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Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources Hardcover – October 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Hardcover; 1st edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585671894
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585671892
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,936,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Will certainly surprise those who imagine the author of "American Buffalo" operates only in the backstreets idiom of his plays. -- Publishers Weekly

About the Author

David Mamet 's Glengarry Glen Ross won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1984. He is also the author of Writing in Restaurants and On Directing Film, both available from Penguin.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you locked Vladimir Nabokov's "Pale Fire" and Mark Z. Danielewski's "House of Leaves" in a dark room together, the resulting love child might resemble David Mamet's "Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources." This quirky, twisted "novel" takes a look at literature, pop culture, and... oh, come on, no one can tell.

Imagine a future where the literary history of the world has been put on the computer, and then the entire Internet has crashed. Culture and history as we know it have vanished. So now only a few fragments remain, and must be pieced back together with painstaking (and sometimes insane) skill. Not to mention a lot of (pitiful) academic bickering.

The result is an intricate study of the Bootsie Club, the haunted stories of Binky Beaumont, the mysterious death of Woodrow Wilson's wife, Lola Montez, soap, the Cola Riots, analyzation of the peculiar diary entries ("Dear Diary, I am surprised that I am surprised anymore"), fragments of novels, and interestingly weird poetry.

It's almost impossible to fully describe "Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources," especially since it is only a novel in the sense that everything in it is fictional. Don't expect a linear storyline, or a story in one chunk. That's too normal, too ordinary, and too little fun. So Pulitzer-winning playwright/screenwriter/novelist Mamet takes a different route.

It has no beginning. It has no real end. It can be read backwards, forwards, or from the middle outward. It's constantly self-referencing. It's a giant mass of snippets, anecdotes, and analyses. And while at first it seems like a dense, nonsensical mass of fictional bits, eventually the brain adjusts to it.

Mamet spoofs the pompous tone that academics use -- there are studies of nursery rhymes in here!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bishop Baker on January 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
The case can be made for this amazing(1) book with three little words: Huzzah for WILSON! Imagine you have been commissioned by the Misanthropological Society of Mars in the year 2006(2) to dissertate about life on the bugbog(3) planet, but find that all life and vestige of civilization have been wiped out by something or another, and that all that remains are some pages of an annoying book called "Misanthropology" (op. cit.). Get the idea? WILSON is not about that at all, but it is an amazingly amusing book; witty, philosophical, likened unto Nabokov's "Pale Fire" (q.v.) because of the footnotes, or unto Mendoza's "Sin Noticias de Gurb" (q.v.) which has no footnotes, but is in Spanish.(4)

(1) Or amusing, as the case may be.(a)
(2) A Martian day is 40 minutes longer than an earth day, and we can presume(b) that earth and Mars have a common 1 A.D. origin. With this info, can you calculate the length of a Martian year?(c)
(3) The planet earth is so described in "Misanthropology: A Florilegium of Bahumbuggery" (q.v.), wherein is posed an unnerving riddle-me-ree, to wit: What do you get if you cross a buzzbug with a diet colt?(d)
(4) Ja ja

(a) Or maybe not
(b) An unwarranted presumption? Who cares? (Dr. Livingstone, I presume)
(c) Based on the information given: no way, Jose[1]
(d) Answer: Buzz Liteyear, or a bugling. (Don't get it? Derive the middle term)[2]

[1] Ha ha. To research Martian years, try Google.
[2] Don't read further unless you give up on the middle term, which follows: A diet colt is a lite yearling. (N'est-ce pas? Now go back and get it.)

* In some versions, AND GENTLELADIES! (too wordy). Trout suggests GENTLEPEOPLE! (doesn't resonate). I say, let it STET.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joseph F.Sanchez on January 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The writing of David Mamet can be simple, much like a open jaw- steel bear trap lying exposed, at your feet. Or this open jaw- steel bear trap can really be a ravenous black hole in the center of your literary universe, a hungry black hole waiting to devour you, if you are dumb enough to go spelunking into it's center, the vortex. While reading "Wilson" ask yourself the following questions:
1)Is this a book or is it a con?
2)Is "Wilson" a series of unpublished chapters from previous works by the author?
3)Or, is "Wilson" really a surrealistic landscape onto itself much like "The Interzone" of William S.Burroughs?
Do not read "Wilson" in chronological order!
Very rarely does an author such as David Mamet compose a snub- nose revolver like "Wilson" in which the printed words within begin to tell us everything about the author's style, but always end by telling us almost nothing about the writer's style. Good!
David Mamet has informed and confounded us again.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Marvelous. Very twisted, slowly captures you in a world that reminds you of those insidious thoughts that you had trapped in a bad history class...and the plot only comes into view in the corner of your eye, but when you try to focus on it...
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