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Mockingbird Hardcover – Jan 1980

14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Doubleday (January 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385149336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385149334
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,541,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
This novel has been seared into my memory since the moment I picked it up and turned the first page. Tevis is a masterful storyteller. At the time I read it in the early 00's, I had been taking a summer class to make up some credits for my history degree, and thought taking a "dystopian fiction" English class sounded interesting. Turns out I wasn't disappointed. There were a few other gems I read that summer, and I've been in love with the genre ever since. But Mockingbird really sticks with me.

Many of the scenes I recall from the novel are so vivid...but it is the more disturbing messages that Tevis was trying to convey through this masterpiece that really cut me to the bone. Robert Spofforth, the human/android that is all too human, who desires the world to die so that he might die, is one of the more fascinating (and disturbing) characters I've ever encountered in fiction. I've always found myself sympathizing with Spofforth even though he is a repugnant abomination, not quite human, not quite machine,but something in between, whose deep melancholy (and latent anger against the humanity which created him) is somehow touching, but chilling, all at the same time.

A magnificent novel that everyone should take up without delay. You won't be disappointed. Tevis' grasp of language and his central message about the value of human emotion in the face of technological error and decay has lost none of its potency today.
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Format: Paperback
When I was younger, I read a lot of books, not the ones other kids would read, because I knew the super ones when I spotted them, and my friends were not reading super books. I eventually read less and less, and besides required reading for English classes, I didn't read much, because I couldn't seem to find a book that caught my interest. I'd read the first couple chapters of books that were just altogether uninteresting, and would shelve them. I bought Mockingbird on a whim, having liked Nicolas Roeg and David Bowie, two of my biggest idols, that were, incidentally, pitted together for "The Man Who Fell to Earth," a movie I like a lot, which was based off of Walter Tevis' book, The Man Who Fell to Earth. So I got Mockingbird in the mail, hoping it would be the book to set me back in reading gear, opening it from it's package with delight, and with a ready feeling to read. "In the far future, love is the only hope," read the inset, and this was a great love story. It was the book that I finally got stuck with and I couldn't stop reading it. I'd read it in the hallway during my Photo class when I didn't have any thing to do. I'd read it after a test. I'd read it on the couch while my family watched TV. It reminded me of Farenheit 451, but I found Mockingbird to be a far more picturesque dystopia, and it got me from the start because it didn't have to blossom the way F451 did. Comparing this to F451 also creates a chain, since Nicolas Roeg did photography for the movie version of F451, and as previously stated, directed the Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis, who wrote Mockingbird. The characters still get the Guy Montag effect, while the rest of the world is drugged and oblivious to every thing, keeping privacy.Read more ›
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By A Customer on July 18 2003
Format: Paperback
If you ever know of anyone that has given up on reading, give them this one last book to read.
Another Tevis masterpiece. Written simply and exactly from the point of view of two of the three main characters and narratively from the third.
The adventure is terrific, the plot is solid and the twist, although it doesn't exactly come as a surprise, it puts the reader in the perspective of the drugged population for a moment who would not dare to imagine. Tevis accomplishes this easily by making everything else so perfect that the reader, while marvelling at what he is reading, is distracted from the direction it is taking him in.
There are many books you do not need to turn the page to know what is going to happen next, their plots loosely following a formula. Loosely enough that the content feels new, but enough that you don't feel that the author had anything of importance to say. This not one of those books. Tevis is not one of those authors. I was constantly surprised by the direction the story went in and barely anything that I was expecting to happen- happened.
But the best part of the book for me, was the way Tevis managed to describe the world through the words of Bentley. Bentley was a simple, lonely man struggling to understand a whole new world that had opened up to him. He writes like a child, yet not childishly. He is a man who is experiencing everything for the first time, teaching himself and expanding his horizons while he reads; his loneliness, breifly muted with his almost spiritual connection with dead authors and poets instigating feelings which he previously had no words to describe.
I get the feeling that the larger part of Bentley's character closely resembles Tevis' own, just as Bryce's did in Man Who Fell. Somehow they are always teachers.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Since the earliest science fiction novels, the novel of a future gone bad, or "dystopian" novel, has become a staple of the genre.
One thing I like about science fiction is the use of present trends to extrapolate the shortcomings of our current directions.
In this way, science fiction "about the future" has never been really "about the future", but instead about the time we currently live in, enlivened by scientific or social speculation.
The key issue, though, is how to keep the ideas fresh and relevant, because so many of these novels have been written.
Mockingbird avoids the "oft told tale" pitfalls that can too easily beset this genre. Tevis accomplishes the task by
creating believable characters, biting satire, and a pacing that is both leisurely and consistently interesting.
We are in a time when humankind's pursuit of happiness has
been reduced to the pursuit of pleasure. Mechanical inventions have eliminated the need to read, to write or to work.
The zero hour work week is imminent.
Who happens to the soul when it is freed from the mind?
Tevis answers the question brilliantly. This book is
a solid, strong read--it's a linear text, with little
time wasted on metaphysical author's voice. It uses quiet (if piercing) satire liberally, but not to the distraction of the plot. Tevis shows us a future all too much like our present,
only the trains have stopped running on time. My only criticism is that we are shown all the "no exit" spots in this dysfunctional world, but too few of the ways of escape.
Highly recommended. Anyone who thought Tevis' Man Who Fell to Earth was a bit difficult to follow will find this one
a breeze and yet a very thought-provoking book.
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