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Extraordinary [Hardcover]

David Gilmour
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 23.99
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Book Description

Aug. 2 2013

From a Governor General’s Award–winning author comes a heart-rending novel about end-of-life, family and children.

Over the course of one Saturday night, a man and his half-sister meet at her request to spend the evening preparing for her assisted death. They drink and reminisce fondly, sadly, amusingly about their lives and especially her children, both of whom have led dramatic and profoundly different lives. Extraordinary is a gentle consideration of assisted suicide, but it is also a story about siblings — about how brothers and sisters turn out so differently; about how little, in fact, turns out the way we expect. In the end, this is a novel about the extraordinary business of being alive, and it may well be David Gilmour’s very best work of fiction to date.


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Review

"David Gilmour uses the fraught topic to quietly explore what it can reveal about the human heart and the sweet brevity of our earthly existence." – WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Praise for A Perfect Night to Go to China winner of the 2005 Givernor General's Award fot Fiction:

"One of the most refreshing, moving and supple works of fiction written since the 21st century began." —BOOKS IN CANADA

"When a story is this affecting, the result is a luminous reading experience, the kind we all crave... Gilmour is one of the best writers we have." —TORONTO STAR

Praise for The Perfect Order of Things:

"What begins as a man returning to the places where he's suffered becomes nothing less than a writer reassessing his entire career. There might not be a more honest writer in Canada." —NATIONAL POST

About the Author

The critically acclaimed and internationally bestselling author of seven previous novels and one work of non-fiction (The Film Club), DAVID GILMOUR is one of Canada’s most notable writers. Winner of the 2005 Governor General’s Award for Fiction for A Perfect Night to Go to China, Gilmour has won the praise of literary figures as diverse as William S. Burroughs and Northrop Frye. For many years, David Gilmour was a fixture on Canadian television as the national film critic for CBC’s The Journal, as well as the host of his own Gemini-winning show, Gilmour on the Arts. He is presently the Pelham Edgar Visiting Professor of literary studies at Victoria College at the University of Toronto.


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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
13 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amused Sept. 29 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Admittedly I haven't read this book - yet - and I am a man. I can't, however, fail to notice that while the book has been available for some time it is only in the last three days that these very negative reviews have appeared. Suggesting at least that the reviewers' opinions have more to do with their disdain for Mr. Gilmore's recently published views of women writers than a critically fair examination of his most recent work. One must seriously doubt that a work as seriously flawed as these (women?) critics would proclaim would ever make the Giller list. Ego, read them with caution and a large grain of salt.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull, terribly dull Oct. 18 2013
Format:Hardcover
It's great subject and it should have worked. But I never got any sense of character from the novel. It just slid inexorably toward death, which is fine. But why did it seem so dull?
I think the author spent so much time on the idea, he wasn't able to create interesting people. A failure. The subject of assisted suicide deserves better.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars gentle telling of a difficult subject Dec 5 2013
By salanb
Format:Hardcover
David Gilmour has written a gentle, perhaps heart-breaking, tale about a social issue that demands our attention.

I enjoyed the use of dialogue to tell almost all of the story. There were a few times when I wanted the story to move forward more quickly, yet I now see that this telling is probably quite near the natural pace at which this course of events would unfold.

A good read; one to recommend to the right, and perhaps, older person.
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4 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars calling this book terrible would be a compliment Sept. 29 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
gilmour has his head so far stuck up his own ass that he is unable to see outside his own personal bubble. newsflash: his writing's terrible, but maybe that's because i'm a woman and this means i cannot write or have good taste in literature. ladies, don't bother reading his pretentious crap. he's not writing for you, and even if he was, it would be a waste of your precious time to read anything by him anyway.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 1.8 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unutterable Garbage Sept. 27 2013
By B. E. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The only thing Extraordinary about it is that I managed to read half of this tosh before throwing it in the bin. The problem it has is that it strives too hard at stylisation and ends up being the self-conscious drivel of a student on a creative writing program who gets laughed out of the class in the first semester. Writing is a gift, but if the seed is there, it can be cultivated (think of those novels that are formulaic but still very readable), and the lesson all writers learn is to read ,read and read. Read widely, no holds barred. Learn about voice, character creation and development, plot development, grabbing the reader from the beginning. David Gilmour has lot to learn and that is obvious from this pathetic teenage meandering masquerading as literature.
30 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful Sept. 25 2013
By Martina Newberry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Dreadful what passes for writing sometimes... Gilmour's writing is stilted, boring, soulless and ought to be viewed as the publisher's joke on anyone unwise enough to buy this junk. The "story," for lack of a better word, is listless at best, fraught with burning candles, martinis and Drambuies, margaritas and listening to recorded music (as described by Philip Marchand).

There is something in the book about some woman named Susan who wants to die. By the end of the novel, I was more than ready to see that happen.

I returned the book. Waste of time, waste of money. If this author is actually teaching classes, God help his students.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A truly Masculine reading experience Sept. 28 2013
By sissyphus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The book itself is a solid, almost heavy tome, weighing in at a muscular 10.6 ounces (that's a whopping 290+ grams for the Modernists amongst us). This bodes well for the Man who likes a bit of heft to his read. The very paper it's printed on is a nice, white, middleweight affair; nothing kinky, limp or feminine here. The typeface is both bold and strong, with just a hint of serif, but not enough to make it look Gay or anything. And then we come to the words and punctuation themselves; what can I say? Each and every one of these polished, Manly, gems is overflowing with with an urgent Androsterone-drenched, tightly clenched Butch-ness, the likes of which I haven't experienced since wandering into a San Francisco bathing house (by mistake of course) back in the 70s. I love a Man who has fought for his principles, and who is capable of getting these hard won beliefs onto paper, and I think the Author succeeds here in giving us a revealing glimpse into his complicated, and almost exclusively Male, hinterland. Now I don't want to give away any of the Testosterone-fueled plot points, or spoil the two-fisted denouement, but suffice it to say that the ending will sort the women from the Real Men (Why, I myself had nightmares for a week after reading this book - but that's another story...).

It seems that some people are giving the Author a hard time because his publicist came out and said that David (like a lot of other Real Men) doesn't want to be forced to read books by women, Gays or Chinese people - presumably even straight, Male Chinese people. But I say that's just an ugly prejudice on their part! Why can't a white, middle-class Academic express himself without being publicly humiliated? And I'm guessing these revelations will not really harm his sales too much, though in truth, I am a bit disappointed that he has since halfheartedly apologized in the press - that's not what Hemingway would have done! Oh, and I assume that Virginia Wolf is sufficiently non-threatening (in a sexual sense) to be able to pass as an honorary white Manly-Man, so that explains why she's now one of the *Serious Heterosexual Guys* that are on his reading and teaching lists. In summary; enjoy it quickly, because I doubt if he'll be able to publish another one quite like this!
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious and poorly written... Sept. 28 2013
By theMountinman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The introduction I read, which was mercifully (if not intentionally) brief, contained an excessive amount of unnecessary and superfluous punctuation, as well as a healthy dose of poor grammar, undoubted attributable to the author's undisguised disdain for even the basic rules of writting; as if to say, "When one has achieved the station in life to which I have ascended, one is no longer bound by the constructs and devices of lesser beings".

Actually, my last sentence could have come out of this book... garbage.

I guess my fiction preference lies with the writings of those who aren't bigots and/or misogynists.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written, lack of intrigue Sept. 28 2013
By JoyceFan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The text was poorly written, and the narrative suffered a lack of balance, flow and intrigue. I do not recommend reading this rather stunted book, and direct readers instead to the booker nominees for this year, which include a selection of cultural backgrounds and gender perspectives - and very fine writing.
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