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Ida A Novel Paperback – January 17, 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Esdale’s innovative approach results in an enriching contribution to Stein scholarship. [...] Highly recommended." – Linda Simon, Choice

"Stein constructs a cubist portrait or skewed biography of Ida [and her] contradictory desires—wanting a home, needing to escape; wanting to be known and not. [...] [T]here’s a bounty of tension and release [and] [r]elease from textual and narrative tension comes, in part, through Stein’s remarkable voice. [...] The editor, Logan Esdale, has written an excellent introduction (and notes throughout) containing necessary biographical and textual information." — Lynne Tillman, The New York Times Book Review

“The strangest book I read [when I was young] was Ida, by Gertrude Stein, which my mom gave to me without much fanfare. This must have been when I was in high school. It’s an odd book, with a telescoping narrator and that new-brain prose of Stein’s. My first encounter with very simple sentences looted of sense. I loved it.” — Ben Marcus, weirdfictionreview.com

From the Back Cover

"Step by difficult step Logan Esdale slowly entered Stein's domain where she alone had made decisions working on Ida, composing her novel and figuring out what to do with Ida and how. Esdale's book now becomes a handbook, a new approach to Stein scholarship, and authorship, based on Stein's own archive. He wanted to discover for himself and to show us how she worked as she did." -- Ulla Dydo, author of Gertrude Stein: The Language That Rises, 1923-1934

"For those brave souls who undertake to read and teach that strangest of short novels in British and American literature, Gertrude Stein's Ida, Logan Esdale's edition is the indispensable text. It is a major contribution to the scholarship and the interpretation of Gertrude Stein's literary art. Esdale brilliantly sets forth the history and the world of Ida, its universe of discourse. If only I'd had Esdale's text when I was supposing what Ida said." -- Neil Schmitz, author of Of Huck and Alice: Humorous Writing in American Literature
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (January 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300169760
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300169768
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I first read Ida in college, when I had just started on what would be my life-long love affair with Gertrude Stein. While I've reread other works, I haven't revisited this one since then.

I always find it quite difficult to review Stein. I love her work, but as much for the poetry in it as for anything else. I find myself continually surprised and delighted by her wordplay and I have a hard time understanding why it seems to be pretty generally thought that she was difficult on purpose. As always, I don't find the text particularly difficult and I found myself coming away with a smile on my face from the fun and wordplay-- sensual love of the text. I'm willing to concede that maybe I'm just not genius enough to appreciate the really inaccessible bits, but then I don't really miss them.

Ida is an ordinary woman, with parts of her life extraordinary-- much like the lives of everybody. She has a twin (real or imaginary), dogs, husbands, ideas. And what happens is what happens to us all-- she lives her life.

I'd recommend it, but then I know that I really love Stein's work. If you haven't read her before then the The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas may be the best thing to get used to her diction.
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Format: Paperback
This seemingly nonsensical book has a magical lyricism, a genius, that surfaces stronger and stronger with each reading. Her every paragraph is composed of triple entendres that are fraught with humor and meaning.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book by Gertrude Stein is difficult to find, so I was glad to find it on Amazon. My rating of four stars mostly reflects my appreciation for how the novel represents a part of Stein's work. As a Stein enthusiast, I like the novel in spite of its flaws, but the average reader would most likely find the novel boring (as in the cure for insomnia). Readers introducing themselves to Stein might try her "Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas." It has many anecdotes about American and European writers and artists of that time that might also interest readers of today.
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