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Regarding Roderer [Hardcover]

Guillermo Martinez


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Book Description

December 1994
In an acclaimed novella by an Argentinean writer, a young Argentinean intellectual and his friend Roderer, committed to radically different philosophies, take separate paths into adulthood--one leading to the world, one leading to a private world of his own.

Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr (December 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312113749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312113742
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.5 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,101,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This brief, provocative first novel from Martinez, an Argentine who in 1982 won his country's National Short Story Award, tells of the disruption of a young boy's tidy world by a newcomer in town. The new arrival, Gustavo Roderer, is the same age as the unnamed narrator and challenges his comfortable position as the smartest pupil in class. Possessed of an otherworldy intelligence, Roderer quarrels with the very assumptions that the narrator has unthinkingly, and so handily, memorized and conquered. The story follows the narrator as he leaves his home village for college and, briefly, for war; the narrator's sister, who falls adoringly in love with the curious new boy; and Roderer himself, who stays holed up in his room, mysteriously compelled to rework the traditional systems of Western philosophy. The boys' relationship is subtly motivated by Roderer's need to glean any knowledge that the narrator-a walking guide to current trends in academe-carries with him, as well as by the narrator's panicked envy of Roderer's mind and his self-proclaimed mission. Most of the book's interest lies in the development-or deterioration-of Roderer; the narrator's voice, which seems sometimes selfishly recalcitrant, does little to generate interest in him.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this debut novel, Martinez traces the parallel lives of two contemporary Argentines-a mathematical genius named Gustavo Roderer and the narrator. As the narrator enjoys the accolades of his scholarship and moves out into worldly endeavors, Roderer isolates himself in his mother's house and pursues his private philosophical inquiries. His obsession has a romantic appeal for the narrator's sister, Christina, who falls in love with him. Roderer, unaware of anything outside his own intellectual pursuits, including Christina's affections and his mother's concerns, becomes ill and dies from a rare disease that eats away at his internal organs. Although the story evolves adequately, the characters and the tragic theme of the genius as outsider are not developed enough to sustain interest. Not an essential purchase.
David A. Berona, Westbrook Coll. Lib., Portland, Me.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A young man's search for unatainable knowledge. April 9 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Gustavo Roderer sacrifices all to enter a new realm where all current forms of logic and philosophy are null and void. An unseen force acts against his efforts to shed all of humankind's "learned" approach to solving the most basic of questions.

Roderer forsakes a formal education and sheds family, friends and the girl who loves him to pursue a knowledge only God and the Devil share. As he gets closer to the truth, he becomes less able to articulate his thoughts to his closest and only friend. Consumed by disease, he discovers the answer.

Martinez tells a wonderful story of two young men in Argentina--both geniuses. One pursues answers to questions unconcievable, while the other builds himself a normal life within the context of all human knowledge. They feed of each others pursuits, triumphs and failures. Roderer races as fast as he can to find the answers in what little time--he is sure--is left. His friend, the narrator, pulls himself away from his family, his small home town and Roderer over a long period of time.

Neither can reach the end of their journey without
the other.

Martinez uses a brilliant mix of mathematics and philosophy to fuel the exchanges between the narrator and Roderer.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An overwhelming genius within 90 pages Aug. 28 2001
By "miltbrann" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This intense novel is the history of the friendship between two gifted boys. One of them, the narrator, has always been the brightest in his class. He orients himself wide and takes knowledge from the world surrounding him. The other, Gustavo Roderer, is the new boy in class that fascinates and frightens with another type of intelligence: more extreme and sweeping, more introspective og mystical. Roderer balances on the hazy line between lunacy and wisdom. He seeks the root of the knowledge, moving in the icy landscapes of thoughts stilbb burning with fire. The narrator tries to incorporate more pragmatic sense into his new friend and the narrator's sister gives her love to Roderer, but he is already lost. It's true that you see the tragic end of the book almost from the start but it's not because of a fatalistic presence in the novel more because of the narrators reciting voice through it all that doesn't need to hide anything from the reader. It is a hard, sharp and precise vocabulary that reminded me more of contemporary electronic music that is clean and machinelike, observing cynically the processes that takes place before ones eyes. The book also draws comparisons to Mann's "Dr. Faustus" with its main protagonist beyond help from others, lost in the fervent search for something higher. ***(*) on the barometer
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting treatment of genius. Nov. 5 2000
By Wildness - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Gustav Roderer is an unconventional genuis. His understanding of mathematics transcends the conscious realm as he drops out and pursues an elusive deeper understanding of it all.

This is the story of two young geniuses - Roderer and the Narrator - from Argentina who, despite their differences, become friends and confidants. While the Narrator follows a normal course in pursuit of more kwoledge, the other falls deeper into a world only he understands. Roderer knows that humankind's efforts to date fall short of what it will take to reach the next step in the evolution of our understanding and he is within reach of a new level to our consciousness.

As he is ravaged by disease he tries to share what he is beginning to grasp with his friend the Narrator before the end that he knows is near comes.

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A Guide to my Rating System:

1 star = The wood pulp would have been better utilized as toilet paper.
2 stars = Don't bother, clean your bathroom instead.
3 stars = Wasn't a waste of time, but it was time wasted.
4 stars = Good book, but not life altering.
5 stars = This book changed my world in at least some small way.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read Dec 28 2007
By Andres C. Salama - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A brief novel by Guillermo Martinez. The early 1980s. The narrator (clearly an alter ego of Martinez, who also went on to study mathematics) is a teenager living in a small seaside town in the south of Buenos Aires province. He regards himself as the brightest person in town. One day, a new kid named Gustavo Roderer arrives in town, and the first time they met, Roderer beats him in chess. Then they meet in school, and the narrator increasingly becomes fascinated by Roderer, whom he sees as a sort of genius of otherworldly intelligence who has read everything. However, as time passes, and as the narrator goes to college to study math while Roderer stays at home, the reader slowly realizes that Roderer is hardly a genius, he's just a cultural omnivore, someone who has read a lot, but who lives holed up in a room in her mother's house, under increasingly difficult circumstances, dreaming in vain of creating a new system of philosophy that would overthrow the prevalent one. A good debut by Martinez, a writer working unusual themes.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impeccable Aug. 17 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Charming and intelligent story. This kind of writing remembers me the precision of a Swiss clock, where the end tells 12 o'clock.

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