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Masters of Atlantis Paperback – March 1, 2000
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Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
...you can just read Masters of Atlantis then move on to your degree. Charles Portis continues to hold me in awe with his deadpan comic genius. His silly plots read humorously on the surface, and move at a good clip, but suddenly one realizes that there is so very, very much more going on.
Where do cults come from and why do (presumably) rational people involve themselves in the nutty things? Portis' take on the topic spells it out in plain humor: an accidental encounter, an impressionable young man, the hangers on, the manipulators, and, gasp, the true believer who spawns a whole philosophy derived from the antics of a con man. Strangely enough, he begins to discern subtle truths about the nature of the universe. When the government gets involved things get sillier yet, but don't just write this off as fiction, we've all seen Congressional hearings; Charles Poris has got their number.
Line your Charles Portis books up next to your Kurt Vonnegut-they make great companions.
In the 1980s, I read this book with great pleasure, and then passed it along to a friend, as I always do. He read it, then correctly passed it along to another friend or library. Thus we shared our books among others, never planning (or even having time) to re-read them. A few months later we discussed this strange and wonderful book, which was full of characters in secret societies and factions thereof, using green ink, issuing membership cards--then stamping them VOID in a fury, conniving for leadership, etc.
Most books are never worth re-reading, even if they are great: there are simply too many other good ones waiting for their turn. This one was clearly different: so we racked our brains trying to remember the title or author, so that we could re-read it.
Years passed and we periodically tried to find this book. In the meantime, we discovered the book "Confederacy of Dunces," the film "O brother, where art thou?" and the song "Shriner's Convention" all of which had similar odd characters, situations, and whimsy. After more than twenty years, my friend finally remembered the character "Squanto the talking blue jay", and of course Google pulled this title right up.
Thus we now possess copies which will be selfishly unshared this time. You'll need to buy your own copy, which you may well then treasure as a jewel of the English language; hopefully it will become one of your top ten lifetime books, as it did for us.
You may even want to re-read it at some point--as I did. Highest praise indeed.
Update 12-2012: If you liked this title, please consider "Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore" which is an Amazon Pick-of-the-Month choice.
The character of Austin Popper is one of the most eccentric, off the wall, and laugh out loud characters ever written.
Let me put in the analogy of a movie. If you liked 'Royal Tennenbaums', this book is right up your alley. It has that kind of dry, acidic wit and tongue in cheek humor. If you're more of an 'American Pie' kind of person, you may be left scratching your head and wondering what the hell just happened.
As you might expect, there's plenty of Portis's deadpan wit, as well as the usual fellowship of outcasts, misfits and odd ducks (most of them belonging to an obscure pseudo-scientific cult called Gnomonism). But beneath this funny business is the desperate quest for a definitive interpretive system, one through which these marginalized characters can finally make sense of the arbitrary, incomprehensible world around them.
You'll have to judge the outcome for yourselves, because for my part, I'm not quite sure. I can say that the final revelation of Gnomonism, with all its ambiguity, is also unexpectedly poignant and satisfying.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought Masters of Atlantis because it is supposed to be funny but I can't find any humor in this book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by T. McBride
Unreadable for me I hope not for everyone else who picks it up to read. A big disappointment as I enjoyed his other books. Read morePublished 8 months ago by WILLIAM J ARVIDSON
I bought this book early this year based on a review that I can't find now. As I read I kept thinking "This book is old fashioned" and then I looked and I see that indeed... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Anonymouse
I read and reviewed Portis' "Dog of the South" which I regard as a genuine American masterpiece. Read morePublished 13 months ago by old fuji
A great reading experience. You have to come into this book with an ironic perspective about people who become fanatical about some abstract concept that most of us cannot... Read morePublished 14 months ago by W. M. Shackleford
Chrales Portis writes funny stuff. He is hip without being vulgar. MASTERS OF ATLANTIS isn't quite as engaging as TRUE GRIT or DOG OF THE SOUTH but well worth reading from an... Read morePublished 14 months ago by John Bolton
Wild read, one of the most unique and oddball books I've ever read. Portis is a genius, and his characters are all 200% original. Read morePublished 22 months ago by T. A. Long
If you can manage to avoid any kind of spoilers for this book, when you actually get a chance to read it you will find yourself constantly wondering where exactly is this story... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Dirk Drudgler
I bought this because I *really* liked his book True Grit. Although very good, it wasn't as good as True Grit.Published on April 22, 2014 by R. Larson