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Ed King (Vintage Contemporaries) Kindle Edition

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Length: 322 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The Other 'Remarkable ... a highly significant contribution to American literature' Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland 'Guterson's books keep getting better ... A moving portrait of male friendship' New York Times 'A fine novel [of] gentle, intelligent sadness' Independent 'Elegiac ... The Other is an exploration of how one should live in a flawed world, the choices we make and the values they reflect' Boston Globe

Review

Praise for The Other 'Remarkable ... a highly significant contribution to American literature' Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland 'Guterson's books keep getting better ... A moving portrait of male friendship' New York Times 'A fine novel [of] gentle, intelligent sadness' Independent 'Elegiac ... The Other is an exploration of how one should live in a flawed world, the choices we make and the values they reflect' Boston Globe

Product Details

  • File Size: 1376 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00EX5PS0U
  • Publisher: Vintage (October 18, 2011)
  • Publication Date: October 18, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004KPM1DK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,780 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Isch TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It seems to me that when a reader is invited into a piece of fiction well aware of what its tragic outcome will be--either from previous acquaintance with the tale or promotion of the new version--then it becomes incumbent upon the author to deliver a protagonist that will come to matter to his audience--someone the reader can connect to, feel for and find interesting enough to want to spend several hours with. Sophocles pulls that off; Guterson does not. At least not for this reader.

In a previous life as a 12-year-old, I discovered a volume of Greek mythology in my late grandmother's attic, stashed it in our garage, and whenever forced to "get my nose out of a book" and go outside and play with the other kids, I'd sneak off and go hang out with the Greeks in the garage instead. Later, in college, I was part of the crew for a production of "Antigone," which I loved.

Now here I am all these years later having just put down (in order to "put-down" in its other sense) a modern-day adaptation of "Oedipus Rex," one of the most famous Greek tragedies of them all. At the beginning, I was excited about the idea of revisiting this old love of my youth as re-imagined by a winner of the PEN/Faulkner award. But I couldn't come up with even an ounce of interest in or empathy for any character in it and quickly lost my initial curiosity about how its author might manage to massage this ancient classic into a modern day novel with best-seller potential.

After force-feeding myself the first hundred or so pages, I started skimming, eventually coming to page 236 where I found a message to his readers inserted by the author. It begins: "Okay.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Scott Schiefelbein VINE VOICE on December 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
David Guterson ("Snow Falling on Cedars") has long been a favorite Pacific Northwest author, although despite the urging of friends I've somehow failed to read any of his previous books. Other reviews indicate that he's a bit erratic - I cannot speak to his other books, but I can safely write that I love "Ed King."

Daring to play with classic texts is always a dangerous business, and in this case Guterson has set a high bar for himself by choosing Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex" as his source text. Arguably the definitive Greek tragedy of all antiquity, "Oedipus" tells the infamously sad story of a proud man who is condemned by fate to murder his father, marry his mother, and spark a million bad jokes.

Guterson dares to update this story to the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Ed King is our Oedipus and is born not to royalty, but is the child of an adulterous affair between the actuary Walter Cousins and his British au pair Diane. Cousins, a risk assessor by trade, knocks up the 15-year old and tries to do his part by her (without leaving his own wife). He has no idea how ruthless and ambitious young Diane is, however, and she is soon blackmailing him into years of child support even though she abandons the infant Ed on the doorstep of prosperous residents in Portland, Oregon.

In short order, King is the proud adopted son of ambitious Jewish parents in Seattle, a math prodigy and natural leader. His new parents never tell him of his adopted status, and after several colorful adventures he's off to Stanford during the 80s, just in time to capitalize on the tech boom and become a billionaire as "the King of Search." Oh, and he has an unusual, private hankering for older women . . .
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Granfors on September 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Ed King" by David Guterson is a book I couldn't wait to start because I loved three of his previous books. After about 100 pages, it was a book I couldn't wait to finish, and by finish, I mean be done with.

The premise is very appealing to any bookworm, a retelling of Oedipus Rex. The opening holds a lot of interesting parallels with the nondescript accountant having an affair with his family's au pair, resulting in a baby. Whether or not you know the Oedipus cycle, you read eagerly on, some for each of the mythological events to take place and others because the characters act so despicably.

The problem for me was that Guterson uses too much summary in the book, moving from person to person and decade to decade without developing scenes. There is very little direct dialog. I wondered if the narrator was the Greek chorus, commenting from afar with atonal voices.

Whatever the reason, the result was a book with long, boring passages, some of them filled with abstract mathematical theory, which just plain held nothing to lead the reader into hanging on for another chapter. Alas, the best I can offer here is two stars to this beloved author.

I would love to see him revise this book and tell it with his usual polish and style.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jono Walker on March 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I gave Ed King a shot because I knew David Guterson was a highly acclaimed "literary" novelist and the whole idea of retelling the Oedipus Rex myth sounded intriguing. Now that I am done with the book however, I feel the need to burn all my clothes and take a shower in Lysol. And not just because the billionaire "King of Search" (as in Google-like computer search) kills his dad and eventually marries his mother and has sex with her around 1,500 times (he kept a running tally) but because the entire novel is such a nihilistic romp through a sex- and cocaine-crazed world of empty realities both virtual and otherwise without a single character you can even remotely admire.

The only reason I am giving Ed King any stars at all is because Guterson writes so well. He can be wickedly funny and you feel he has something important to say about our information-swamped, over-indulged, tummy-tucked and self-absorbed modern age. He also throws a pretty sharp left hook at our tendencies toward raging hubris. You just wish he would let up on his one-two punches every now and then and work-in something even slightly positive to root for. The lack of even a smidgen of anything good and bright to serve as a contrast to all of his dark and empty luridness takes a lot of the wallop out of his punches.

I'm no scholar of Greek mythology, but I have to say, Guterson's interpretation of Oedipus Rex doesn't jive with what I remember about it from high school. He's got all the icky details of the story with its twisted plot of mistaken identities and crazy co-incidences niftily re-packaged for our current age, but I think he's missing the main point.
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