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Wonder Paperback – Deckle Edge, May 8, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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While fully aware that such an honorable title can only be used in great exceptions in Flemish literature, I would call Wonder a masterpiece. —Paul de Wispelaere, Vlaamse Gids
Claus's work is just as broad as the soul is deep. —Gerrit Komrij
The greatest writer of my generation. —Remco Campert Fine and ambitious . . . A work of savage satire intensely engaged with the moral and cultural life of the author’s Belgium . . . Packed with asides, allusions, and fierce juxtapositions, a style created to evoke a world sliding into chaos where contrast and contradictions are so grotesque that we can only ‘wonder’. . . . [Wonder is] a reminder of the energy and experimental verve with which so many writers of the Fifties and Sixties (Malaparte, Bernhard, Grass, Böll, Burgess, Pynchon) conjured up [a] disjointed and rapidly complicating world. —The New York Review of Books
To speak today of a still largely-unknown major work on European Fascism . . . seems presumptuous, rather like announcing the existence of, if not a new continent, at least a land mass of strange and significant proportions. But in discussing Wonder, it would be churlish not to admit to an explorer’s exhilaration at discovery. —The National
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Top Customer Reviews
The positives: You can open the book to any page and find something uniquely poetic or insightful. I will keep the book for this reason. It reminded me at times of Ulysses and Steppenwolf. The book is designed like a half-book or perfect square, but the pages are surreptitiously long, an illusive nature befitting of the text.
The in-between: The sheer random non-linear plot keeps you on your toes, but it can be frustrating to continually leap into new stories and histories page after page, leaving you often feeling lost in a labyrinth, which then becomes cool and rewarding and just like life itself!
The not-so-great: The book could use notes for all the references and foreign phrases that non-Flemish readers will need to research. It takes some time to get into the book, partly due to chapters written in a 'mad-house', where poetics reign over plot progression. Insane writing can be contrite, but here it just takes time to warm-up to. Finally, the ending was (to my modern sensibilities) incongruously bleak and abrupt, which I'm sure was the point.