 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312662106
  • Publisher: Granta Books (7 Feb 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ANP55L6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #148,300 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book represents a finely detailed vision of the surburban experince gone wrong. A vivid sense of the macabre is employed to develop a rich texture and background for a surbaban scene slightly out of kilter, a place where handsome middle class homes are protected by ealborate, spike filled moats to keep the neighbors at bay. Mr. Antrim has a cpmpelling and engaging writing style. Unfortunately, the book flounders at times as Mr. Antrim seems unclear as to whether he's writing a satire or a farce and, therefore, characters either come across as too weird or, paradoxically, not nearly wierd enough. In the end, one is left much more impressed with the authors vision than with the story itself. That vision, however, is compelling enough to make this book a worhwhile reading experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal favourite - oddball 24 Sep 1999
By A Customer
I loved this book. It is very funny, but the style may not be everyone's cup of tea. The narrative is set in a place where law and order has slipped into the hands of reactionary right-wing folks in a quiet town. If you like quirky humour (another favourite of mine is David Sedaris) then you will love this. Be warned though, not everyone will...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The perfect neighbor" 15 Nov 1996
By Robert S Michaels - Published on
This is one of those books that keeps doing its work long after the last word has been read. Antrim makes his art like he observes his life: contradictions galore. Mr. Robinson's loyalty to his wife and to his ideals regarding education don't seem as if they should fit within the general paranoid isolative nature of his community, and yet they do, in a very real way. Mr. Robinson attempts to make a real difference in his community while neighbors build vastly deep moats equipped with lethal spikes to surround their homes. There is a haunting similarity to the entire town's psyche here in this image, and Mr. Robinson is not immune to this. Characters seem to proceed with a wide knowledge of life and its intricacies, yet are unable to make the connections between things: to see how interest can breed obsession, how love can inspire violence. There exists the danger of falling through these cracks and understanding and this is indeed what happens.
The novel creeps toward an unsettling climax that you always know in the back of your mind is coming, yet can't quite let yourself believe it to be true. The cliched neighbor response to the latest small town horror on the six o'clock news comes to mind. "He seemed like a nice man. The perfect neighbor. Basically kept to himself." "Elect Mr. Robinson For A Better World" is touching and unsettling in the way that little art is and most life can be. Despite jacketflap trumpeting, few novelists seem willing to be brave enough to address the pockets of darkness that exist in the well-lit homes of the upper middle class. Don't expect the feel good book of the year, but if you're looking for something thought-provoking, this might very well be what you need to read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bizarre yet familiar portrayal of suburban life 16 Jan 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Antrim takes a small suburban community and removes the authorities which force it to be civilized. The result is a bizarre mixture of barbarism, fad culture and civilized neighbourly rivalry. I found it fascinating, entertaining and darkly funny.

What made it funny was that, despite the extremity to which the aspects of suburban living had been taken, it was all very familiar. The satire is sharp, but Antrim manages to express it as an insider telling a shared joke, rather than as an outsider taking pot-shots at another's culture.

I enjoyed this book immensely. Antrim's second novel, The Hundred Brothers, is also very good, but I think I liked Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World more.
15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh, C'mon... It's No Moby Dick! 30 Nov 1998
By A Customer - Published on
I imagine these folks giving "Mr. Robinson" five stars must be friends with Mr. Antrim; it's a good book, but puh-leeeez! Not five-stars-good. Like his cohorts Eugenides and Moody (and Wallace too, on a bad day), Antrim uses a certain amount of gross-out black humor(?) to separate his work from more mainstream prose. And I'm not complaining; I don't want to read Harlequin Romances. But I read this thing in 1998, years after it was published; and while I still feel a visceral response to people's arms being torn from their sockets; well, also it seems a little tired and juvenile, this kind of "I may have gone to an Ivy League school, but I'm no suburbanite" sort of literary thrashing around. I've already been shocked into numbness, I guess -- maybe Antrim led the pack, but that hardly matters now. I would nominate this as the "Feel Bad Book of the Year". All this violence and misery, and to what end? It's not that funny, really, and it's not saying anything new. All the gal characters are evaluated to that usual "would-I-f*ck-'er?" degree, and the men are the usual Babbitt-esque suburban louts suckin' down their brewskis. Ho hum. That being said, he's an amazing writer, and I imagine that if he gets more interesting things in his head, he could produce a real 5-star novel some day without breaking a sweat.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark, innovative, but not my cup of tea 4 Jan 2014
By Benjamin M. Davis - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Book reviews likely say more about the reviewer than the book. This is a masterfully written piece of innovative fiction. I just disliked it. Something about Mr Antrim's imagination while unique, is too dark and twisted for me. Not to say I don't enjoy a good dark read - Celine, the Patrick Melrose novels. Just not this one. I also found the stylistic choice of a single continuous narrative without chapter breaks, while very effective at creating a propulsive force, to be on balance a detriment to my becoming immersed in the novel as I did not have the luxury of reading it in one sitting.
5 stars for excellent fiction writing, 1 star for my dislike, hence the compromise 3 stars.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound and Original 23 Nov 2001
By Kim F. Hill - Published on
Donald Antrim is a wonderful original writer who takes the novel to a new and dark place unlike any book you will ever read. Black humor mixed with painful insights on us all it explores the paradoxical world of insanity and real suburban life in a very funny way.
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