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Under Radar Hardcover – June, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1 edition (June 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871138484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871138484
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,846,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author of the acclaimed, Robert Altman-adapted The Player fumbles with this rambling chronicle of a man's life and the retribution he faces after committing a senseless murder. With money made through insurance fraud, jaded and misanthropic Tom Levy takes his wife, Rosalie, and two young daughters to Jamaica. Bored by the tame surroundings of the family-themed resort, he starts fantasizing about Debra, a woman he spies on the beach. At a reggae party, Debra's husband, Barry, innocently persuades Tom's four-year-old daughter, Alma, to dance, and she starts gyrating her hips provocatively. An infuriated Tom takes Barry's interaction with the girl as "burning a child's dignity for laughs" and decides to kill him while both families take a guided tour of the island. Since his earlier felonies, Tom has been obsessed with going to prison, and he buys himself a life sentence by pushing Tom off a waterfall, in full view of everyone. From there, the novel devolves into some lengthy mythic storytelling as Tom emerges from nearly seven years of self-imposed silence, his hair shocked white from a condemned prisoner's spiritual allegory. When he clumsily recites the dead man's tale to the other prisoners, they are all miraculously set free, and Tom tries to reclaim the family that has gone on without him. Though pitched as a thought-provoking story about life's "infinite battalion of choice and consequence," it is marred by its uneven pacing, belabored existential tone and absurd premise not to mention its unsympathetic protagonist. Agent, Kim Witherspoon. (June) Forecast: Though the success of The Player is a definite selling point, Tolkin's latest will likely remain in the area described by its title.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The author of The Player crafts another cautionary thriller, this time about a man vacationing with his family in Jamaica who crosses over the line to murder.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Tolkin tried to interweave a novel of criminal psychology and religious allegory, an ambitious enterprise. But the writing stumbles in both areas. The main character's (Tom) development into an enlightened (if chastened) man isn't credible, yet it's the main thing the author wants us to accept. Intervening chapters were apparently designed to provide an odyssey for Tom; though they're written in a fluid manner, they don't provide adequate or meaningful support for the main idea. It looks like Tolkin read up on the Kaballah and/or other mystical texts, and then tried to stitch them into a crime novel. The first part is written with the slickness of a screenplay outline; the second part goes fuzzy with spirituality. Neither part works. I'm puzzled by the mainly positive reviews this book has received and am interested to know what actual readers think.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This title is the kindest summation possible of my reaction to "Under Radar," a book whose editorial reviews made me look forward with anticipation to reading it. Usually I like black comedies and characters with quirks of character or psychological interest. And, as many reviewers included almost the entire plot line of this novel in their remarks on it, I assumed that the charm and fascination must lie in its development. Not so. Instead, almost half-way into my reading I found only what could easily have passed as the script for a film, and a skimpy one at that. This unattractive spareness of fictional detail dissipates slowly as the novel advances, but never completely disappears. How can it, when the story, covering decades of a man's life, is dispatched in 212 small pages with wide margins and 12-point type?
Yes, mysteries develop and profundities are hinted, but all are left hanging as the reader turns the final page. And that none too soon, for this reader. Promising script, perhaps, for the Coen brothers.
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By jayson on February 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is nothing short of visionary. Deep, thrilling, unexpected, funny and very moving. Though much admired it has not been as widely read as it deserves to be. A true journey.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Why read a book that tells you everything you already know? The more enigmatic on first reading, the likelier that subsequent readings will yield deeper meaning. I have my opinion of this book, but if the book has a point, it means to leave my opinion open to interpretation.
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