Desperate Characters PDF ß Paperback


    EPUB is an ebook file format one of the most dazzling and rigorous examples of the storyteller s craft in postwar American literature a novel that, according to Irving Howe, ranks with Billy Budd, The Great Gatsby, Miss Lonelyhearts, and Seize the Day."/>
  • Paperback
  • 192 pages
  • Desperate Characters
  • Paula Fox
  • 12 June 2019
  • 0393351106

10 thoughts on “Desperate Characters

  1. says:

    A woman gets bitten by a stray cat She spends the weekend in fear, avoiding the possibility that she could have rabies Meanwhile her husband, a conservative lawyer, is facing the dissolution of his practice with his long time, liberal partner.You could get to the end of this short 1970 novel, penned by none other than Courtney Love s grandmother weird random , and think well, darn, what just happened here And you wouldn t be alone Or, you could sigh, like I did, and think I don t know A woman gets bitten by a stray cat She spends the weekend in fear, avoiding the possibility that she could have rabies Meanwhile her husband, a conservative lawyer, is facing the dissolution of his practice with his long time, liberal partner.You could get to the end of this short 1970 novel, penned by none other than Courtney Love s grandmother weird random , and think well, darn, what just happened here And you wouldn t be alone Or, you could sigh, like I did, and think I don t know what just happened here, but, by jove, it was brilliant In few pages, this elegant little book aptly highlights the cracks in politics, in marriage, and in self A feeling of delight blossomed in my heart so many times as I luxuriated over perfect sentences, over the tension and paranoia evoked by the maybe rabies, and the feeling that I was reading someone who in her lifetime was certainly the smartest person in any room at any time and who deservesreadership Thank goodness this book, which was out of print for some years, has had a revival.I also felt that this would be best read in a postmodern literature class in Harvard or the like, because it could be studied repeatedly and still you d know there wasto learn in a subsequent reading.But, even without the ivy league lectures, I still heard the beating heart of this book It s the damn desperation of it all Written almost a half century ago, the novel has aged beautifully I felt the despair, that desperation, of people who are suffocated by what feeds them They are horrified to see their fragile world crumbling around them, feeling powerless but at the same time a nihilistic ambivalence to change anything The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. Henry David Thoreau


  2. says:

    oooh, i like this new cover maybe i would have liked the bookif i d read it with this cover.


  3. says:

    If it were possible to give a book six stars, this would be the book.Each time I reread Fox s masterpiece, which is receiving increasing yet still insufficient attention, I am struck by its remarkable balance of depth and breadth If there are a handful of works of literature that are deserving of their own college course maybe Anna Karenina or Invisible Man or Ulysses then one could structure an entire college education around this compact and easily accessible novel On the surface, we a If it were possible to give a book six stars, this would be the book.Each time I reread Fox s masterpiece, which is receiving increasing yet still insufficient attention, I am struck by its remarkable balance of depth and breadth If there are a handful of works of literature that are deserving of their own college course maybe Anna Karenina or Invisible Man or Ulysses then one could structure an entire college education around this compact and easily accessible novel On the surface, we are introduced to Sophie and Otto Bentwood of Brooklyn Heights, a forty something couple in a desiccated marriage, on the day Sophie receives a potentially lethal cat bite But the novel transcends this domestic pas de deux to grapple with complex, unsettling questions of social order and justice, race and religion, freedom and obligation It is a book as relevant today maybeso than at at the height of the social protest and disorder of the late 1960s, when it takes place Not a book to be read for plot or diversion, but to be savored for its penetrating insights into marriage, friendship and civilization.I recognize that art reflects taste, but the sizable number of one star reviews of this book leave me genuinely concerned for the future of literature


  4. says:

    I thought this would mostly be a dissection of marriage, but it turned out to beof a tense observation on class distinction in 1960s NYC, and about how dangerous it is to have too much time on your hands to devote to introspection The central plot of a cat bite and the ensuing paranoia was highly symbolic In fact, this short book is crammed with hidden meanings and I loved that The snotty couple show up to their vacation house to find that someone has literally shit in it A homeless ma I thought this would mostly be a dissection of marriage, but it turned out to beof a tense observation on class distinction in 1960s NYC, and about how dangerous it is to have too much time on your hands to devote to introspection The central plot of a cat bite and the ensuing paranoia was highly symbolic In fact, this short book is crammed with hidden meanings and I loved that The snotty couple show up to their vacation house to find that someone has literally shit in it A homeless man vomits A baby won t stop crying A rock is thrown into someone s window The well off housewife takes a shot of whiskey because it s Monday morning and oh, life is so very hard when you don t have to work We re probably supposed to hate Otto and Sophie and their petty bourgeois issues, and it s not hard to do with their misdirected anger and privileged disillusionment Fairly enjoyable overall


  5. says:

    This book was recommended to me by Elena Ferrante, via


  6. says:

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation Henry David ThoreauSetting Late 60s Vietnam era a time of social unrest, assassinations, civil rights movement, anti Establishment upheaval that gave rise to the saying, Don t trust anyone over 30 Scene a renovated brownstone in Brooklyn, NY, on a street that is experiencing urban gentrification, but whose back overlooks a decaying slum.Main characters Otto and Sophie Bentwood, a wealthy, highly literate couple who have been married for 1 The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation Henry David ThoreauSetting Late 60s Vietnam era a time of social unrest, assassinations, civil rights movement, anti Establishment upheaval that gave rise to the saying, Don t trust anyone over 30 Scene a renovated brownstone in Brooklyn, NY, on a street that is experiencing urban gentrification, but whose back overlooks a decaying slum.Main characters Otto and Sophie Bentwood, a wealthy, highly literate couple who have been married for 15 years, childless, both 40 Otto is a lawyer Sophie translates books into French but has the wherewithal to pick and choose her work.They live a life of staid order surrounded by their beautiful things Then, in the course of one late winter weekend, cracks begin to appear in their carefully constructed lives.On a Friday evening during dinner, Sophie is bitten by a feral cat she has taken to feeding on the back stoop She is shocked and frightened and tries to keep this attack from Otto but the wound is too painful Wouldn t you immediately seek medical help But no, the Bentwoods go to a social event they had planned on attending that evening where even the host, a psychiatrist, urges Sophia to go to the emergency room.The dread builds, the specter of rabies raises its ugly head but Sophie keeps denying that anything is wrong Then she learns that Otto s partnership with long time friend and fellow lawyer, Charlie Russel, has ended The two men have always been an odd couple, one strict and orderly, the other a charmer and would be social activist, but they have found ways to co exist until now Otto is worried that Charlie is stealing clients out from under him by gossip and insinuations From Charlie s point of view, the Bentwoods are drearily enslaved by introspection while the foundation of their privilege is being blasted out from under them This short, character driven book, contains deep insights into marriage, friendship, justice, and social responsibility and even though it was published nearly fifty years ago, there is relevance to be found for our own times and social issues This is a book to be savored and reread to reveal the many layers of meaning Perhaps I ll make a resolution to read it on January 1st for many years to come


  7. says:

    How was I bamboozled in this WASPy angst reminiscent of John Cheever or somebody I picked up this book after a recent article listed the best taut and rather obscure books that you can read in a single sitting Well, yeh, you can read it in a single sitting so that part is true.I should ve known to back away when it received the endorsement of Jonathan Franzen who called it the greatest realist novel of the postwar era. ughh Book written in 1970 with the setting taking place somewhere around th How was I bamboozled in this WASPy angst reminiscent of John Cheever or somebody I picked up this book after a recent article listed the best taut and rather obscure books that you can read in a single sitting Well, yeh, you can read it in a single sitting so that part is true.I should ve known to back away when it received the endorsement of Jonathan Franzen who called it the greatest realist novel of the postwar era. ughh Book written in 1970 with the setting taking place somewhere around that time, maybe late 60 s Brooklyn A marriage in trouble with a lot of symbolism that starts with a cat bite and the possibility of rabies Urban decay in a pre gentrified Brooklyn Brooklyn Heights A strange, uncomfortable preoccupation and curiosity with scary Negroes permeates throughout the book When I have to overtax myself in trying to figure out what you re trying to say with metaphors and symbolism up the wazoo it s just not worth it I guess hipsters might love it but short book or not I was bored Unfortunately I will never get those hours back Oh well


  8. says:

    The Problem with Being Too VirtuosoIt is a textbook for aspiring novelists, this book Descriptions are so perfectly judged, incidents so astonishingly well balanced, episodes so impeccably resonant with one another, hints and allusions so delicately poised, psychological insights so bewilderingly sharp, that almost any novelist will seem dull headed by comparison I went from Desperate Characters to a novel by Cees Nooteboom, and I could hardly stomach it Nooteboom, by comparison, seems hulk The Problem with Being Too VirtuosoIt is a textbook for aspiring novelists, this book Descriptions are so perfectly judged, incidents so astonishingly well balanced, episodes so impeccably resonant with one another, hints and allusions so delicately poised, psychological insights so bewilderingly sharp, that almost any novelist will seem dull headed by comparison I went from Desperate Characters to a novel by Cees Nooteboom, and I could hardly stomach it Nooteboom, by comparison, seems hulkish and animalistically unreflective His prose is blockish and his sense of timing and humor are like crude uncomprehending apings of real wit It s not his fault Fox has in dense excess what other novelists sweat to achieve The number of felicitous, inimitable formulations on each page puts most anyone else to shame her companions in this sense are perhaps Flaubert, or Joyce But on the other hand The reason Jonathan Franzen could write about this book in such superlatives is that he is himself very much a product of the New Yorker style from the 1970s onward He is right that the novel can be read and re read he says he s read it six times He s right, too, that it s a kind of model of what novels might be But one of thereviewers, Jay Dickson, is also correct that this novel is very much a product of the style exemplified or should I say molded by the New Yorker And what is wrong with that Well, it breeds a kind of virtuosity in which a reader is continuously interrupted, and asked to stand back and admire what has just been deployed with such apparently unstudied effortlessness A number of times reading Desperate Characters, I wanted to put the book down, stand up, and applaud But those moments wereor less quickly followed by irritations I pictured the author, not the narrator, expending a jeweler s attention on every turn of phrase, weighing and considering it until it was at once perfect and brittle The same happens in Nabokov.Virtuosity at this level is a snake that bites its own tail, and a novel as perfected as Desperate Characters chews off little pieces of its own plausibility each time it indulges in another coruscating fireworks of outlandishly gorgeous, uncannily insightful, hyper eloquent, impossibly well judged description


  9. says:

    Simply put, this is a good piece of writing.Bravo to Jonathan Franzen for rediscovering Paula Fox A perfect short novel A few characters, a small stretch of time setting and action confined and yet, as in Tolstoy s The Death of Ivan Ilyich, everthing crucial within our souls bared blurb on the backI enjoyed reading it Simply put, this is a good piece of writing.Bravo to Jonathan Franzen for rediscovering Paula Fox A perfect short novel A few characters, a small stretch of time setting and action confined and yet, as in Tolstoy s The Death of Ivan Ilyich, everthing crucial within our souls bared blurb on the backI enjoyed reading it


  10. says:

    4.5 stars This is a brilliant short novel that in less than 200 pages really gets in your head and under your skin I think a second reading is probably required to fully appreciate all the subtext Can t wait to discuss this one with my book group.


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Desperate Characters[PDF / EPUB] Desperate Characters Otto and Sophie Bentwood live in a changing neighborhood in Brooklyn Their stainless steel kitchen is newly installed, and their Mercedes is parked curbside After Sophie is bitten on the hand while tr Otto and Sophie Bentwood live in a changing neighborhood in Brooklyn Their stainless steel kitchen is newly installed, and their Mercedes is parked curbside After Sophie is bitten on the hand while trying to feed a stray, perhaps rabies infected cat, a series of small and ominous disasters begin to plague the Bentwoods lives, revealing the fault lines and fractures in a marriage and a society wrenching itself apartFirst published into wide acclaim, Desperate Characters stands as one of the most dazzling and rigorous examples of the storyteller s craft in postwar American literature a novel that, according to Irving Howe, ranks with Billy Budd, The Great Gatsby, Miss Lonelyhearts, and Seize the Day.


About the Author: Paula Fox

Paula Fox was an American author of novels for adults and children and two memoirs Her novel The Slave Dancer received the Newbery Medal in and in , she was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal More recently, A Portrait of Ivan won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in A teenage marriage produced a daughter, Linda, in However, given the tumultuous relationship with her own biological parents, she gave the child up for adoption Fox later attended Columbia University, married the literary critic and translator Martin Greenberg, raised two sons, taught, and began to writeThe daughter Fox gave up for adoption, Linda Carroll, is the mother of controversial musician Courtney Love making her Love s grandmother.