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THE VISIBLE WORLD Paperback – 2008

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Paperback, 2008
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: PORTOBELLO BOOKS LTD (2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846271606
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846271601
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.9 x 17.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exquisite July 19 2007
By Bee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought this book might give me some interesting background on Prague, but it far surpassed my expectations. It is a beautifully constructed triptych that interweaves fiction, memoir, and historical fact. The writing is beautiful, the characters memorable, the descriptions evocative.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating story, beautifully written May 24 2007
By WoollyB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a captivating tale of desperation built upon carefully constructed, mesmerizing prose. The Heydrich assassination in 1942 Prague provides the background for the story of a son's investigation of his mother's lost happiness. There is a Strindberg-like deterministic quality to all of the characters as they play out their roles, yet the author still manages to surprise. The writing is extremely evocative yet not so dense as to impede the action. This is a really fine piece of work.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Believable! Oct. 9 2009
By Najla Alowais - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is not a book that you can just read a few pages of in the car, a few more whilst waiting for your appointment. Not that it's terribly confusing, but rather, the narrator talks to you directly and you feel like you just need to sit down and listen. Some books are like that.

It was hard getting into it at first, but once you get past the first part, you're hooked.

The books is divided into three parts: the first is where the narrator talks about his childhood in the States. The second part is the narrator's journey to Parague to discover anything he can about his parents' past. The third and most moving part is his view on what really happened in his parents' youth, his attempt to fill the gaps of his family history.

WWII as the backdrop for the last chunk of this book, you feel like you are there with them. The style is inviting and when you finish the book you'll almost believe that it did happen.
3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps this would be better on a snowy Winter's Day Aug. 1 2008
By Rose A. Butler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I personally found this book to be pretentious, a book prizing itself on it "literary-ness" rather than it's plot or characterizations. Perhaps in front of a fire, when not much else is going on in, say, January, it would have seemed a better read. But I found the plot difficult to follow, while the characters stirred in my mind nothing but indifference. I was not swept up in it at all.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slowly Intense Feb. 1 2010
By M. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This isn't a book that I found myself drawn to immediately, or even that I liked for the first few dozen pages. It drew me in, though, as it touched nerves associated with memories of my past and of my parents, some good, others not so happy.

Slouka tells the story with the pain and hollowness that comes from the drive to seek out the truth of the past that some parts or one's judgment often counsel against. I liken the experience of reading this book to one of solitary reflection that one experiences on a bitter winter day sitting alone on a park bench. Though there are turns of humor, there are also wrenching shocks.

The narrative is told deftly weaving facts, imagination, and memories- which often have elements of both- telling of a son's quest to understand his parents. What made this story ultimately compelling- and satisfying- for me is that it is so deeply personal and universal. Don't we all, at some point, want to understand where we, and, by extension, our parents, come from? Why did they do what they did? What were their dreams? Their failures? The answers to these questions that the protagonist asks of his parents resonated with me and made this book come alive.

It is a satisfying read, if not light. It made me work to understand, not in a way that was teasing or cloying, but sophisticated. What I can commend most of this book is that, though I read it months ago, it is with me still, as if I had just put it down.

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