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Echo Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 1, 2001

75 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Part myth, part dream, and all enchantment, Francesca Lia Block has blessed her glitter fans with another darkly fantastical tale of Los Angeles, "a city of magicians, movie queens, love-struck clowns." On this particular magic carpet ride, Block follows the sad footsteps of Echo, a Hollywood baby born of a dark-souled artist father and an effervescent mother whose impossible beauty likens her to an angel. Echo, who believes that "the only things I know how to do well are shoplift, kiss and dance," feels excluded from her extraordinary parents' perfect love for each other. So she sets out alone to try and fill the cavernous void inside. During her travels, Echo meets a broken angel, iron-pumping vampires, and the fairy daughter of a rock star. Are these figures real? Echo believes in them, and so will the reader, as Block's melodious prose leaves no choice but to accept them as true. Echo finally finds her own true "love-boy" when she learns to look for love within instead of searching for validation through her drugs of choice: food, sex, or doomed relationships. Told in a myriad of voices that belong to Echo, her parents, lovers, and friends, these interconnected short stories are a visual feast of intoxicatingly hip images where the city of Los Angeles is as much a character as the outrageous people that populate its movie-star mansions. Echo's story of salvation will appeal not only to eyeliner-wearing club kids, but to any older teen who's ever felt insecure and lonely in a world full of kissing couples and Hallmark holidays. (Ages 13 and older) --Jennifer Hubert --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Block (The Rose and the Beast) moves to a new level of complexity without sacrificing accessibility for this exquisitely wrought coming-of-age story. The subjects, settings and semi-magical tone will be familiar to Block's readers as Echo, an artistic L.A. teenager, overcomes various forms of rejection in her search for selfhood and true love. Echo lives among angels, false and true, mythic and real, among them Echo's mother, whom Echo thinks is perfect but who appears blind or impervious to her daughter's needs; a famous-artist father whose love for his wife seems to leave no room for Echo; girls Echo wishes she could be; and a nameless, wounded boy who saves Echo from drowning and whose memory sustains Echo as she meets men incapable of loving her. As in previous works, death hangs heavily over the heroine: parents die young, vampires prey on the innocent, children fight terrible disease. Block's structure and imagery, however, manifest a new sophistication and subtlety, as passages and metaphors "echo" one another throughout. She delicately shifts the narrative to show different partners (the heroine's grandparents; the lovers of Echo's friends; a sibling pair) facing similar conflicts, but she quietly varies the individuals' responses. Lyrical passages, such as Echo's descriptions of her mother's extraordinary beauty ("She is like the da Vinci Madonna with a crescent moon hung on her mouth") ripple beneath Echo's life-and-death struggles. This begs not just to be read, but to be reread, and savored. All ages.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060281278
  • ASIN: B000F6Z81A
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,288,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Francesca Lia Block, recipient of the prestigious Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award. has been publishing novels, short stories, essays, memoirs and poetry since 1989. Her work has been translated into many languages. Ms. Block lives in Los Angeles where she teaches writing workshops that are also available online.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Block is a literary genius and my favorite writer; therefore, this book cannot be bad. However, this is not her best.
This book is written as a journey of self-discovery, centered around Echo, a young girl growing up in the shadow of her goddess-like mother. Her life is spent trying to shed that shadow and become a person in her own right. The book interweaves chapters of Echo's life with chapters telling the stories of the main figures in her life. This is an interesting device that works here.
Something that more intense Block fans will notice is that the chapter of this book revovling around Echo's health obsession is drawn, sometimes verbatim, from Block's short story Blood Oranges.
Although good, this is not Block's best. If you're starting out, read Girl Goddess #9 or I Was A Teenage Fairy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chosroes III on April 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The opening chapter of "Echo", written in the voice of its protagonist, is fresh, colorful, and fetching. Teenaged Echo has a too-perfect mother and a father who ignores her, but she's also got one outrageous superpower! Unfortunately, Echo soon fades into the hills as the narrative momentum is lost in a succession of narrators, considerable lapses of time, and just too many turns of the merry-go-round. One thing that impresses itself on me in this book is how close Block is coming to Anne Rice in her decline. To wit: an endless cast of characters, all offered for our approval based pretty much upon the evidence of cool names, exotic artistic tastes, and a sense of fashion. Multiple narrators, as noted. Situations that seem to exist for the sake of how poetically they can be evoked. Time and place gone increasingly opaque. As for concrete examples?: well, there are vampires for one thing. And a wee little girl starts revamping fairy tales in a manner that suggests she has been reading the Sleeping Beauty trilogy for bedtime!
I'm still susceptible to Block's charms, and "Echo" does have some powerful moments, particularly in two disturbing chapters that show the dangerous, sexual lure of dark beings who seek to entrap our heroes. But the novel feels, at times, plodding, marking time almost. The travails of Smoke and Eden become, at their worst, pure kitsch: Block comes darn close to the ridiculousness of Little Nell in one emotive scene. And, well past what feels like a logical culmination point, the book is still floating through Echo's endless search for-- er, self-worth? The Valentine chapters feel a little too coy about Echo's feelings for her.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nancy E. on September 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Echo tells the story of a girl and all the people around her in a beautiful writing that is purely Block's style. Echo is a girl who is convinced that she is not very pretty and the only things she has talent in is evil. But that proves to be wrong when series of tests in love, friendship, and death face her. Through this heart-filled painful period Echo learns from her mistakes and how to look towards the future. This book tells her story.
WHen I picked this up I was a little iffy about it. WHile I do enjoy Francasca Lia Block's wiritng style I either love her books, or could do with out them. THis book was not a dissapointment for me. The story is wonderful, symbolic, and poetic. I'd love to read more by Block. I reccomend this to anyone who dosen't mind strange but entertaining tales and who's a fan of Blocks writing.
On another note.... Peace and prayers to all the victims of the recent plane accident. My heart is with everyone affected.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Giovanni A. on August 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
... I really *do* think it's time to get rid of the "young adult writer" label. Sure, Francesca Lia Block's stories are great for teens et al, but this gem of a novel (darker than dark and outrageously uplifting at the same time) can't get confused with the crappy titles that overflood the kiddie lit corner. I mean, Francesca's a unique author with a dazzling vision. Plus, I'm enjoying her works as a wee-begone thirtysomething (and I'm positive I'm not the only one).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
i really liked this book. i was disappointed by fransescas newer works, like the rose and the beast and nymph. echo is truer to weetzie bat, or violet and claire. its beautiful, dreamy, sparkly and poetic. the book was a little confusing in it's constantly changing narrators overall though, the changing narrators were a good part of the book because it gave so much insight to the various characters, which really added a lot to the story.
the story is basically that of echo and it kind of travels through her life, simultaneously telling the story of people around her like her mother, father, and friends.
echo is a girl in La. her mother is an angel, her father is an artist. in the story she meets angels, crazy muscled vampires, actors, rock stars, rock stars children, all sorts of people. like most of her books, this book has many themes, but the main one is always love. searching for love, trying to keep love, witnessing love.
the book is well written, with the wonderful scenery and characters that always come from fransesca lia block. its not weetzie bat (what ever will be?) but its definitely one of her better books.
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