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The Human Comedy [Mass Market Paperback]

William Saroyan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 10.99
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Book Description

Aug. 15 1966
The place is Ithaca, in California's San Joaquin Valley. The time is World War II. The family is the Macauley's—a mother, sister, and three brothers whose struggles and dreams reflect those of America's second-generation immigrants…In particular, fourteen-year-old Homer, determined to become one of the fastest telegraph messengers in the West, finds himself caught between reality and illusion as delivering his messages of wartime death, love, and money brings him face-to-face with human emotion at its most naked and raw.

Gentle, poignant and richly autobiographical, this delightful novel shows us the boy becoming the man in a world that even in the midst of war, appears sweeter, safer and more livable than out own.

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Review

The place is Ithaca, in California's San Joaquin Valley. The time is World War II. The family is the Macauley's -- a mother, sister, and three brothers whose struggles and dreams reflect those of America's second-generation immigrants.. In particular, fourteen-year-old Homer, determined to become one of the fastest telegraph messengers in the West, finds himself caught between reality and illusion as delivering his messages of wartime death, love, and money brings him face-to-face with human emotion at its most naked and raw.

Gentle, poignant and richly autobiographical, this delightful novel shows us the boy becoming the man in a world that even in the midst of war, appears sweeter, safer and more livable than out own.

(From the Publisher) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

The place is Ithaca, in California's San Joaquin Valley. The time is World War II. The family is the Macauley's -- a mother, sister, and three brothers whose struggles and dreams reflect those of America's second-generation immigrants.. In particular, fourteen-year-old Homer, determined to become one of the fastest telegraph messengers in the West, finds himself caught between reality and illusion as delivering his messages of wartime death, love, and money brings him face-to-face with human emotion at its most naked and raw.

Gentle, poignant and richly autobiographical, this delightful novel shows us the boy becoming the man in a world that even in the midst of war, appears sweeter, safer and more livable than out own.


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book March 11 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the book, The Human Comedy, Homer, a fourteen year old boy, who works to help pay for things. Like food and the regular house-hold needs, because his father died in his early years. And his older brother is fighting in the war, so he is unable to tend to the family needs. His younger brother, Ulysses, is to young to work and his older sister is in school also but doesn't work. Overall, I liked this book and highly recommend it to everybody. I think it was outstanding and again I strongly recommend this book to everyone.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Human Comedy Oct. 13 2003
By Abby
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The Human Comedy" by William Saroyan, which is set in Ithaca, Ca, is about a family whom in time of war shows more courage than even the soldiers of World War II. The struggles and obstacles that the Macauleys face is a reflection of how the families have their own personal war to overcome. Dealing with the death of his father and an older brother drafted in the war, fourteen-year-old Homer still has a simple dream; to become the fastest telegraph messenger in the west. But even through the innocent dreams of a little boy there brings the reality of the nightmares of the real world. Homer is assigned to deliver telegraph messages of wartime to those who wait for their loved ones return. In the midst of enjoying his new line of work, he realizes that he has come "face-to-face with human emotions at its most naked and raw" state. He is awed by the way the letters can affect the feelings of the loved ones. Homer has to cope with the harsh truth of war.
The author's unique writing style goes beyond the norm of how a story is supposed to be told. Instead of the chapters transitioning from one to the next, Saroyan's approach is fragmented into the importance of the plot. Saroyan portrays a broad view of the sophistication of life. In Homer's world we can see him facing obstacles, choices, and emotions that all people go through. In my opinion, I believe that the author has done a good job with depicting the life of wartime families. However, at first I was not intrigued by the story, but as I read on, I was grabbed by it's realistic view on peoples' emotions. Homer represents the individual. Even though his situation may be more extreme than the average, he is basically confronted with decisions that will eventually shape his characteristics of being man. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy reading about surviving trials and tribulations. I have found this book to be fun and satisfactory.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Human Comedy Oct. 13 2003
By Abby
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The Human Comedy" by William Saroyan, which is set in Ithaca, Ca, is about a family whom in time of war shows more courage than even the soldiers of World War II. The struggles and obstacles that the Macauleys face is a reflection of how the families have their own personal war to overcome. Dealing with the death of his father and an older brother drafted in the war, fourteen-year-old Homer still has a simple dream; to become the fastest telegraph messenger in the west. But even through the innocent dreams of a little boy there brings the reality of the nightmares of the real world. Homer is assigned to deliver telegraph messages of wartime to those who wait for their loved ones return. In the midst of enjoying his new line of work, he realizes that he has come "face-to-face with human emotions at its most naked and raw" state. He is awed by the way the letters can affect the feelings of the loved ones. Homer has to cope with the harsh truth of war.
The author's unique writing style goes beyond the norm of how a story is supposed to be told. Instead of the chapters transitioning from one to the next, Saroyan's approach is fragmented into the importance of the plot. Saroyan portrays a broad view of the sophistication of life. In Homer's world we can see him facing obstacles, choices, and emotions that all people go through. In my opinion, I believe that the author has done a good job with depicting the life of wartime families. However, at first I was not intrigued by the story, but as I read on, I was grabbed by it's realistic view on peoples' emotions. Homer represents the individual. Even though his situation may be more extreme than the average, he is basically confronted with decisions that will eventually shape his characteristics of being man. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy reading about surviving trials and tribulations. I have found this book to be fun and satisfactory.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Comedy?... THINK AGAIN Oct. 1 2003
By Katie B
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Human "Comedy" is not a funny story at all. It is a little sad and depressing although it does have a good plot. I bought the book thinking that it was going to be full of humor, but i thought wrong. It is an interesting and amusint book, yet it is not a comedy. The Human Comedy is a short novel that drags on.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Book that confused my friends Sept. 30 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Human Comedy is the story of Homer Macauley's life during the war. With his brother off to fight WWII he must support the family with his new job. The plot for this book might be confusing to some readers. Struggling to deal with his job, Homer is upset he must deliver unhappiness with his deliveries. This book, which has strong character development for the main character, gives vivid details on how Homer becomes more mature. The setting is in Ithaca, California. As most books, this book is told in third person omniscient.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible April 3 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Human Comedy was a horrible book. It was too simple, not challenging enough. The book had only a vague plot, and it was covered up by the additional and useless events that had nothing to do with the outcome of the story. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The Human Comedy.... more like "The Human Drama"!
This book is a story about a California family whose eldest son is sent off to war. The younger brother must provide for the family by getting a job as a telegraph messenger. Read more
Published on Oct. 1 2003 by Katie B
4.0 out of 5 stars This could easily be a stage play.
"The Human Comedy" was an enjoyable read; light, yet complex all at once. The children's dialogue was delightful! So cute, yet mature. Read more
Published on March 22 2003 by MAB
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
The "Human Comedy" is the story of a family in Ithaca, California, during World War II.. A mother, 3 sons and a daughter.. The oldest son, Marcus, is in the Army.. Read more
Published on March 22 2003 by E. hansen
1.0 out of 5 stars A Book for the Ages...
This book is one that has no real plot. It continues on, with purpose kept well hidden-- from the begging to the end-- from the reader. Read more
Published on Dec 15 2002 by "brianctusa"
4.0 out of 5 stars Great novel if you like shorter books
I recomend The Human Comedy to all readers. If you like books around world war II, this book is for you. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2002 by gymn96
4.0 out of 5 stars Keep in mind the definition of Comedy
This is an well written novel that looks at the life for a lower-middle class family of yesterday. Life was enjoyable, but it was also hard. Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2002 by Donald Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!!
If I could give this book six stars, I definitely would. I read it in the 8th grade, and absolutely loved it. Read more
Published on Aug. 16 2002
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