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The Polyglots (Prion Lost Treasures) Paperback – July 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Prion Lost Treasures
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Prion (July 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853754455
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853754456
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.9 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,047,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The most influential English novel of the twentieth century.” —William Boyd

"To my generation Gerhardie was the most important new novelist to appear in our young life." -- Graham Greene

"I have talent, but he has genius." -- Evelyn Waugh

"One of the funniest writers of the century." -- Philip Toynbee

"A comic writer of genius...but his art is profoundly serious: underneath the shamelessness and farce, his themes are the great ones, love greif and death, of intimations of joy and our imprisonment in the world of flesh and time." -- The Sunday Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

The Polyglots is the story of an eccentric Belgian family living in the Far East in the uncertain years after World War I and the Russian Revolution. The tale is recounted by their dryly conceited young English relative, Captain Georges Hamlet Alexander Diabologh, who comes to stay with them during a military mission. Teeming with bizarre characters ‹ depressives, obsessives, paranoiacs, hypochondriacs, and sex maniacs ‹ Gerhardie paints a brilliantly absurd world where the comic and the tragic are profoundly and irrevocably entwined.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By davidson on July 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Had surprisingly never heard of Gerhardie. Am now a diehard fan. William Boyd calls it, “the most influential English novel of the twentieth century.” It tells the unforgettable story of an eccentric Belgian family living in the Far East during the turbulent years just after the First World War, which displaced them, and the Russian Revolution, which impoverished them. Really stunning writing.
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5 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Richard Cunningham on December 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"...the glorious twin towers of All Souls stood, wise and quiet, in the nacre-coloured air. They had stood there long before I had come into the world, and they would stand there long after I had ceased to be."

Partly autobiographical, Gerhardie's second novel and the one that put him firmly on the map. A weird funny original work of comic genius. Published in 1925, the same year as The Great Gatsby; the beginning of what I call a decade and a half of quality pre-war Anglo/Irish/American literature which concludes with For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Last Tycoon in 1940. This period includes F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Edmund Wilson, Henry Miller(censored), Ezra Pound, James Joyce(Ulysses finished in 1914, first officially printed in France in 1922, the United States in 1934, and Britain in 1936, thanks to censorship. He died in 1941), D.H. Lawrence, Ford Madox Ford, George Orwell, T.S. Eliot, Malcolm Lowry, Nicholas Monsarrat, Graham Greene, John Cowper Powys, and Aldous Huxley.
A worthy companion novel, though written later and different in style and somewhat in POV is Richard McKenna's, "The Sand Pebbles" concerning Western commercial & military presence in the Far East.
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