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Bowl of Cherries Hardcover – October 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
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Equal parts Catcher in the Rye and Die Hard.” The New Yorker
Kaufman’s screwball sensibility, relish for language, gleeful vulgarism, and deep sympathy for his characters make this novel an unprecedented joyride.” Publishers Weekly
A smart, zany comedy . . . That weird incongruity between highbrow/lowbrow humor is only part of what makes Bowl of Cherries so irresistible. Kaufman's comic imagination, his ability to mix things scatological and historical, political and philosophical, reminds one of those young'uns Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller. The ridiculous slapstick in Assama is straight from Woody Allen's Don't Drink the Water, and a cameo appearance by a goofy President Bush will take you back to Dr. Strangelove. But Kaufman seems to have more heart than those '60s satirists; his precocious young hero pulls on our sympathies even as he trudges on through absurdity.” Ron Charles, Washington Post
Kaufman doesn't disappoint, and his narrative is infused with . . . wisdom and whimsy . . . Kaufman exudes a vitality that novelists half his age would envy.” Baltimore Magazine
The ninety year old’s inquisitiveness and tenacity shine brightly within the novel, in which he weaves words more impressively than a spider spins a web.” Rocky Mountain Chronicle
Bowl of Cherries reads like a picaresque Kurt Vonnegut farce narrated by Augie March . . . The descriptions of Judd's troubled upbringing and the world of higher education are as gorgeously blooming as his carnal adventures are funny . . . a knowing satire of the American lust for recognition at any cost.” Baltimore City Paper
A freewheeling comedy that careens from a Colorado horse ranch to an Iraqi prison to a porn studio underneath the Brooklyn Bridge . . . Bowl of Cherries is the work of a writer unshackled, finally able to use vocabulary and structure verboten in Hollywood.” Rolling Stone
When you read Bowl of Cherries, you will know that this writer is a reader . . . the modus operandi of this book is to find a way to laugh at anything . . . I haven’t had this kind of fun in a long time.” Michael Silverblatt, KCRW Bookworm
Make no mistake, Bowl of Cherries is crass, offensive and overblown, but its portrait of a world driven mad by greed and hucksterism, miracle cures and imperialist agendas stumbles smack into its share of worthy targets.” Jewish Daily Forward
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Reviews for this novel are split right down the middle here on Amazon, so I want to set the record straight: Bowl of Cherries is a novel for writers. This is a novel that shows what wonder still survives in the English language. In our increasingly dumbed-down vernacular, here is a book that boldly unleashes a host of ten-dollar words without even recoursing to explaining them; how refreshing it is to be in the hands of an author who trusts in the intelligence of his readers.
The novel's narrated by Judd Breslau, a 14 year-old prodigy who attends Yale, his focus of study an obscure Romantic poet. In the course of his research he meets Phillips Chatterton, a crackpot who operates a rundown house of fellow crackpots. After a series of misadventures, Judd's kicked out of Yale and ends up in Chatterton's rundown house. His main reason for being there is Valerie, Chatterton's gorgeous, 16 year-old daughter, whom Judd swoons for at length. ("All else is trumpery," as he puts it.Read more ›
While "Bowl of Cherries" starts out strong and enjoyable, almost gleeful, at the half-way point it changes direction and really loses something. The likeable and interesting characters (our narrator, Judd, and his increasingly less believable love interest, Valerie) at the beginning of the story don't seem to grow, and the ending seems kind of false and needlessly drawn out.
That's not to say, though, that it's not a worthwhile read. Though not as prevalent through the second half, there are plenty of excellent turns of phrase and little insights and incidents throughout that'll make you smile.
Very funny, very satiric, very good.
To have a little more fun and learn more about Kaufman (and even Mr. Magoo!), you can visit the NPR website and search for a bowl of cherries to find his Weekend Edition interview with Scott Simon.
Author of the new historical novel...
[ASIN:1934037397 Judge Fogg]]
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Whether you do or you don't, you will need one to read this book. The author has a wonderful - if excessive - grasp of the language, but a lesser grasp of plot and character... Read morePublished on December 2, 2012 by san franciscan
People either love or hate this book. While I like Vonnegut, Catch-22, etc, this book is unique. And entertaining. Kaufman's word choice is fantastic (yeah. he uses big words. Read morePublished on April 19, 2010 by Ella Hill
BOWL OF CHERRIES is a great way to spend your reading time. It's thoughtful, funny, witty, doesn't assume the reading is a dope (yes, some words sent me to the dictionary - I... Read morePublished on July 27, 2009 by Josey K
This book is a comedy so a lot of the plot elements make little sense. It is interesting because this is a debut novel from a ninety year old author. Read morePublished on July 16, 2009 by Michael P. McCullough
(Note: I did not read this but bought the audio version...I imagine it was a good book until it was destroyed by this rendition. Read morePublished on May 16, 2009 by J. Silverman
I was really enjoying the book until I came to page 244 - BLANK! Since page 243 ends in a partial sentence and 245 starts in a partial sentence, there is no doubt that the... Read morePublished on January 10, 2009 by Peeved
Even though teenage protagonist Judd Breslau enters Yale at the age of 14, loses his virginity to a sex goddess soon after, becomes a spy and gets sentenced to death in Iraq by... Read morePublished on July 22, 2008 by Nelson H. Wu
I had to stop reading this book it seemed the author was more concerned about using every obscure word ever written, than developing the plot. Read morePublished on April 25, 2008 by D. Shanks