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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 July 2013
The lead character in The Teleportation Accident is called Loeser. Egon Loeser. To an English eye, it looks like the word Loser, which he undoubtedly is in the modern, L on the forehead, meaning of the word. To a German - and Loeser is a German character from 30s Berlin - it has other connotations. Loesen can mean to solve a riddle, which Loeser does, or struggles to do; and it occurs in the word Endloesung (final solution), with regard to Jews in Hitler's Germany - a subject which the character, Loeser, deals with towards the end of the novel. So far, so clever.

The plot shifts through the centuries, with references to 17th century Paris and Venice, scenes in Berlin, New York, L.A, Washington that are intricately interlinked. Internally, the references that Beauman sets up are also echoed throughout the narrative. The theme of the teleportation machine - with its different uses and significance in different points of history - is fascinating. Pre-war Berlin is beautifully evoked, as are the cities in America. Colonel Gorge and Professor Bailey - to pick just a couple of the fine cast of characters - are creations worthy of Pynchon. It is all very very clever.

And yet I haven't given this 5 stars, because although I 'liked' it, as the Amazon rating system suggests - and admired it, and enjoyed it, and marvelled at some of the sentences, and laughed at scenes and dialogues and plot twists throughout - I didn't love it. There is a cold, analytical, almost misanthropic core to the novel that is deeper than the portrayal of Loeser himself. None of the characters betray anything resembling emotion, and as a result, I found it difficult to feel anything for any of them. And given the subject matter at various points in the novel, this was a shame. I loved Boxer, Beetle, and look forward to Ned Beauman's next novel, but for me at least, the Teleportation Accident was a little too clever clever.
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VINE VOICEon 31 July 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Occasionally a book which sounds interesting at the "blurb" stage just refuses to yield up its secrets on first reading. So it was with this - I have to be honest and confess that I never got past the first few pages. I'm a fairly voracious reader, but although I can't really put my finger on why, the prose just kept dropping its connection with me like a faulty wireless link. In the end I gave up and passed the book over to my husband, who's read and enjoyed "Boxer, Beetle" - but some months later it's still sitting unfinished on his nightstand so I don't think a connection was made there, either. Maybe I'll give it another go at some future date.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 August 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Irene Blum (an employee at the Brooke Museum of Oriental Art) uses her familial connections to fain an introduction to Simone Merlin. Simone is a woman of means and Irene hopes that she will support her search for a set of lost scrolls.

Almost everyone in the story, from the main characters down to the waiters, seem to have their own reasons for wanting the 10 missing copper (why copper?!) scrolls found. Not all have altruistic motives, I even found myself questioning Irene's motives for wanting the scrolls.

If I had one piece of advice for the author it would be to limit the number of characters she introduces and not necessarily giving everyone an ulterior motive. I would suggest sticking to a small number of main characters and making the rest disposable.

To the publishers I would say please use a larger font. Yes, I realise that smaller font means more words per page and that means less pages are needed to make the book, but I enjoy reading and tiny print makes this a chore rather than a pleasure. I read when I am in hospital and in the evenings, both times when eye sight is strained and concentration is lacking due to tiredness - such tiny print only adds to the strain.

The story is full of decorative description of the various countries, and it is, at times, lovely to read but it does slow the story down significantly in parts.

To be honest it appealed to me as some sort of cross between Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, Flynn Carsen, and others, and I wasn't overly disappointed. Even though, at times, it was heavy going it was still worth it and I have no doubt that it would make a great Tomb Raider type mini-series or film. I expect a sequel is in the works already.
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VINE VOICEon 3 January 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a fascinating and engrossing tale of how one man can be so wrapped up in his own wants and desires that he can completely miss world changing events happening all around him. It's also an outrageously funny story, full of strange and downright surreal characters. The title implies a work of science fiction, it (mostly)isn't.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It rattles along at a swift pace, sometimes jumping decades, and(nearly) always featuring the solipsistic Egon Loeser. Despite all his faults the author imbues Loeser with just enough bumbling pathos to retain this reader's sympathies to the end. Recommended if you want an accessible, but unorthodox read.
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If you glance through the reviews for this book you will see that, to put it mildly, opinion is sharply divided. I come out on the high end, five star side of the issue. That may be because I demand little in the nature of plot, character development, message or sub-text in my fiction. I appreciate real tragedy, (pity, wonder, fear and awe), or comedy. And word play, amusing similes, apt metaphors, and droll snark all count as comedy.

There is at least one appreciative chuckle, one smirk, and one knowing nod to be had on each page of this book. Sometimes there are set pieces in the form of restrained rants - like why allusions to famous catastrophes do not increase the likelihood of the calamity being repeated, (i.e. go ahead and name your boat "Titanic"); sometimes there are just throw-away lines and deadpan observations. Sometimes there are sly and subtle and knowing literary and historical allusions. Sometimes there's just
jesting and wordplay, or witty banter among bright show-offs; ("...he was so languid as to be almost liquid...").

On top of it all, like icing, is a gift for extended outrageous descriptions. At one point a character is mocked for his habit, "whenever he thought he might have misplaced his wallet or pipe (which was always), of patting himself down with such impatience, such savagery and such disregard for the actual location of his pockets that it began to resemble some sort of eroto-religious self-flagellation ritual....". Now, that line is funny enough, but the addition of the phrase "disregard for the actual location of his pockets..." just puts it into a different category of inspired as far as I'm concerned.

Here's a simple test. At one point in the book a character is described as so cold and nerveless that he "once strangled a man while dictating a love letter". If you think that is not only funny but inspired you will like this book. If not, not.

Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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on 27 January 2014
Tricky to know what to say about this one. As much as I appreciate Beauman's eruditely spiced imagination I couldn't help but feel that this was a trifle over-baked. For me the strongest part of the book is its first third - the dour picaresque of Loeser's misanthropic buffoonery makes for genuinely funny reading. Once he arrived in Los Angeles though I found my interest waning in direct proportion to the evolving complexity of the plot. I'm sure Beauman is aiming for something profound here but to be honest by the time I reached page 200 I'd switched to skim mode. Very clever I'm sure - heaps of echoes and cross-textual references that will make for some great undergraduate essays - but overall I'm walking away from this one with a shrug.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I must admit that originally I had no interest in getting this book, but someone locally told me that I may enjoy it. Thus, taking a chance I decided to get hold of it and give it a go, and I am glad that I did. This story is ultimately completely bizarre, it is full of allusions, similes and metaphors, as well as parodying so many things, and with a strong sense of irony. You are led on a kaleidoscopic collage of so much, that you are left reeling. There is just so much to take in here.

Is there even a proper plot to this book? You will have to decide. The basic plot though, if you can call it that is involving Egon Loeser. Working as the set designer on a play about Adriano Lavicini, a 17th Century designer, he falls for Adele Hitler (not a relation of Adolf). Ultimately wanting to get his leg over we follow him as he follows the girl, failing to get any sex in for years and years. Thus we travel from Thirties Berlin to Los Angeles, with Loeser seeming to completely miss the War and what is happening in the world. Along the way he also becomes obsessed with getting hold of a copy of a book that he has misplaced (an erotic photo book). Parodying so many different genres, and taking in so many other elements we are soon lost in the bewildering and dazzling world that Beauman creates here. With so many allusions to different disciplines and genres the biggest problem with this book is actually the author's own exuberance.

One of my favourite pieces in this though has to be where Loeser is thinking about how bad an historical novel is, because a character in it died centuries before, whilst the author (Beauman) has the character going to a party where ketamine is being taken (something like thirty years before it was invented). Such little things as this are what really makes this, and has you chuckling away. I expect there are many other such things that I didn't get straight off, as there were so many, that it does probably require a second reading. This is possibly something that would be a good choice for a book group.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
Egon Loeser is a set designer in 1930's Berlin in this novel, set during a period of history where so much happened, all of which our main character is blissfully unaware of. He is purposely blinkered, oblivious to the world around him and immune to any attempts to educate him about the political situation. Loeser is a likeable, but irresponsable man, who has no family ties and no real feelings for anything outside of himself. He is obsessed only with his lack of success with women and a beautiful young lady he follows from country to country searching for as a "rootless cosmopolitan".

Throughout this book, the same characters appear, regardless of whether we are in Berlin, Paris or Los Angeles; as though Loeser's failures follow him from place to place. Some are utterly bizarre, but then the whole novel is delightfully strange. Like Alice in the Wonderland, you simply follow Loesser like the White Rabbit, from place to place as events unfold. The plot may be surreal, but the story and characters are interesting, and the book is delightful. It makes you laugh, it makes you think and I was sad when I finished it. Difficult to ask for more from any author and I highly recommend this unusual and intelligent novel.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This tale seems to begin in a normal enough fashion; a young man by the name of Egon Loeser is trying to perfect a teleportation device. Trying to then describe the main themes and plot traits, in this novel, is what difficult. For me this book seems to cover a number of different genres, Our main character is by trade a theatre set designer, who seems to preoccupied by trying to have sexual encounters and the need to snort coke. However, he seems to be frustrated in trying to act out his desires at every turn!

Our protagonist, we are contently reminded of, is as bit of idiot of the first order. We are shown 1930s Berlin with all its distractions, until the Brown shirts make their impact.
Still our `friend' struggles by day to act out as some famed set designer and by night, prowling Berlin for sexual favours from party to another, however, he is unsuccessful and finds himself always returning home, only he is alone, but rather like a pet rodent on a running wheel, he sleeps it off only try again the next day. Add in ingredients like time travel, an element of spying and murder you have complex book that is funny at times but left this reader slightly confused!
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on 17 December 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a rule I am a no nonsense reader; I like a simple book that I can understand and just enjoy the story. `The Teleportation Accident' is not one of these books and at times is a struggle to read as paragraphs flip from one story to another (as if teleported), but By Jove the book was worth reading! The story of `Teleportation' is hard to pin down. Essentially it is about the lackadaisical Egon Loeser who is a set designer in Weimer Germany and then moves to Paris and LA. This is a turbulent time in world history, but Loeser is so nonplussed that the rise of Hitler and Communist Witch-hunts drift past him.

Loeser is not very likeable, a man obsessed by his base urges and one women. He is selfish and at times stupid, but he is also great fun. Ned Beauman juggles a complex story of disenfranchised artists with some great vignettes e.g. Loeser becomes embroiled in a con to attach monkey glands to women's neck. The book is also populated with some great eccentric characters; a man who cannot distinguish pictures from the real world, or a scientist who studies ghosts. `Teleportation' has no narrative as such just a central kind of a road movie for Loeser, but is interspersed with backstories of other characters.

At times I have to admit with being completely lost, especially in chapters where Beauman will flip mid paragraph from the present to the past. This is disconcerting and will put many readers off. However, a flawed book should not be stopped from being 5 stars as sometimes these quirks are what make a book so memorable. `The Teleportation Accident' is full of moments that made me stop and think, discussing it constantly with my partner. If a book can engage me in such a manner it must be good. I would recommend it whole heartedly to someone looking for a challenging book to read.

Sammy Recommendation
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