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The Polish Boxer
 
 

The Polish Boxer [Kindle Edition]

Eduardo Halfon , Daniel Hahn , Ollie Brock , Thomas Bunstead , Lisa Dillman
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

International Latino Book Award Finalist"New York Times" "Editors' Choice" "Los Angeles Times" "Holiday Gift Recommendation"Two-time "San Francisco Chronicle" "Top Shelf" selection"Shelf Unbound" Top 10 Book of the Year"Jewish Week" "Fall Arts Preview" selection"Publishers Weekly" "First Fiction" selectionJewish Book Council "Weekly Book Recommendation"Book Expo America "Big Book" "Funny and revelatory." --"New York Times Book Review" "Elegant" --"Marie Claire" "Deeply accessible, deeply moving." --"Los Angeles Times" "Fantastic . . . Intense pain and beauty are offset by an unabashedly boyish sense of humor; in the same page, Halfon can skillfully switch from a discussion about intense immigrant alienation to a hilarious observation on the short male attention span for pornography." --NPR "Alt.Latino" "Engrossing . . . "The Polish Boxer" by Guatemalan novelist Eduardo Halfon, is a semi-autobiographical tale about roots and origins, identity and cultural loss, and the complex relation between the individual, his or her family story, and the heavy burden of History . . . Short but intense." --NBC Latino "Stimulating and inspiring." --"Independent" (UK) "Tight and lean . . . falling somewhere between the novels of Roberto Bolano, WG Sebald, and Junot Diaz." --"Telegraph" (UK) "["The Polish Boxer"] exists in the no-man's-land between fiction and memoir. In the end, we decide, this is fable: only the stories are important." --"Guardian" (UK) "A mix of finely nuanced prose and humor." --"World Literature Today" "Beautiful and provocative . . . a wonderful read which begs to be re-read." --"Jewish Book World" "This book provides multiple pleasures: clear, intense prose; sharp, laugh-out-loud depictions of classrooms and conferences . . . and the apparent seamlessness of the translations . . . . The book itself gives a resounding retort to those who might dismiss i

Product Description

The Polish Boxer covers a vast landscape of human experience while enfolding a search for origins: a grandson tries to make sense of his grandfather’s past and the story behind his numbered tattoo; a Serbian classical pianist longs for his forbidden heritage; a Mayan poet is torn between his studies and filial obligations; a striking young Israeli woman seeks answers in Central America; a university professor yearns for knowledge that he can’t find in books and discovers something unexpected at a Mark Twain conference. Drawn to what lies beyond the range of reason, they all reach for the beautiful and fleeting, whether through humour, music, poetry, or unspoken words. Across his encounters with each of them, the narrator – a Guatemalan literature professor and writer named Eduardo Halfon – pursues his most enigmatic subject: himself. Mapping the geography of identity in a world scarred by a legacy of violence and exile, The Polish Boxer marks the debut of a major new Latin American voice in English.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 439 KB
  • Print Length: 194 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1934137537
  • Publisher: Pushkin Press (31 Aug 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009GJQG6S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #330,655 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By R. Lawson VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a strangely wonderful little book. As I try to review it I'm troubled by the thought that perhaps I haven't fully understood it. Having given that quite a lot of thought, I've decided the fact that I'm giving it quite a lot of thought is actually quite a good recommendation! The book has an autobiographical flavour. It commences with chapters which feel like short stories, but eventually they come together to form a coherent narrative. At least that's the next impression we get but then again some of our interpretation is shown to be unfounded, perhaps. Written in a beautifully effortless style where image follows exquisite image, what at first seems certain seems less so. Along the way we reflect on the nature of literature as well as telling a story. That reflection tells us that literature may not be truthful and in some ways therein lies truth. Most novels try to produce a story where loose ends are tied up and threads pulled together but in the process rely on unnatural coincidence and unlikely conjunction of circumstances with improbable links. This novel more accurately reflects life. What sometimes seems connected isn't. That which seems certain may not be. Events unfold and we try to make sense of them as we can, but there is beauty in events along the way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disjointed - nearly magical realism 13 May 2013
By HJK VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The title - "The Polish Boxer" - drew me in - but the promised topic of the boy/man's grandfather was only slight - a bit at the beginning and again at the very unsatisfactory end.

In the past I read a good deal of South American Magical Realism but got tired of it and I am afraid this does not match up to any of the greats such as Isabel Allende ...

This is a translation from the original Spanish - the language in places is very weird.

The "plot" for want of a better word takes place mainly in Guatemala, America & Serbia - unconnected happenings occur - some very bizarre.

There are lecturers, students, farmers, gipsies, musicians, postcards, soldiers, Serbians & Jews, and some mention of a Polish Boxer.

I struggled to the end to write a review but overall it was not for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interlinked snapshots 8 Dec 2012
By Richard M. Seel VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I loved this book and found it difficult to stop reading it. For me, it is a series of interlinked snapshots of different events in Halfon's life, some of which are real and some seem to be fiction.

The main theme is the impact of the tattooed numbers on his grandfather's arm, which his grandfather tells him that it was once his phone number and he didn't want to forget it. But eventually the truth comes out. Halfon makes little reference to his Jewishness but does often refer to being born in Guatemala and the impact this has had on his life.

Meeting a pianist who loves gypsy music; his lover's drawings; pictures of searching for the pianist; and the impact of the postcards are all integral to his relationship to his world.

I loved the series of vignettes all of which are interconnected in some way. Halfon is recognised as one of the finest Latin America writers and this is his first book translated into English. Halfon has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to continue working on his grandfather's story. I look forward to reading more of his work.

Review by Shirleyanne Seel.
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By Dr R TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Firstly, congratulations to Pushkin Press for publishing this challenging book by an author unknown to the English speaking world [at the end of the book their many other translated books are listed]. Rather strangely, the translation is ‘by Ollie Block, Thomas Bunstead, Lisa Dillman, Daniel Hahn and Anne McLean’ and I would be interested to know how this team translation was organised.

Eduardo Halfon is a Guatemalan author, now living in Nebraska, who has written ten works of fiction in Spanish. This book was published in 2012 and is the author’s first book to appear in English [albeit Americanised]. There was not a little in Halfon’s writing that reminded me of Aleksandar Hemon and Roberto Bolaña. Like these authors, Halfon is not an easy author to follow but it is worth the effort.

In the course of this novel, Halfon describes very different locations and peoples – notably from Guatemala, the US [an academic conference on Mark Twain in Raleigh, North Carolina] and Serbia. He is perceptive in his consideration of Romas/Gypsies, a community on the outmost edges of society that rarely feature in novels. However, he is less able to knit a novella out of a series of linked short stories. There is much discussion about jazz and Theolonius Monk, in particular, and perhaps the book’s fragmentary spontaneity represents an homage to this form of improvisation? Certainly much of the novel is set in dark, smoky bars and clubs, and from time to time the book disappears in a similar murk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfactory 8 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback
Hmm.Whilst I appreciate the sections of this book were beautifully written it really did not absorb me and I am not sure what it was pretending to be. Too bitty for my liking. Too much sex - drawings of orgasms - purleese spare us ! The central tale of the Grandfather proved to be a sideline, shadowy, insubstantial and ambiguous like much of the rest of the book.Gritted my teeth and finished it with a sense of relief.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book
I must admit to being slightly confused at times with this book, as it does jump around a little. It's part memoir and so some parts of it are incredibly powerful. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Laura Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Very stimulating short story-come-novel-come memoir
The Polish Boxer is narrated by Eduardo Halfon - a writer who has a lot in common with the real author of the same name. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Andrew Sutherland
4.0 out of 5 stars An exciting new talent
A number of translators worked on this book and one can understand why. Eduardo Halfon's use of language is complex and exotic, his cultural references are wide and the locations... Read more
Published 20 months ago by J. H. Bretts
4.0 out of 5 stars Itinerant, disconnected, yet emotionally rewarding
This is a difficult book to describe: it is itinerant, fragmented, non-linear, essentially plotless, yet maintains some kind of unity through the narrative voice of Eduardo. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Roman Clodia
3.0 out of 5 stars 'The only way to tell a story is to stutter it eloquently'
"The Polish Boxer" is a fragmented novel describing various episodes in the life of its narrator, a man who shares the name and biography of the book's author. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Eleanor
4.0 out of 5 stars A fiction or a memoir ...
Generally I am not a fan of Latin American fiction, but every now and again I attempt to read something from this field in the hope that I will begin to like and enjoy it. Read more
Published 22 months ago by P. Millar
1.0 out of 5 stars Insufferable egomania
I had never heard of Halfon before starting this book - I look forward to forgetting his existence. After reading one page, the phrase 'pompous prat' had already sprung to mind;... Read more
Published 23 months ago by T. Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars Blurs the distinction between fact and fiction
Recently in the fiction forum a thread has been started to discuss `Gems from small publishers', the `'Polish Boxer certainly fits the bill. Read more
Published 23 months ago by I Readalot
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended on Radio 4's Book Club
I bought this book having heard it critiqued on the Book Club. I haven't finished it yet but am enjoying it very much. Read more
Published on 10 Dec 2012 by Jacqueline Storey
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