The Contortionist's Handbook Paperback – 4 Apr 2005
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
'A dazzling and highly original debut novel which instantly establishes its author as one of the most interesting writers to emerge in years. This book deserves to be massive and I think it will be.' Irvine Welsh
‘What sticks out about this remarkable debut are its pitch-perfect shock ending and John Vincent himself – his complex, conflicting mind, original voice and unnervingly self-defeating existence.’ Time Out
'Craig Clevenger has crafted an unforgettable antihero in John Dolan Vincent. This is an extraordinary debut.' Richard Kelly, director of Donnie Darko
‘Clevenger has created a manic monologist whose paranoia-inducing world pulls you in completely.’ Seattle Times
‘Clevenger’s talent is revealed in his ability to create a true testament to the resilience of the human spirit.’ USA Today
‘Immaculately detailed and emotionally explosive: this is rolling, riveting stuff’ Kirkus Reviews [starred]
About the Author
Craig Clevenger was born in Dallas, Texas and raised in Southern California, where he studied English at California State University, Long Beach. He has travelled extensively and lived in Dublin and London, but currently resides in California where he is at work on his second novel, Dermaphoria.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
You have any interest in psychiatric or psychological matters
You like masses of detail
You like masculine, relatively unemotional biographies
You enjoy books which start in the present and then explain what happened to get to that point.
You have an interest in drug culture
You would rather be left to think at the end of the book than have all the loose ends neatly tied up. This book ends in a mess of ends.
DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK IF:
You like books which start in the present and continue along a standard time scale of chapter 1: two days later, chapter 5: next month, etc.
You like lots of emotions in your books
You cannot handle very long, very detailed sentences
You like books which 'go somewhere' and finish in a very different place to where they started.
The story of a man who constantly changes identites in order to escape from various authorities. he is actually running away from many things, including his past and a dozen authorities all over america. After his fifth overdose, psychiatrists cannot figure out whether it was a suicide attempt or not. As the psychiatrist takes 'Daniel' through the interview, 'Daniel' (or John, or Steven, or Eric, whoever he is today) takes the reader through his life story to how he got where he is.
I have to agree. This is an amazing debut. It's a perfect rollercoaster of a book! Every peak and trough is placed exactly right. It'll grab you and even when you finish it'll stay with you. You will miss your stop if you read it on public transport. You will want to stay off work to finish it.
How good is this book really? It's one of those rare books that you'd spend your own money buying numerous copies of to give to other people.
His conversations with the psychiatrist are particularly captivating as he is able to anticipate every move, every gesture and every question posed to him. Clevenger is a stickler for the smallest details and that's what makes him a great writer - I'm sure he could write about fly-fishing and I'd be equally fixated!
I loved it from start to finish. Short, but extremely sweet.
I recommend it wholeheartedly.
A very peculiar, very dissatisfying hour.
See, when I think about the book as a whole, I like it. The prose is razor sharp and machine-gun relentless, "Molly" and John are beautifully realised, and on the whole the plot is a masterclass in "show, not tell" storytelling.
There was something which stopped me from enjoying it as much as I feel like I should have. That ending. That ramshackle, ambiguous, sputtering ending. After the book so skilfully raising the bar (and my blood pressure), for it to end in such a muddle was a dreadful disappointment. After I turned the last page, I climbed out the bath and sulked for ten minutes, feeling high, dry and like the book was all dressed up with nowhere to go.
I would still recommend it, mind you, but it's not perfect. But it could have been, and I think that's what annoys me the most about it.
Trying to summarise the premise would be foolish in a short review. Mr. Clevenger has written a novel in which the narrator is unreliable, the plot non-linear, and the message loud and clear. His book describes in aching and intimate detail how a young, precocious child is lost in the correctional system. Moreover, the reader can come to feel sympathy for the young man's plight. When all other paths are barred, crime is the only way to make a living.
In terms of style, Mr. Clevenger owes much to Chuck Palahniuk. Reading his disjointed, masculine prose, I was reminded of 'Fight Club'. Regardless, Mr. Clevenger has written more than mere pastiche. His first novel is more subtle, more lyrical, and more polished. When reading 'The Contortionist's Handbook', you will feel as though you're attending class. You will learn how to fake personal documents, and how to fool medical professionals. More importantly, you will learn why anyone would try.
In summary, 'The Contortionist's Handbook' is an unpretentious entry into the ranks of postmodern fiction. I'll be reading 'Dermaphoria' in due course.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Don't know why people rave about this book...
Often compared to the wasp factory but not in the same league.
Absolute swine of an ending, but a thoroughly enthralling read. Rarely do you find such a well defined protagonist.Published 6 months ago by john
Dull and uninspiring.
Similar to Chuck P in many ways. (Fight club the exception) An interesting idea but ultimately can't deliver any substance. No wonder he likes it.
This was one excellent book. Brilliantly written, very interesting plot and original main character, great pace. I loved it. Read morePublished 15 months ago by PB
If you tried to kill yourself every time you got a migraine headache it might make you neurotic, compulsive and delusional. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Garrard Hayes