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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly my number one book of all time
This book's range of themes is wild, from the vicious and hilarious pastiche of the petty bureacracy of international organisations through the hypocracy of Geneva polite society, the hilarious antics of Solal's Marx Brothers-like uncles, fresh of the boat from Cephalonica, to the tenderest, most earth-shattering moments of love, the bitter self-loathing of a man who...
Published on 9 Oct 2005 by Diapason

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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Maupassant Tale with Elephantiasis
Ok let's be honest - the previous reader flaked out at page 375, but I couldn't make it past 326.
Smart guy seduces pretty woman married to bourgeois idiot from similar family - fine; but why spend nearly 300 pages anatomising them? Mr Cohen, what are you trying to prove?
To be sure, Solal is envisioned as more than a smart guy, more like a King Among Men,...
Published on 15 Oct 2005 by Mick


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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly my number one book of all time, 9 Oct 2005
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This book's range of themes is wild, from the vicious and hilarious pastiche of the petty bureacracy of international organisations through the hypocracy of Geneva polite society, the hilarious antics of Solal's Marx Brothers-like uncles, fresh of the boat from Cephalonica, to the tenderest, most earth-shattering moments of love, the bitter self-loathing of a man who percieves the shallowness of his womanising and the shallowness of women's attraction for him, the torture of the outcast and the first flush of european pre-war antisemitism. Solal is Christ the cynic, crucifying himself to find something truly beautiful in which he can believe, taking his beloved own with him to keep that thing alive, and being crucified by two societies to which he does not belong for his quest, for his distain for their values, and for his race. This book is an emotional boxing match from which the reader emerges punch-drunk but strangely transfigured.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Maupassant Tale with Elephantiasis, 15 Oct 2005
Ok let's be honest - the previous reader flaked out at page 375, but I couldn't make it past 326.
Smart guy seduces pretty woman married to bourgeois idiot from similar family - fine; but why spend nearly 300 pages anatomising them? Mr Cohen, what are you trying to prove?
To be sure, Solal is envisioned as more than a smart guy, more like a King Among Men, but in my book such a one doens't promote an obviously incompetent subordinate just to shag his wife. The ideals of the League of Nations may have been betrayed, but the book seems to be asserting they never existed in the first place, and this is certainly the light Solal lives by.
I had hoped for some local colour, but there isn't very much. And Solal's relatives are a lot less funny than the author seems to think.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars french and small type too much, 11 April 2014
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French and small type too much. Glad to return it. Sorry for my mistake in ordering it. That is all.
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