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Flicker [Paperback]

Theodore Roszak
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 13.27 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Feb 2005
Jonathan Gates loves going to the Classic, a legendary little art house cinema in west L.A. There he succumbs to what will be a lifelong obsession with the mysterious Max Castle, a nearly forgotten genius of the silent screen and film noir director who vanished in the 1940s, at the height of his powers. 20 years later, Gates seeks the truth behind Castle's disappearance - and finds himself on a journey deep into Hollywood's own heart of darkness, where nothing on the silver screen is quite what it appears.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: No Exit Press (1 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842431382
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842431382
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 169,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Theodore Roszak: born in 1933, a Californian Professor of History, director of the Ecopsychology Institute at California State University, social critic and novelist, author of the influential and acclaimed The Making of the Counterculture and The Cult Of Information - described by Fritjof Capra as 'one of the keenest observers and most articulate interpreters of contemporary cultural, philosophical, and scientific trends'.



Product Description

Review

"A one-of-a-kind book . . . has lost none of its hallucinatory power since it was published 14 years ago." --The Palm Beach Post

About the Author

Theodore Roszak: born in 1933, a Californian Professor of History, director of the Ecopsychology Institute at California State University, social critic and novelist, author of the influential and acclaimed The Making of the Counterculture and The Cult Of Information - described by Fritjof Capra as 'one of the keenest observers and most articulate interpreters of contemporary cultural, philosophical, and scientific trends'.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
I saw my first Max Castle movie in a grubby basement in west Los Angeles. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rewarding slowburner 25 Sep 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a long book that takes a bit of commitment, but it's well worth it - especially if, as I do, you like a story concerning hidden strangeness.
The narrator of the novel is a film buff who gets involved in an LA fleapit cinema that specialises in off-centre works by cult directors. He fixates on one film-maker in particular, a kind of ultimate cult auteur figure by the name of Max Castle. At first, he can't fully work out why Castle's films fascinate him so much, but then it dawns on him that there is a very bizarre and disturbing quality that the films all possess - and it's when he starts to investigate this that the story begins to take an unexpected turn or two.
It's a kind of Butterfly Effect novel, beginning inauspiciously but finishing with a real "Oh my god!" ending. The only danger is that some may find the story rather far-fetched as it develops; but if you can overcome this and go with it, it's an entertaining, intriguing and quite chilling read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real curate's egg of a novel.... 24 Jun 2004
Format:Paperback
Flicker is extraordinarily persistent in the memory. I read it once on holiday 3 years ago and it still comes to mind as one the most original novels I have read. Deserving of far more laudation, it is as if Umberto Eco had collaborated with Kenneth Anger to write an alternate Hollywood history. If you cannot find it new, buy it used. Lend it only to your trustworthy friends as you'll want to revisit it again and again.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK YOU REALLY WANT TO BE A MOVIE! 12 July 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ever read a book that you have to reach the end, but equally don't want it to finish, because there are so many areas and avenues that you want to know more about? Then FLICKER is the book for you. The story of the discovery of Max Castle one of the forgotten directors of 30's Hollywood and the early days of European cinema. A kitch cult director, except his movies held hidden secrets, movies within movies, dark, disturbing moments. Moments that could mean the end of the world. This is a book for every lover of the movies of anyone who sees the flicker on the screen!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Consistently Surprising 9 Nov 2008
Format:Paperback
Every time I thought I had drawn a bead on where Flicker was going, Theodore Roszak surprised me. It was recommended as a cross between Sunset Boulevard and The Da Vinci Code, but that comparison isn't fair. Where an insightful reader can see the plot points of The Da Vinci Code 200 pages in advance, Flicker continually surprises. There was only one point where I saw what was coming, and I noticed it only one page in advance of its occurrence.

Jonathan Gates begins a study of the films of Max Castle, a mysterious talent who disappeared in 1941. As he is drawn deeper and deeper into film and world history, we are, too. Jonathan tours the world visiting people who once knew Herr Castle, and every answer he finds raises two more questions, until he's in danger of getting in too deep to extricate himself.

Flicker started off a bit slow, and I think that may be because I was trying to second-guess where it was headed. I've read so much predictable fiction that I was unprepared for its originality and for its insistence on making me rise to its level, rather than talking down to me. Once I made that adjustment, I found it to be brilliantly paced and very interesting.

A friend of mine said, when I told her I was reading Flicker, that when she read it, she turned the pages saying to herself "this could really happen." I understand what she meant now, and that journey was quite suspenseful. I was sorry to see the story end.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars missing the point 29 April 2005
Format:Paperback
Many of these reviews, including Amazon's own, miss one of the main points of this book; it's a comic satire. The characters are, on the whole, grotesque, overblown and vile portraits. The language Roszak employs is venomous and witty. Even the ending of the story is ripped, respectfully, straight out of Evelyn Waugh.
People are comparing this book to the Da Vinci Code - the only similarity is that both stories contain a ripping yarn about something lost being found. But that book suffered from a lack of intelligence in the prose. Flicker is the real deal. It's an absolute hoot.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstood masterpiece 23 Mar 2006
Format:Paperback
Most of reviewers simply did not understand the idea behind the book. It is not so much about a conspiracy or subliminal propaganda, as an attempt to deconstruct (though I hate the word) the visual product and analyse it gradual poisoning of a human mind through subconscious messages. The author also plays with us: a classic method of creating a mystical silent movie actor / director, discovered (as if...) and brought out of obscurity to haunt present day world; art as ain instrument of subversion; heresy as a decoration for world domination aspirations etc There are ideas here for twenty books. Indeed, you would never be able to watch the movie the same way. By the way, a good sociological (sociopathical?) history of cinematography as well...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This book is patently one you love or hate, get or don't get. I think it is brilliant beyond belief. I haven't had the opportunity to watch Shirley Temple since I read this book and maybe it's just as well!

If you love silent cinema or film noir then this is for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Engrossing Read 5 Mar 2013
By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Theodore Roszak's epic (670-page) tale of a global conspiracy geared towards world apocalypse, led by (maybe rather predictably) an ancient religious 'cult' (in this case the Cathars), whose key messages are to be communicated to the public subliminally via the mechanism of cinema film, makes for an entertaining and engrossing read. Flicker was actually recommended to me some years ago by a friend who felt that, as something of a cinema aficionado, it would be 'right up my street'. Indeed, given the way Roszak mixes elements of (extremely well researched) reality and fantasy, with the career of the novel's pivotal character, German film director Max Kastell (or Castle) including spells working with early 20th century German Expressionist film-makers through to having assisted Orson Welles on Citizen Kane, it makes for fascinating reading for anyone of a cinematic bent.

Roszak's novel is written with (an apparently) truly felt affection for all things cinematic as he traces the career of Flicker's central character, LA film student Jonathan Gates, whose job at local arts cinema The Classic leads to him discovering the obscure works of Castle, setting him off on an increasingly obsessive pursuit of the film-maker's history, and the uncovering of the bizarre and macabre chain of connections that Castle had with shadowy group the Orphans of the Storm, prior to his mysterious disappearance in 1941.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars In my top 5 books!
I have a new entry in my top 5 (fiction) books! Yes, I did think this was that good.

First of all, the comparisons with Da Vinci Code are pointless. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mike N
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Loved this book; its one of those big, philosophical, why-are-we-here, state-of-the-planet, apocalypse-in-waiting, Chinese box epics that keeps you intrigued and makes you think... Read more
Published on 21 Jun 2012 by Mr. Ja McLaughlin
1.0 out of 5 stars good for insomnia
Was really disappointed in this, I persevered for as long as I could but in the end it just bored me!
Published on 26 Oct 2011 by The Doctor
5.0 out of 5 stars Secret History of Cinema
Flicker is a journey through the secret history of cinema that begins in a fleapit theatre in 60's Los Angeles and ends in the fires of the inquisition. Read more
Published on 12 Aug 2010 by Pistachio T Wildebeest
2.0 out of 5 stars Comic Satire/Turgid Writing?
At 688 pages this is a massive tome and it also massively overblown. Advertised on the front cover as "A secret history of film - Sunset Boulevard Meets The Da Vinci Code, these... Read more
Published on 9 Sep 2009 by Eileen Shaw
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs editing
This is an unusual book. Sometimes very engaging, quirky and intelligent; sometimes boring and tangential. Read more
Published on 19 Jun 2009 by Thomas J. Curtis
1.0 out of 5 stars Descent into hell
A book that comes in at the best part of 700 pages needs to have a lot to offer to keep the attention of the reader ... Flicker doesn't have it.
The writing is mostly turgid. Read more
Published on 20 Aug 2005 by "dohahaha"
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