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Galapagos: A Novel (Delta Fiction)
Galapagos: A Novel (Delta Fiction)
by Kurt Vonnegut
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.58
125 used & new from $4.02

29 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Never approaches the mainland, April 11, 2005
(Spoilers herein)

If the aim of a writer is to forge a unique tone, a unique stance from which to view the human condition, then Vonnegut is a success. The problem is that his ideas often transcend his abilities as a novelist. "Galapagos'" back flap is one of the best I've ever read, but when I finished the actual book I felt as though I was skid over the rich foundation of ideas he wanted to build on. Yes, he's witty. Yes, he has some acute points to make about human hypocrisy. Yes, he's had some of the most original ideas of his generation. In fact, Vonnegut's one of the few who's been able to successfully create a hybrid genre between Sci-Fi and fiction/lit. But lost in his witticisms, innovations (as a writer and a thinker), far-reaching analogues, and hollow dialogue, is the perspective of the ultimate goal of the book: we never take the journey we've been so excited to take. We only anticipate it, and then realize at the end it's passed us by.

Manhattan Transfer: A Novel
Manhattan Transfer: A Novel
by John dosPassos
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.50
98 used & new from $2.55

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poetic Prose, December 27, 2004
Manhattan Transfer's plot is a series of interwoven stories that span several generations of interconnected lives in early twentieth-century New York City. The most appealing element of the book is Dos Passos's beatifully poetic descriptive prose. The mini-plots are a bit over-contrived and difficult to follow; he assigns them less attention and care than his descriptions of the city itself, but this is his intention. As a reader, I felt no emotional connection to any of the (many) characters I met; I did, however, feel a deep attachment to the city. It is an organic being in Dos Passos's cosmology--it is in fact the book's protagonist, almost as though it's the city's growth we're meant to be charting through the decades and its relationships with its inhabitants, rather than vice versa. His use of verbs is brilliant and rather unique: the city "breathes," it "sweats," it "sighs"; it is alive. As a book lover, you'll appreciate the language, and as a New Yorker, you simply can't not read this novel.

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