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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 June 2014
"The Notebook", first published in French in 1986, tells the story of two twins who are sent to live with their grandmother during the war. The time and place are unspecified, but one can assume this is a small Hungarian village during the Second World War, eventually 'liberated' by the Russians.

The twins, who jointly narrate the novel, are a self-contained unit. Through a series of self-imposed exercises they manage to inure themselves to pain, cruelty, and also love. Their detachment is chilling, and is accompanied by an equally chilling (but also perhaps righteous) morality - one based on the concept of absolute need.

The short episodes which make up the novel are compelling, vivid, and often horrifying. The sparse factual narrative, stripped of any commentary, combined with this uncompromising moral landscape creates a world which insinuates itself into the reader's mind and lingers there long after the book is finished.

This edition of "the Notebook" has been reissued by CB editions as a beautifully-produced paperback with an afterword by Slavoj Zizek. The next two books in the trilogy can be read in English in the one-volume The Notebook: The Proof ; the Third Lie : Three Novels, and CB editions will be reissuing them in 2015.
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on 6 October 2014
A bare boned and stripped back book, where all that exists is pared to the materially extant and the practical. It reminded me of the barren world of No Country For Old Men or the spare divorces of The Outsider. It is a series of vignettes that tells a story and has a narrative progression, albeit skeletal and linear. But each vignette is a repetition, a restated way of a bare way of being. And there's a weird, terrifying consolation in that.

The twins, the book's main characters, are detached from the emotive world and turned toward each other. But perhaps it is this inner outside-ness, this requirement of reaching the other twin, which still gives them a foothold in the larger social world [even if more built on representational similarity than empathy] and they sometimes seem more in the thick of feeling and understanding [or at least insight] than the conventionally well adjusted. This is the dilemma. Like their detached, entirely practical and yet humanly functional ethical behaviour. The book walks tight ropes. It is starkly etched yet beautiful, resonant with tears of loss and yet cool and emotionless and non-judgemental, like the twins themselves.
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on 27 March 2014
I haven't been this completely blown away by a novel in a long time. So poetically yet terrifyingly written, it will stay with me for a long time to come despite having read it in a few hours. Couldn't recommend it more.
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on 8 August 2015
A well written special story - you start and cannot put it back on the table, the story comes alive and you have to follow the development! Recommended.
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