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The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder by [Ironmonger, John]
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The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Length: 305 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Review

An original and quirky debut (BIG ISSUE IN THE NORTH)

Written with gusto - a daring, quirky tale. (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Book Description

Maximilian Ponder has been shut away for 30 years, attempting to record every memory he has ever had... A stunning debut about friendship, memory, and what creates a life.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2159 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (29 Mar. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007FXIDPY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #205,177 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a marvel in many aspects. It is an amazing mixture between comedy and tragedy, has incredible insight into human nature and tells us a story about rare friendship and life in general. This is a very humanistic book, as it says that weirdness is beautiful and that perhaps we should let people choose for themselves what is normal and what is not.
Finally, this is one of the best ever written books I've ever came across and should be a must for all writers who begin to write. One can sit down with it and learn the beauty of the craft while enjoying a beautiful story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed The Coincidence Authority so started this with relish. The idea is original and intriguing, however I quickly became disenchanted. Despite his meaningful name, I could not understand why a nice chap like narrator Adam would be content to subjugate himself to a dysfunctional and self-absorbed family. We learn very little about Adam's own connections. His life outside the ponderous Ponder realm is clearly deliberately underwritten, but the Ponders are just so awful......Perhaps the book is political allegory and on that level it has merit. As a yarn, it became a tedious, relentless observation on one narcissist, (among many) and his enabler.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
OMG - having reading 'Not forgetting the Whale' and enjoying it I was looking forward to another one of his books. However it was a crashing disappointment on so many levels. Frankly I found the book POINTLESS. There was barely any sort of character development and what there was proved boring and dull. The idea that one character would follow through on such the ridiculous request made by Max - well nobody in their right mind would have agreed. I skipped some of the more boring passages where Max was cataloging his memories as they were dull, dull, dull. I wish I hadn't wasted my money on it.
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Format: Paperback
At the very least, the title and author's curious name should attract attention, but The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder also has a rather good hook. Max Ponder is dead and he has left behind one thousand and six hundred or so volumes of his Catalogue, in which he has meticulously documented the experiences of his life. More than an autobiography, and covering only the first 20 years of his life (he has gone to considerable effort to ensure that he has experienced nothing new in the thirty years it has taken to compile the work), the Catalogue is an attempt to fully document the content of all the combined experience and knowledge contained within one human brain. As if that's not a strange enough hook to keep you reading, his close friend Adam Last is about to rather messily remove Max's head from his body, before informing the authorities of his death.

The hook is good enough then to grab you right from the start and, fortunately, the rest of the novel lives up to this intriguing and somewhat eccentric set-up. Like some precocious figure out of a Wes Anderson film, and not without a certain Holden Caulfield quality, Max has a rather conflicted relationship with the world around him, simultaneously fascinated and appalled by his experiences of life, being part of a rich eccentric family and spending the earliest years of his life in the 1960s in Africa. His lifework then is as much an attempt to impose or find a certain order to the world though a detailed study of the content of his brain.
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By SJ on 14 Dec. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Never read anything quite like this. The story focuses on the Ponder family (especially Max) and is described through Max`s memories, framed by the story as told by the faithful family friend, Adam.

You could describe the Ponder family as unusual. The life work of Max certainly is.

Brilliantly written. I got a bit lost during some of Max`s more outlandish musings, but Adam always grounds the story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unlike the majority of the previous reviews, I am not going to describe the complete content of this book and spoil the delightful surprise of what's between the pages. I believe that all you need to know is that it is beautifully written, is quirky, different and has that coveted quality that compels you to keep turning the pages. I feel bereft now that I've finished it and, like others, cannot wait for John's next book to be published.
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Format: Paperback
A thoroughly unusual tale about a man who chose to lock himself away in an attempt to record the existing contents of his brain for future scientific analysis.

It's an especially clever and heart-warming book. I really can't explain to you HOW the writer made this story work, it just does - and I loved it!

To briefly give you an idea of the story, during a project that was supposed to last just 3 years, the young Maximillian Ponder has decided to isolate himself from the outside world to recall and write down every memory he's had, every person he's met, food he's eaten, places he's visited, conversations he recalls - well, you get the idea!

Don't be fooled that this is some boring, straightforward run-of-the-mill diary - Maximillian Ponder's random 'ponderings' are anything but boring.

It's an outpour of everything the man has ever experienced, or to be precise, what he remembers. Travelling through the pages of the book with Max and his good friend, Adam Last, you sense his past, present and future. The timeline flits back and forth to allow the story to be told by both Max, via his journal, and Adam, who's telling the story. Yet there's an odd order to it all. The writer really knows how to draw you into this 'pondering' world he's created.

I'm not going to say anymore about the plot, as the whole experience will be YOU reading Max's ramblings. It's funny, even though it's heart breaking in places, and it's thought provoking without losing its 'entertainment value'. Some upsetting moments are tackled by John Ironmonger's brilliantly quirky writing style. For this reason alone he's quickly becoming a favourite author of mine (see The Coincidence Authority, also fabulous)

Well then, if you like something different without it being totally bizarre then try this. I'm very glad I did.
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