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In the Suicide Mountains Hardcover – October, 1977

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 155 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (October 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394418808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394418803
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 7.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,809,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Scott Cooper on August 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One reviewer seemed upset that Gardner refered to himself as the greatest writer since Chaucer. Well, unlike Chaucer, Gardner tended to credit his sources, which lends itself to further support his work (Chaucer's stories are mostly simply British retellings of Farid ud-Din Attar's Conference of the Birds stories, from Persia). Will we be reading Gardner in 700 years? Maybe we will. While at Cornell, his work, Grendal, was required reading for a literature class. Chaucer wasn't. Gardner is a great loss. I have never been disappointed by his books. They always surprise me with their observations into human existence, often by pointing out and criticising what we take for granted and should be quite obvious to us. His writing style was always on a basic high school level, while his themes were more adult, so that any average reader should be able to get through them without difficulty. Generally speaking, Gardner's works are very thematic and invite introspection, rather than being plot-driven. Even so, they are not boring and easy to put down. Be careful not to confuse this John Gardner with the James Bond/Sherlock Holmes author. They are different people.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great book, sadly hard to find, and a lovely fable, gracefully told. If you can find a copy, buy it, and read it when you need perspective. I can't say the writing is particularly luminous, but it is about what is true, and who we want to be, and who we become. Its one of the few books I keep extras of to give away.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
During the course of this winsome and lively fantasy novella, the mysterious Abbot of the Ancient Monastery, unbidden, entertains his despondent guests with three adaptations of Russian tales. After the first story, Prince Christopher (who really doesn't want to be a prince, much less the king) says, "It's an interesting tale. Yet one thing I don't understand, father." "Yes?" responds the abbot.

"I don't understand why you've told it to us."

"Ah, that," replies the abbot.

Throughout his career, Gardner wrestled with this very issue, seeking the answer to the question so often asked by readers: "What's the point of the story?" During the mid-1970s, he published several books of fairy tales for children (such as "Dragon, Dragon") and surreal Gothic stories for adults (including "The King's Indian"), as well as "In the Suicide Mountains." As he said in an interview soon after the book's publication, he "was constantly playing literature against life, looking for the answers literature gives, or so we're told." Gardner constantly tried to identify "Ah, that"--the happy medium between the lecture and the poem, between spelling out the moral of the story and letting readers interpret it for themselves.

In the main story of "In the Suicide Mountains," we meet Chudu, a 200-year-old shape-shifter despised by his neighbors and blamed for every misfortune or tragedy in the vicinity; Armida, the beautiful Cinderella-like prisoner of her domineering stepmother; and Christopher, the un-heroic prince who likes playing the violin and reading poetry.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this because my drama club was doing a play (A Village Fable) adapted from this and paired with my love of books, it seemed like a good buy. It is very interesting, with some really good quotes (Sometimes, life follows art. Words can grow teeth and eat tigers.) and examines many complex ideas through allegory. It is interesting and worth reading, but I want to point out that it is VERY weird and unconventional.
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