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The Birthday Party Hardcover – International Edition, August 7, 2007

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Hardcover, International Edition, August 7, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A rollicking read…A serious meditation on masculinity and commercial power in 20th century Greece. Fans of Karnezis’ previous books will not be disappointed. Marco [the main character] is a huge and splendidly flawed hero for a five-star novel, that like all Karnezis’ fictions, reveals many different Greeces. This is for anyone who loves soap operas, Homer, business or biography and confirms Panos as the finest (OK, only) living Greek engineer-turned-writer of English novels in the world.”
The Times (London)

“Fantastically atmospheric and with the anticipation of a surprising denouement interwoven with flashbacks or this extraordinary man’s life, this is a masterpiece.”
Grove

Praise for Panos Karnezis:

“Unless lightning strikes or the earth opens up beneath him, Karnezis seems likely to take his place beside the masters of Eastern European storytelling. . . . The Greek imagination has found a new dark, witty avatar.”
The Independent on Sunday

“Karnezis has captured the spirit of his people and spoken for them in a spellbinding, universal voice.”
The Times (UK)

About the Author

Panos Karnezis is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Small Infamies and The Maze. Born in Greece, he moved to England in 1992 to study engineering, and worked in industry before he started to write. He was awarded an M.A. in creative writing by the University of East Anglia. He lives in London.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Canada (August 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0676978878
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676978872
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,690,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By An admirer of Saul on November 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is an absorbing read of an Onnasis type tycoon;his rise to riches;the myths and obsessions that made up his life, all related and revealed over the course of a birthday party arranged for his daughter where the aim is to get her to abort the baby she is expecting;fathered by her fathers biographer.

Karnezis is an excellent writer-'Little Infamies' and 'The Maze' confirm this- and 'The Birthday Party' is a comfortable and enjoyable read. Karnezis develops each character introduced by scripting a history pregnant with anecdotes. It is a style obviously inspired by Garcia Marquez's great novels-'One Hundred Years of Solitude' and 'Love in the Time of Cholera'-but Karnezis seems too conscious of wanting to evade criticisms of plagiarizing Marquez's style, and falls short of all the magical realism that would have made this good novel possibly great.
He also ends up patronizing the reader on occassion-perhaps in order to avoid being labeled esoteric?-there's really no need to explain what the Stockholm effect is, more so when it stiffles a good line. (If need be, add annotations at the end)
I feel that this just indicates that Karnezis is still developing his technique and obvious talents, and it shouldn't stop people moving into his circle of readership.
An enjoyable book all said.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Danielle on June 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
I feel bad giving a book of this quality only 3 stars, but it wont make my "all time favourites" book shelf to warrant 4 or 5 stars.

The Birthday Party has a very straight forward and uncomplicated story line - an aging tycoon holds a birthday party for his young, pregnant daughter in an attempt to convince her to abort her baby. He has learnt the father is his biographer and does not approve.

The characters on the other hand are anything but straight forward and uncomplicated, and this is what makes it such a fascinating read. Marco Timoleon is neither a character I loved nor hated - he was simply interesting an indepth. We travel from the relationship between his parents, to his rise to fortune, his two marriages, his friendships and other major events that have shaped him into the person he has become.

Finally at the end there was a twist i did not see coming (yet again simple, but it fit so well), which was a nice surprise. Overall a really good read.
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Format: Paperback
Seventy-two year old Marco Timoleon, a shipping billionaire, is planning his daughter's birthday party on his private Greek island. No expense is spared, yet he has a secret agenda...having discovered via his surveillance team that she is pregnant by an 'undesirable', he hopes to persuade her to have an abortion. A medical team are standing by...
Interspersed with the day of the party, are recollections of Timoleon's life- from humble beginnings, to moving countries, mixing in the right circles, his womanizing and his marriages and children. Also at the party is his biographer, struggling to work out the truth from the lies about his subject's past.
At times the writing style put me a little in mind of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Although our main character is pretty manipulative and unlikeable, Karnezis nonetheless imbues him with a streak of humanity, such as in his relationship with his -now dead- son:
'He had a brief period with Daniel because he was younger and also a boy until the scales tilted with him too, and the father needed the son more than the son the father.
He could remember the exact day it had happened.It was September on the island, and the two of them were playing poker on the veranda. All afternoon Daniel, fifteen years old but already a consummate player, had been guessing his father's hand. In the evening he stood up to leave, bored...and then his father, bare-chested, in shorts and flip-flops, touched him on the arm. 'Stay', he said. 'I don't like patience. It's a game for old people.'
But the boy had gone away, and Marco Timoleon had been left to face the melancholy of the autumn evening alone, playing patience while the sun sank in the sea, ther roses released their mournful smell and the birds flapped in the dusk like bats.'
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