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Adam Haberberg [Hardcover]

Yasmina Reza , Geoffrey Strachan

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Book Description

Jan. 2 2007
With the same élan and wit that inform her internationally acclaimed and award-winning plays, Yasmina Reza’s second novel, Adam Haberberg, revels in the tragicomedy of one man’s midlife crisis.

While slumped on a park bench in Paris, a man is suddenly hailed by an old female classmate whom he has not seen since high school. The poor guy is, of course, a writer. Morose, panicked about his health, preoccupied with his marriage miseries and the fiasco of his recent book launch, he finds himself stranded in the desert of male middle age. And now there’s the strange business of this woman, who may or may not still be in love with him. Somehow he finds himself riding in her Jeep, riding to her place, not for any of the sensational reasons you might imagine, but because he sort of got stuck in a conversation without any chance of escape. Now he has to find his way out—and home.

A bitingly funny, lethally wise portrait of a hapless nonhero’s big adventure.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (Jan. 2 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400043158
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400043156
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.3 x 2.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,429,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

French playwright and novelist Reza (Desolation) wryly channels the thoughts of the titular depressed, unhappily married 47-year-old writer: he has just been diagnosed by his optometrist with partial thrombosis and probable glaucoma, while his wife, Irene, an engineer, seems to no longer love or care for him. With obsessions about his mortality, marriage, and failed book crashing about his head, Adam finds himself watching the ostriches in Paris's Jardin des Plantes, periodically cell-phoning his contentedly-coupled friend Albert. Recognizing Adam in the park, Marie-Thérèse Lyoc, with her bags full of the merchandise she sells to zoos and amusement parks, is energetic and talkative; in lycée, she was the invisible, faceless slave to another girl Adam loved. Out of grim resignation, Adam agrees to drive back with this open, talkative "nauseatingly robust ghost from the past" to her apartment in the suburbs while Marie-Thérèse cooks dinner for him, and eventually shares with him a letter that reveals how she once pined for him. This revelation, 30-years-ripe, paralyzes him. In her penetrating, repetitive monologue, Reza collapses Adam's entire sense of himself, and renders his ordinariness touching, even majestic.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Reza's second novel is as taut and cutting as her first, Desolation (2002), and even funnier in its disclosures of human foibles. The award-winning French playwright brings to fiction her gift for crafting a fuming inner monologue in counterpoint with spiky dialogue as a man faces a crisis primarily of his own construction. Adam, a 47-year-old writer, has eye trouble and consequently is full of fear of disability, age, and death. But he is also sulking on a rainy day in the Jardin des Plantes because his newest book and his marriage are utter disasters. Enter a doggedly upbeat former classmate, Marie-Therese. Adam agrees to dinner at her place, and as Marie-Therese summons up awkward memories and raves about electrical appliances, his mordant thoughts turn to vanity, mortality, and the shocking pleasure he experienced anonymously writing a work of pulp fiction. As Reza conducts this wry duet of delusion and compromise, she questions our belief in the transcendence of art, reminds us that we're our own worst enemies, and balances existential blues with compassion and humor. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Steer Clear of this train wreck.. Feb. 17 2008
By M. C. Horn - Published on
This could be possibly the most tiresome, tritely drawn up drivel I have yet to read.. Her understanding of men is so foreign, so incomplete, so vacuous.. There were no comical elements to be found.. How come the rating system can't display negative stars... I want my time refunded I spent on this book!
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars strange disjointed story July 10 2007
By weekly reader - Published on
The writing style is hard to follow at first but I was able to get through the book. The story line jumped around and it was hard to tell when Adam was talking out loud and when he was thinking. this short book is about a few hours of the day in the miserable life of Adam with no start or finish to the story. will not be passing this one along to anyone with my blessing.

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