Desolation (Vintage International) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$4.00
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Desolation Hardcover – September 24, 2002

4 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$4.89 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$0.29

4 Stars and Up Feature: Kitchens of the Great Midwest
"Foodies and those who love contemporary literature will devour this novel that is being compared to Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge. A standout." --Library Journal Learn more
Available from these sellers.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A curmudgeonly retired Parisian is the narrator of this delightful first novel by playwright Reza, author of the Tony Award-winning Art. Bienvenue to Samuel's world, where too-cheerful Nancy, his second wife, "doesn't understand that a man who has no place to whine cannot be a normal man," and his disappointing 38-year-old son "crisscrosses the world on the 99 cents he gets from subletting the apartment I rent for him." Samuel's best friend, Lionel, "can't get it up anymore"; his marvelous mistress, the delectable Marisa (aka "my Babylon"), is now only a memory; Mrs. Dacimiento, his housekeeper, hasn't mastered the art of fitting the plastic garbage sack properly over the rim of the garbage can-"Sometimes I long to say, `Have you never put a rubber on a guy?'" The winter of this Parisian's delightful discontent alternates brilliantly between dry humor and wry flashes of heartbreaking wisdom. Crafted with loving care and remarkable attention to voice, this short novel portrays an aging man desperately trying to make sense of life while talking out loud to himself, his son, his buddy Lionel and, finally, to an old friend and fellow gardener, Genevieve Abramowitz, whose response helps him to realize that desolation can be the prelude to one last stab at true communication. "The garden-all me," Samuel discovers, can lead to a late-in-life blossoming. "But the world is not outside us. The world lives within us."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Reza, best known for her play Art, not surprisingly offers a first novel with the same theatrical quality. The book reads like a one-man show, featuring a monolog delivered by an elderly French gentleman who is both thinking out loud and speaking with various people from his life, including his itinerant son, his lovers, and the friends who have passed on before him. At the end of his life, he's confounded by his wayward son's "happiness" (which he sees as resignation and sloth) and reflects on how close he himself may have come to achieving that blissful state, ultimately wondering what, indeed, it is. The book, while not lacking in wit or some measure of insight, nevertheless feels more like an open-ended character sketch for a future stage production than a complete novel. A slight and curious work that will garner most of its readership from those familiar with the playwright. Purchase accordingly.
Marc Kloszewski, Indiana Free Lib., PA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (September 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375410872
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375410871
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,767,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5 star
0%
4 star
50%
3 star
50%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 4 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joseph J. Hanssen on April 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Yasmina Reza is the author of the Tony Award winning play "Art" and it is evident from the beginning paragraph of this debut novel that this author is very familiar with the stage. Written in monologue form, the story gives voice to the ravings and complaints of an old man named Samuel Perlman. Samuel is complaining most of the time about his adult son, from whom he feels estranged. This is a son he feels is lazy, "rotting in leisure", and who has no ambition or passion in his life. In analyzing his son's misguided life, he starts to reflect upon his own life, his marriages, love affairs, and close friendships. Could it be he is terrified of his own daily monotony? Loneliness, solitude and Samuel's inability to escape his own unhappiness or daily routine are perhaps his greatest enemy?

This is a brilliantly written first novel that is humorous funny, sad, heartbreaking, uplifting and disturbing all at the same time. You get a sense of just how fragile life is and how hard it is to escape one's final destination. One has to look beyond the complaints of Samuel to really know him. Excellent. Highly Recommended!
Joe Hanssen
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Emilia Palaveeva on November 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Written in the form of a monologue, this short novel is about the life, disappointments and losses of an old man. Disappointed at his son for lacking ambition and embracing mediocrity, the narrator shares his thoughts of his life, his friends and the events that shaped his life.
The novel and the language are interesting. However, I did not feel any compassion or sympathy towards the character. He is an old man bitter with disappointment at everyone around him. Yet, he himself, despite his talks of thriving in conflict and turmoil, has avoided conflict all his life and continues to do so with his wife, dauther and her family. While he does not claim he is perfect he also does not take any responsibility for anything or anyone.
While the monologue technique was interesting, I found the book mediocre.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on August 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Monologues can be an effective approach to novels (Tabucchi, Hrabel,Tuck and Kolitz come to mind). However, to be effective the reader needs to be sympathetic/empathetic to the speaker or the problem. Unfortunately, for the first two-thirds of this novel Samuel Perlman was a bitter, uninteresting character. However, the last third places Perlman's isolation/desolation into a broader existential, Jewish, Kabbalistic context. Finally, his issues become issues of humanity - how to create a life, a persona to stave off desolation.

The author provides a very consistent voice and a dry humor that makes the novel an enjoyable read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Aco on April 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This was very good reading. Without trying to parse it one way or another-that would take a more intelligent mind-I'll simply state that it captivated, kept me curious and took me on the ride.

Essentially a monologue, Desolation is like the last gasp of a man compelled to express himself as he turns into the void. He talks to his son, wife, friends, lovers in a confessional and passionate tone.

Yasmina Reza is a remarkable writer. I particularly appreciate her ability to unify brutish-masculinity, transcendant poetics and harrowing visions of the beauty of small things. Left me with a vivid feel of Paris, French-ness, fatherhood, marriage and the function and futility of philosophy.

Short and remarkably written.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again