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Boredom (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – July 31, 2004

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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“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

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Product Details

  • Series: New York Review Books Classics
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics; New Ed edition (July 31, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590171217
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590171219
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #780,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Shaimaa Fayed on June 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
"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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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By khaines on August 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
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 By Jaylyn on April 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
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 By Digital Rights on 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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