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Seven Types of Ambiguity Paperback – 16 Jun 2005

3.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (16 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571207227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571207220
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 3.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"'A complex and perfectly nuanced study of idealised love turned sour.' Daily Mail; 'Perlman's novel is a colossal achievement' Observer; 'Seven Types of Ambiguity shows Elliot Perlman to be Australia's outstanding social novelist' TLS"

About the Author

Elliot Perlmanis the acclaimed author of a collection of short stories and two novels,Three Dollars, the film adaptation of which was released in 2005, andSeven Types of Ambiguity, which was a 'New York Times Notable Book' and a national bestseller in France, where it was described 'one of the best novels of recent years, a complete success'(Le Monde). A barrister, he lived in New York for many years and currently lives in Melbourne.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For anyone who's ever been depressed, or been in a mental state different from the considerable norm, this book is for you. I can easily see how this book can be divided into two - those that relate and those that don't. It's packed with philosophical and psychological reasoning, and heavily quotable sentences that are so true to life, you really wish you wrote them yourself.

The book follows a story of the obsessive and heartbroken Simon, whose life is dominated by the memory of his ex-lover, Anna. In a spur of madness he does something that will change both of their lives, for better and worse, and the book provides seven different viewpoints and opinions on the series of events; seven characters, seven types of ambiguity. The thing that makes the book so great though is the character of Dr Alex Kilma, Simon's psychiatrist. If, as a reader, you've ever had the experience of visiting such a doctor, you'll probably romanticise and connect with him more than anyone else can. He's the type of psychiatrist that films provoke and reality lacks; the will-drive-to-your-house-at-night committed, the type where your problems have taken over his whole life, the one that always says the right thing in a session, and every one is an intense debate about the world, or the things and metaphysics within it. However, he is in no way storybook, and neither is the story - it's easy to imagine it all as very real.

I didn't like the ending, but thinking about it, I don't know what I would have preferred. Sometimes the overall storyline, when looking at it all as a whole, seems a bit unbelievable, in the sense of 'all that happened and they still did that?'. But as a whole, it was a really endearing read.
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Format: Paperback
This novel is a rare thing - it has big serious things to say about the way the world is and the way we live our lives, yet its central ideas are explored through characters you can't help engaging with and whom you care about, whether they inspire horror or pity or admiration or bewilderment or, more often, complex ambivalent responses. The story is compelling, mysterious and seriously well plotted; the widely various backgrounds of the characters are entirely convincing. In the end I was moved, impressed, made to think and reflect, and felt I had experienced a slight inner shift - in decades of reading seriously I find very few books do all this.
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Format: Paperback
When I picked up this book in a train station WHSmith store, I did so with the intention of broadening my literary tastes. Naturally, I approached it with certain trepidation; after all, people are resistant to change.
When I opened this novel, however, I was greeted with something quite different from the expectations I’d formed in my mind. It is, quite definitely, a novel of this century, touching upon issues both economic and social that are relevant to modern life, and yet Perlman communicates his observations with grace. His prose flows effortlessly, breathing poetry into potentially mundane subjects, beguiling the reader at times when the plot fails to thrill. This, fortunately, is a rare occurrence, as the novel has seven narrators, each continuing their predecessor’s account, relieving much of the tedium when a particular voice starts to irk.
Perlman has received criticism for the apparent lack of ambiguity in relation to his narrators and their perceptions of events, and I have considered this carefully since finishing the book. Admittedly, there is a definite similarity in the tone of the seven parts, but I attribute this to the author’s style, which it cannot be argued, is imperative to a writer’s identity. But can that be the case in this situation, where the subject of ambiguity, the theme supposedly illustrated, is the very quality missing from Perlman’s characters? I suggest that the reader look deeper, closer at the characters, at their subtle differences. An acute observation reveals that the characters’ slightest difference in interpreting the events of the novel severely affect their outcomes. Here, Perlman is forcing the reader to work for their own meaning; he creates ambiguity by the very nature of his narrative structure.
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Format: Paperback
Eliot Perlman seems to write about psychiatry, the breakdown of global community fuelled by social divisions around economics and how it all impacts on a particular protagonist. He writes with such breathtaking insight and humour - albeit a bit black at times (nothing wrong with that in my book/s) and engages me in the intertwining he manages to depict of some particular and domestic life being moved by these massive forces surrounding us in these times. Some may find him a bit heavy or intellectual but at present he's the man to read as far as I'm concerned. You know that lovely feeling of discovering someone who seems on your wavelength as an author, so that you wish you never end any given story, or that their supply of books just keeps on coming?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love Perlman's style of prose and the way he has woven this book together is compelling. You just have to know how it ends. Have to! And to me that says everything about any book. He creates richly detailed and lively characters and though he occasionally floats close to the gently absurd, he manages to steer away from the rocks that wreck so many plots. You'll love the characters and feel yourself torn between what's right and just and what should be right and just! Now, how's that for an achievement in words? Buy it, love it, enjoy it!
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