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An Exaltation of Larks Hardcover – December, 1995


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although it begins on a normal-seeming college campus, Reed's latest (following Beyond the Veil of Stars) expands to cover a setting and theme as grand as all the permutations of the galaxy. The plot concerns Jesse Aylesworth, the sexually voracious editor of a college newspaper, whose life of seduction and muckraking is interrupted by the appearance of a strange Indian/Turtle who explains that he has come to offer the gift of eternal life to a select group of vertebrates. His group plans to release humanity from the prison of mortality by turning the universe into an infinite loop in which all possible pasts and futures can occur. The only catch is the unidentified traitor at Jesse's college, someone who wants to pervert the immortals' plans for indubitably heinous reasons. Despite the fact that Jesse's shallow attitudes toward sex aren't fully explained until the book's finale, the book rides far on the strength of Reed's virtuosic, amusingly surreal images of his brave, new, infinitely variable world. And, in an appealingly modest manner, it comes back to earth and an acceptance of the reality we know.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Reed's highly praised novels offer powerful visions of vividly rendered everyday circumstances suddenly disrupted by otherworldly forces. The latest focuses on a small college in the late 1970s and a few students whose lives are transformed by visitors from the far future. In the midst of an embezzlement scandal that implicates the school's president and a blizzard that knocks out all phone and TV reception, the college newspaper's news editor, Jesse Aylesworth, gets a surprise visit from a shapeshifting Indian who calls himself Turtle. Turtle says he is a citizen from the end of time who has come on an extraordinary mission. He is to grant Jesse and some of his fellows immortality in the hope that, so doing, universal laws will eventually be rewritten. On his way to developing attendant superhuman powers, Jesse discovers that Turtle has been preceded by another time traveler who is perhaps masquerading as Jesse's latest girlfriend and definitely plotting to undermine Turtle's plans. Deftly drawn characterizations and wry delivery help turn an outlandish story line into a compelling adventure. Carl Hays
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 251 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (December 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312858884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312858889
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,549,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm only in junior high, so adults who read this might not count my opinion, but I thought this book was so good! I couldn't put it down and I definitely can't say that for a lot of books. I agree its not the best I've EVER read, but Reed creates such an interesting and thought provoking synopsis that I was blowen away! This was actually fun to analyse! I've never read a book twice but I'm thinking of making an exception for this one, there's just so much I could of missed. I understand that older people have to sound more distinguished than authors, acting like this novel just lacked plot, flow or whatever and acting like they could write better, but sometimes your wrong. This was a good book, stop kidding yourself! For all of the rest of you out there...read this one!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By cbollerer@earthlink.net on July 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
Reed has produced a brilliantly written piece of work in An Exaltation of Larks. His characters are alive and three dimensional. His portrayal of a small college campus is flawless. His writing is crisp and to the point. And his imagination is wonderful. I would give it five stars but there are just so many great books out there. This one, however, is a must read for those who appreciate good writing with a touch of whimsy and mystery thrown it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
Reed's novel spans the entire history of the universe in broad strokes exploring the nature of life and existence. Paradoxically much of the story focuses on a late 1970s college campus, so beautifully captured the writing makes your heart ache. All this and a cosmic mystery well done.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steve on February 17, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has great character development and scene setting which goes on for the first 2/3 of the book. I give it the highest rating for this. However, the rating comes down in the last chapter, which gets weird with strange dream like sequences that I don't care for much. This is the type of book you read in college where you have to try to analyze everything the author is trying to say. I'm not sure what it was. For example, I'm not sure what the title is referring too. I'm also not sure what the power struggle was all about. The author seems to try to convey great significance to an event that seemed trivial to me. The back cover credits compare this author to Phillip K. Dick, but except for the weird dream sequences, Reed's writing is much better. This book reminded me a lot of Vonnegut's Slaughter House Five. The same sort of time travel weirdness and symbolism with great writing. So an average rating for great characterization and scene but a general weirdness that I don't care for.
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