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Warp: A Novel Paperback – November, 1997

2.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Paperback, November, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Fun, sassy, and sardonic in its opening pages, this first novel tells the story of Hollis, a recent Harvard grad who loves Star Trek reruns and hasn't a clue about what to do with the rest of his life: a timely dilemma, since he has just cashed in his last bank certificate, quit his job, and lost his girlfriend to a fancy firm downtown. Grossman has captured the real thing: a smart guy who doesn't know whether he should immerse himself in corporate culture. The writing is full of sly humor and the kind of erudite facts favored by recent graduates, along with a cynicism that only the young can sustain. Grossman is most successful in capturing voice (here meaning angst) and rendering great dialog. Too often, though, he interjects sf vignettes and snippets of dialog that could have been lifted from a medieval romance. In the book's major quest, Hollis and a buddy break into the house of a friend of the family, and the low stakes involved zap away all tension. Meanwhile, the charming, enigmatic Xanthe floats through the book, appearing (or not appearing, it's hard to tell which) at the oddest places. A fun take on life for the twentysomething crowd that doesn't quite succeed but offers entertaining moments.?Doris Lynch, Monroe Cty. P.L., Bloomington, Ind.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

First novel from a twentysomething about twentysomethings in Boston. Star Trek aficionado Hollis went to Harvard, where he majored in Urban Studies. When asked what that is he says, ``I forget exactly. I think there was a large filmic component.'' He's a collection of clever remarks, and Grossman does not so much tell his story as take a snapshot of him during a time of indecision as he wanders through an evening and a night and a day in search of meaning. Hollis is a likable fellow, a smart-ass, though not malicious, always visualizing himself in Star Trek episodes; or as a noble knight-errant who must leave beautiful maidens behind as he goes off to serve the king; or as a brave little boy in a children's story, sailing out to capture a sea monster that has been terrorizing the village. Hollis is endlessly self-conscious, trying on different identities to see if one could possibly fit. In scenes with his friends, similarly educated and aimless, he offers some comic commentary, just as his idol, James Joyce, does in Ulysses. He has a sort of epiphany deep in the night, too: a meeting and quick sex with a punker named Xanthe. Then, during the day, he meets an old girlfriend, Eileen, who is actually working, and suggests that Hollis soon will be, too. And so he will, but not before more clever talk in bars, more hours before the tube, and some more daydreaming. Far gentler than Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City. Despite the repeated references to Joyce, the style and subject here are far more reminiscent of the young Fitzgerald. Grossman can write, but sooner or later he'll have to find a subject. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 183 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (November 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312170599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312170592
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,253,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lev Grossman is the author of the New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy. The third book in the trilogy, The Magician's Land, was published in 2014 and was a #1 bestseller. An hour-long TV drama based on the series will begin airing on Syfy in early 2016.

Grossman has been Time magazine's book critic and lead technology writer for over a decade, and he has also written essays and criticism for the New York Times, Salon, Slate, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, the Village Voice and the Believer, among others. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on May 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'm not Lev Grossman and I liked the book. Actually I liked it a lot. It's sad and elegic and not very funny, but some of the scenes were honestly moving. Another thing was that the book had exactly the right length for what it was about. There's too many writers who fill too many pages with too little content. I'll definitely look out for more books by this guy. The episode with the punk girl sounded more like the author daydreaming though.
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Format: Paperback
The deluge of both five- and one-star reviews precludes any sober assessment of this novel.Kudos to the author for his moxie and his admission of sabotaging the amazon reviews. Unlike many commentators, I have read the book. I discovered a flimsy structure, cringingly-poor dialogue, and an adolescent-level understanding of intertext, its importance, its subtlety. As it was a first novel, he will no doubt seek to improve (though not for pedantic boors like myself)
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Format: Paperback
I read this book in a half hour standing at a bookstore after reading an article on a web magazine where the author confided he wrote in positive reviews to his advertisement here at amazon.com to defend himself against the negative ones. That was enough to peak my interest. Unfortunately, the book didn't and I agree, sadly, with the criticism. I literally sped through the book-- the literary nod to Joyce didn't keep me interested and I love Joyce. In my opinion, this author should just live with his negative criticisms and work on making his next book worth the praise he wants.
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By A Customer on March 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
Rarely have I read a book quite as puerile as this one. The author's masturbatory ramblings are as sophomoric as the novel's supposedly sophisticated subject-matter: a tragically hip slacker who wanders around the city of his past. Grossman articulates the self-indulgent ideation of every collegiate male who has read "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," romanticizing erotic and intellectual dorm-room epiphanies in a grotesque charade of introspection.
The point of this novel is (how original!) the pointlessness of the main character's life. He (named Hollis) peregrinates around Boston in a Harvardian gloom, thinking about Star Trek and His Life. Somone should tell Grossman that Faulkner did this 75 years ago, minus the fetishistic television references, which add nothing to anything. Postmodern ennui and mass culture overlay were finished by the time that Tama Janowitz hit the scene, so Grossman's utter derivativeness goes beyond the boring into the totally banal.
Hollis does nothing, and moans to himself about the inevitability of going "corporate." The problem with this sort of soft, rich-boy literature is that it is underwritten by a mindset that yearns to be in college again, forever. Maybe if the author got a job he would get some real material and not have to mull over his extended adolescence in order to wring out some moisture for his novel.
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By A Customer on March 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
I found "Warp" to be unreadably trite. The main character is extremely self-absorbed and the narration suffers from the author's arch media references. The novel has no plot, its characterization is weak, and its general tone is facile and somewhat sophomoric. I do not strongly recommend this book.
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By A Customer on October 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
Not only did I not like this book but I resent the fact that I spent time reading it. I strongly suggest that this book remain unread.
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By A Customer on March 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
"Warp" features none of the wry intelligence and humor on display in Grossman's Salon essay. Thie first draft of a novel is an aimless, shallow tale told without insight or humor. The characters are unmemorable, the plot is nonexistant, and the dialogue is painfully cliched. I am truly disappointed that I wasted an afternoon reading this drivel.
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Format: Paperback
Although Warp's plot is a little thin, Lev's references to pop culture are amusing. He covered the Gen X waterfront pretty well. I would have liked to see him stretch himself a bit, though, perhaps with a reference to Nigel Molesworth instead of Terri Garr. And Lev, there are no women like Xanthe, OK?
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