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Boredom (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – July 31, 2004
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“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 human...one of Moravia’s funniest explorations on the origins of middle-class funk.” —Bill Marx, Boston Review
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Top Customer Reviews
We see the crucial significance of this philosophy in Moravia's "Boredom." The novel is rather an unusual one....it 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"...it 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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
stunning and brilliant work. Translation is beyond par.Published 21 months ago by Guruprasad Sreedhar
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 morePublished on September 6, 2012 by john (E.a.) zeile
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 morePublished on October 25, 2011 by Miles
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 morePublished on May 17, 2011 by Denisa
Only the bourgeois or wealthy experience the privilege of boredom. Or, this state is arguably a postmodern condition. Read morePublished on August 2, 2010 by Stefania Casi (The Cultural Sojourner)
This novel was the greatest birthday gift given to me by my sister. Moravia is the European Bellow. This is a hypnotic novel. Read morePublished on September 24, 2004 by fadensonnen
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 morePublished on October 4, 2003 by david