Your Garage botysf16 Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc PME Fire TV Stick Subscribe & Save Patriotic Picks Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer WienerDog WienerDog WienerDog  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis Segway miniPro STEM
Customer Review

15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twinned, March 30, 2009
This review is from: Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In the first story, a writer experiences the excitement of Venice in a few brief days. Jeffrey Atman drinks, parties, tours, does his job (more or less) and has an affair with a beautiful woman. As our hero keeps reminding the reader, almost everything is going right for him.

Jeff's tastes have remained remarkably constant as he has aged whereas "other people's ideas of a good time underwent well-established changes as they got older." Jeff approaches life as if it were an extended frat party; other people "ended up raising children, buying sheds or playing golf." With his adolescent value system intact, Altman is on top of the world for 48 hours.

Dyer writes visually and feverishly about the Venice Art Festival. He creates tension around Altman's pursuit of Laura and beautifully about their time together. Laura's flight out of Venice, however, and the end of the festival happen rapidly for both Altman and the reader. In a few pages, the reader moves from envy for the hero to pity even though these changes are foreshadowed and inevitable.

The second story is also about a writer's journey to an alien environment. In this case, the unnamed scribe begins to work in Varanasi, deteriorates physically, renounces material life and, finally, embraces the spiritual much as Altman had elevated the carnal.

The relationship between the two stories is left for the reader to ponder. At one point, a character describes Venice and Varanasi as "incredibly similar. Versions of each other. Twinned." The readers' challenge is to sort and compare the lessons learned in each locale. In the first, the hero adopts, after his loss, a Victorian view of life: "I can't have this forever, therefore I'm miserable." The narrator of the second story has few positive experiences and, as a result, little disappointment. His life lesson is a different one: "there are only a limited number of moments that count for anything, that make up and define a life...The only real crime or mistake was not to make the most of it." The first attitude leads to resignation and the second to renunciation.

I loved the Venice story (5 stars), liked the story set in India (3 stars) and am still working on what the two of them say when they are "twinned." The strength of the main characters, depth of the imagery in both versions of the story and light-handed author's touch are all reasons to read this book. In the light of full disclosure, as someone who has experienced children, sheds and golf, I greatly enjoyed the vicarious pleasures of Altman's time in Venice regardless of its brevity. As limited moments that define a life, they are superficial but seem to be a lot of fun.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]