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Hope Unknown Binding – May 18, 1998

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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; First Edition edition (May 18, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573220949
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573220941
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,983,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As recent events have shown, talking about sex has become no less banal than not talking about it. This is a lesson that Gabriel Jones, the 20-something British slacker-type narrator of Duncan's first novel, would do well to have learned. Gabriel's lust for pornography drives him out of the arms of his first love, Alicia, and into those of Hope, nom de guerre of the superprostitute who lets him act out his most-repressed fantasies. Duncan presents the guilt-ridden Gabriel's story in a series of nicely constructed, fragmentary mea culpas. Unfortunately, the moment that Gabriel's confessions build towards is a double childhood trauma that makes the novel as preachily predictable and flat as any allegory. The staccato and brutal language of pornography has so penetrated Gabriel's vocabulary that he uses the most vulgar terms of common vernacular for sexual parts and congress. The result is that even what he understands as love reads as just another kind of stunted male fantasy. The novel's major flaw is that Gabriel never finds the words to express his conflict between love and lust in terms as interesting as his astute remarks on pornography.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A maudlin debut novel by a young Brit about romantic failure, filled with trendy musings on the transgressive (S/M, child abuse, pornography) in contemporary culture. Gabriel Jones, the narrator, offers us a long look back at his impossibly tragic, sordid life. He is currently living in London in a kind of limbo, and he hopes that by mulling over his past failures he can come to grips with the demons that drive him. ``Begin with Hope,'' he tells himself, but he isnt talking about the emotion. Hope turns out to be the expensive prostitute who gets him over his bouts of despair about Alicia, whose love he betrayed because of Katherine. In fervid, gushy prose--some of it quite good, yards of it over the top--Gabriel delivers what feels like the longest college all-night confessional in history. How he fell in love with Alicia: ``Nothing prepared me for soulful sex, sex that didn't retain its lust at the expense of its love, sex . . . with someone I genuinely liked.'' How Alicia, by deciding to do a feminist study of porn, introduced the worm--a centerfold spread that reminds Gabriel of how, when he was eight years old, he was initiated into sex by next-door neighbor Katherine, who he then witnessed being abused by a pig-maskwearing father (as Mummy looked on). How Alicia then finds him diddling an on-stage stripper with a cherry lollipop (can't help himself, it's in his childhood). Six years later, Gabriel is offered a chance reunion with the lovely Alicia. But Hope is retiring that very night, and when Gabriel shows up to pay his respects, he happens to be wearing a pig mask (went to a costume party, you know), which shocks Hope into revealing herself as . . . Katherine. Too traumatized to keep his rendezvous with Alicia, Gabriel sinks into his current state of picturesque decline. Unpleasant and unpersuasive: politically correct prudery mixed with unbridled sex. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark Desnoyer on December 13, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is an absolute must - for those women who keep saying "what I wouldn't give to figure out what's goind on in your (boyfriend's/husband's) mind," and for all those men who live a life in silent despair. Rarely has a book written by a man been as introspective and yet at the same time been as mercilessly narrative.
It's not that all guys are addicted to pornography as Gabriel is. A lot aren't susceptible to it at all, some a little, some quite a bit, and a few may even be deliberate and guiltless addicts, but that's not what makes the book so universal.
Strangely enough, the pornography aspect in "Hope," even though it appears to be the main theme of the book, is really more a means to an end than the end itself. I found the strongest device in "Hope" to be the patterns of self-destruction that Gabriel experiences. He's trapped in a nature he can't fight, and as he has given up trying, he knows that his addiction will eventually cost him all that's valuable in his life. Knowing this and yet being unable to pull himself away from his desires is the reason for the self-hatred and self-disgust that occupies most of his mind....
Glen Duncan is a master storyteller. His sense of suspense is frightening - as it dawns on the reader where exactly the abyss is that Gabriel will fall into, you want to scream, but like Gabriel, you have fallen silent in the light of the inevitability of what is to happen, and the tragicomedy of the string of events escapes you until you re-read the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alexandru M. Bistroi on May 2, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Duncan is able to make one laugh and cry at the same time, and jump up in surprise the next page. I remember closing the book several times and just picturing this story in my mind. Not that Glen Duncan is all bent on superficial scenery language. If you want to read a writer that examines the dark side of the human condition (especially the man-side), and is adept at describing the intricacies of human connection (or disconnection-) read this book. Then go online and find Love Etc.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Book arrived quickly and in great condition. I have become a fan of the author since reading 'I, Lucifer' and I have enjoyed this book also.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Weintraub ( on August 14, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As an author, I like to read books similar to ones I'm writing. Right now, I'm working on something that prompted me to pick up "Hope". It's a fascinating read. The main character of Gabriel Jones is compelling, and his outlook and perceptions are astonishing. If certain taboo subjects (prostitution, explicit detail of pornography, etc.) do not disturb you, then check this out.
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