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Boredom (New York Review Books Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Alberto Moravia , William Weaver , Angus Davidson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The novels that the great Italian writer Alberto Moravia wrote in the years following World War II represent an extraordinary survey of the range of human behavior in a fragmented modern society. Boredom, the story of a failed artist and pampered son of a rich family who becomes dangerously attached to a young model, examines the complex relations between money, sex, and imperiled masculinity. This powerful and disturbing study in the pathology of modern life is one of the masterworks of a writer who, as Anthony Burgess once remarked, was “always trying to get to the bottom of the human imbroglio.”

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Moravia's 1960 novel was embraced by critics as one of his finest. It relates the story of a failed artist who becomes infatuated with a young model. Typical of his fiction, this book examines humankind's relationship to power, sex, and money with cold displacement.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“In its moral and artistic economy, [Boredom] is perhaps the most successful of all Moravia’s work. . . .No one has depicted a series of carnal acts, frenzied yet cold in their automatism—nudity, desire and its outlet—with such complete lack of complacence, such impassive truthfulness.”—Nicola Chiaromonte, Partisan Review

“Precise, calculating, decadent and quite brilliant.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Boredom is Moravia’s most succinct exploration of the quiet desperation at the heart of the automated of Moravia’s funniest explorations on the origins of middle-class funk.” —Bill Marx, Boston Review

Product Details

  • File Size: 396 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1590171217
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics; New Ed edition (July 20, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004KPM1I0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,176 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange.......disturbing......different June 8, 2004
"Boredom" was my first encounter with Italian neorealism...the theory that holds "consciousness does not constitute reality". In other words, reality is extramental, the way we perceive objects and people, and the relationship we develop with them, does not change the reality of these objects or people. As one website explained, "a man remains the same man, even though he becomes an uncle (exteriority of relationship). Knowledge is nothing other than an external relationship; its nature consists in making an object present to a subject. But in this relationship both object and subject remain what they were." So, basically, a cup is just a cup regardless of the purpose for which I use it. It stands in and of its own. Everything stands in and of its own. But our relationship to things is just our perception, our consciousness, it is not reality itself. We are outside of reality.
We see the crucial significance of this philosophy in Moravia's "Boredom." The novel is rather an unusual is a disturbing psychological study. It traces the inner thoughts and emotions of Dino, the painter who suffers "artistic sterility from boredom." Here, it is important to realise what boredom means for Dino. Boredom is more than just "ennui" is his inability to develop a relationship to the world around him. He feels a complete emptiness, apathy, disconnection with the world at large. He suffers from what we would term in this modern day and age a kind of depression, the kind that is so acute that it does not manifest itself in sadness, but rather in a complete indifference to life. The novel barely has a plot. In fact, there are only a handful of interacting characters in the book.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moravia's musings. August 16, 2003
By khaines
It's difficult to say much about this novel, because its premise is age-old and predictable; so I'll simply tell you why you should read it: Moravia's genius comes by way of depicting intangibles such as love and fear with the same type of detail and insight that he would utilize if he were merely describing the apple on your kitchen counter.
Individual thoughts might reel on for pages, but you'll follow with ease as the narrator muses in the same way that you might as you walk to the park and daydream about grocery lists or failed loves or the full moon you mean to reference in your last letter to your grandmother.
The prose is simple. The characters are painful to know, difficult to like, and incredibly crafted mirrors of the person who turns the pages.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Preoccupied With Boredom April 14, 2005
By Jaylyn
It's hard to live the bohemain life of the starving artist when you're mother is loaded with money and even if you're able to break away, you're still completely talentless.

This is the story of Dino, a man emotionally and physically detatched from all life has to offer. Pretending, even trying to fool himself, that he doesn't need his mother to live, he tries to live as an artist and with no inspiration or drive he stares into a blank canvas, perhaps a metaphor for his life.

You would think that he is just waiting for the lifestyle he craves to be handed to him as everything else is handed to him, that his obsession with boredom is simply just an excuse, until Cecilia enters the story.

Completely on the opposite end of the spectrum, Cecilia lives in poverty with an ill father, Cecilia cannot be conquered by Dino by way of boredom. He wants to be the user, to use her body and her emotions and detatch himself from her, but is curious to find she is also as equally detatched from the world, which leads Dino into a dangerous spiral to make her feel at least something for him. Not entirely out of love as much as a game to make the other feel something first, a game that he seems to be playing all by himself.

This misses one star because I'm not entirely sure if I even liked the story, but the writing was good and kept drawing me back to the book. This is a book worth checking out, perhaps at your local library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 star but with reservations November 20, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Boredom" is interesting in the same way all Moravia books are: first person narratives that are intensely reflective, somewhat unreliable, usually in denial or self deluding and obsessed somehow with the recognition, adulation, love or approval of others. In this case a painter of no consequence gradually develops an unhealthy obsession with a young woman that accelerates as his desire grows. Overlapping Dino's sex life and emotional dislocation is a second story of his bourgeois hypocrisy where he pretends to be a down and out painter solely dedicated to his craft, repeatedly evoking his hatred for money and wealth.

And yet Dino describes the threadbare homes and clothes of those he comes in contact with the distain and a vertigo inducing look straight down on those who live as they do without choice. Moravia weaves these contradictions so effortlessly that a reader may just accept them until it becomes obvious that our narrator may not be the clear thinking objective person that we first encounter. From that point for me the story grew increasingly interesting as I began to wonder a bit more of what was going on around Dino that we were not seeing and contemplated a bit more about Cecilia, his obsession and the very complex relationship with his mother that's hinted at but left unresolved.

This is my fourth Moravia novel after "Contempt (1954)", "The Woman of Rome (1947") and "The Conformist (1947)". I have liked them all. Moravia has very specific characters that he likes to explore and try to understand their unhappiness and obsessions. Even more than "The Woman of Rome" which is a first person narrative of a woman slipping into prostitution this one has a lot sex. Perhaps not the level of detail that saturate more current novels but far more than the typical novel. It's for that reason that I have a bit of a reservation about the 5 stars as the theme is a bit relentless. But as an original and provocative character study is was well worth my time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
stunning and brilliant work. Translation is beyond par.
Published 10 months ago by Guruprasad Sreedhar
1.0 out of 5 stars bored? not really !
i frankly did not catch much about boredom from the book. he was busy as can be from the time he stepped thru the prison doors! Read more
Published on September 6, 2012 by john (E.a.) zeile
4.0 out of 5 stars Obnoxious protagonist but interesting book
While reading the first half of the book, I almost gave up on it because I was so "bored" with the protagonist and his privileged, selfish, and childish attitude and his sophomoric... Read more
Published on October 25, 2011 by Miles
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun read!
Wow....Boredom is one of the books that is hard to put down. I found it so easy to get into the "mind of the writer" and "live the story! Read more
Published on May 17, 2011 by Denisa
4.0 out of 5 stars La Noia
Only the bourgeois or wealthy experience the privilege of boredom. Or, this state is arguably a postmodern condition. Read more
Published on August 2, 2010 by Stefania Casi (The Cultural Sojourner)
5.0 out of 5 stars Uniquely humorous
This novel was the greatest birthday gift given to me by my sister. Moravia is the European Bellow. This is a hypnotic novel. Read more
Published on September 24, 2004 by fadensonnen
5.0 out of 5 stars STRANDED
a young man muse destroys him A very strange girl enters the consciousness of the protagonist a self professed failed painter, i cant recall his name,nor the girls, cause the book... Read more
Published on October 4, 2003 by david
5.0 out of 5 stars Companion Piece
This book must be purchased as a companion to the better-known, "Contempt." I belive this book is Moravia at his best. Read more
Published on April 13, 2000
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